Wednesday, July 06, 2011

dtSearch. You heard about it, you've seen it advertised, now see how to get started developing with it...

I Programmer - Getting started with dtSearch

"You may have noticed that I Programmer's search facility is, to put it bluntly, not very good. It has been on our fix list for a long time but so far no one has had the courage to decide on the technology to use to replace it.

I also have a great interest in desktop search - or rather how how it generally doesn't work under Windows. Since Vista, Window's desktop search has been difficult to use, difficult to configure and difficult to manage. I've tried alternatives such as Windows Search 4.0 and Solr but there are problems with both. They tend to over complex and simply not worth the effort. Now I'm investigating dtSearch and I can tell you now, it's a refreshing return to simplicity.

But see if you agree as I explain how easy it is to get started with it as a system component and as an API.

What is search all about?

This is a difficult question because there are many answers depending on your exact circumstances. Put simply, search is about finding documents based on their content. The dumb way to do this is search the entire collection of documents each time. The most intelligent way of doing the job is to scan all of the documents and build an index of the words that they contain. The index is typically much smaller than the collection of documents and much faster to search.

In most cases you only have to scan the entire collection of files once and then add any new files to the index. The big problem is that most tools make creating an index a difficult task. Not so with dtSearch. It makes it seem ease and direct and you can see exactly what is going on.

You could simply use the dtSearch console to find documents but in most cases it is preferable to build it into an app of your own - and this is where the API comes in. But before looking at the basic structure of the API and building our first "hello world" applications let's take a quick look at getting started with dtSearch.


We've all seen the ads for it in the dev mag's but I don't remember seeing a getting started/intro post like this recently.

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