Technical Aspects of the Arembis-Oracle broad search function

Introduction

All of us have been to websites where we wished the search function would return relevant documents instead of irrelevant results or complete misses. Visitors expect the search function to find what they are looking for and preferably only what they are looking for. It can be very costly if a website search fails to deliver this expected functionality. Imagine going to a search engine and not finding reasonable results. Our most likely reaction will be to move on to a different search engine. If this occurs on your website, it is likely that visitors also will move on to your competitors' websites. In the best-case scenario, visitors will bombard your helpdesk with emails or phone calls. The less attractive scenario is that you will hear nothing. Silence. Client dissatisfaction — or the missed opportunity of new business. This can be serious. If we want to maintain a successful website, it is in our best interest to make sure that people can find useful information — fast. There is a lot of difference between searching and finding.

How Arembis Makes Search Functionality Better

Help users quickly evaluate the relevance of documents in the results list. Producing a long list of URLs or page headers, with or without other information, often forces users to pull up the listed WebPages, flick through or even read all the content to decide whether some page in the list presented is useful. Associating useful information such as title of the webpage, simple summary, highlighted search term, list of most important concepts of the webpage, size of the document, most recent update date etc. can greatly reduce the time and effort required on the user’s part to decide which results are likely to be relevant to the query. This relates to the Arembis-Oracle full-text scan powered by UltraSearch.

But the real strength of Arembis search is the hierarchical data-base structure which enables users to have presented pinpoint accurate results from sometimes vague search criteria. These results are displayed first. Only if users do not find what they are seeking do they need to refer to the results of the full-text search.

Technology

Arembis plays nicely in the sandbox with your existing technology. Whether you're using IIS with Windows 2000 Server, Apache/PHP on Linux or Java Server Pages, Arembis will coexist peacefully while giving your customers an enhanced searching experience. The Arembis engine is not integrated within the framework of your system. It runs independently and can search across dozens or even hundreds of related or unrelated sites giving the user amazingly focused results.

Server and Platform

The Arembis Engine will run on any platform that supports Oracle 9i (preferably 10g for UltraSearch) database and the AOLserver web server. This includes Windows 2000, Windows XP, Mac OS X Server, Linux, Solaris, AIX and many other popular UNIX variants.

Architecture

Image of Arembis Architecture

Arembis is a layer of Tcl code that uses the power of the advanced, Open Source AOLserver web server and the speed of Oracle 9i's interMedia text indexing engine. The combination of the three provides a precise searching mechanism that is easily integrated with the systems themselves.

The Arembis engine will run in its own server process, perhaps even on its own computer. The only change you need to make to your existing site is to point your search form to the Arembis searcher installed at search.yourcompany.com.

  <form action="http://search.yourcompany.com" method="get">
   <input type="text" name="s" size="30" />
   <input type="submit" value="Search" />
  </form>
 

Arembis will return a page formatted with your web site’s look and feel but with the high-precision Arembis HyperLogic search results displayed by relevance and with the search path always shown.

Summary

The Arembis hierarchy search supported by the full-site scanning function helps build an effective search solution for websites and intranet portals because of its:

  1. Ease of use
  2. Focused results followed by more general results
  3. Scalability, robustness, manageability and security

The Arembis database backed website search function can be implemented without modifications. However, for the best results, we may need to explore our clients’ needs and customize the application accordingly. As discussed above, website owners cannot afford to miss business opportunities by neglecting to make a conscious effort to provide the best possible search. And, for Intranet search, what is the point of spending hours to create a document if nobody can ever find it? Arembis will find that document — in a flash.