Search utility for HTML documentation?

Subject: Search utility for HTML documentation?
From: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 6 Feb 2002 13:03:13 -0500

Nathalie Laroche wondered: <<The documentation that we provide with our
product includes about 1000 HTML pages and a dozen PDF files. We would like
to add a search utility to our documentation, but I can't seem to find what
I am looking for. This utility would need to run locally (offline), both on
Unix and Windows platforms. Ideally, it would also be cheap.>> used to have a free (or inexpensive) personal search engine
that you might be able to license inexpensively for commercial use. But
since others will provide you with more useful information about search
engines, let me put in a plug for an ancient and underrated technology: the
index. Build a really good index and you can forget all about the search
engine, which in my experience, isn't a bad thing; search engine technology
is primitive and getting better only slowly, and I find what I'm looking for
online using an index about 10 times faster than using as search engine.
While I'm talking antique technology, build a really good table of contents
or site map to accompany the index.

The obvious question then becomes how to index HTML and other documents. Try
HTML indexer, for a start. I haven't used it recently,
but it looked pretty slick when I first reviewed it, and I've seen favorable
comments in recent years. Also have a look at for their
search tool. Bonus: both have free downloadable demo versions, and I believe
the developers for both products are still present on techwr-l to answer
your questions.

--Geoff Hart, FERIC, Pointe-Claire, Quebec
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
"User's advocate" online monthly at

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a
personality, and an obnoxious one at that."-Kim Roper

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