Re: Search options for local documentation sets

Subject: Re: Search options for local documentation sets
From: Mark Giffin <mgiffin -at- earthlink -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Thu, 14 Jul 2016 22:26:23 -0700

I didn't know that JQuery had any kind of offline search capability, I think of it as an easier way to make JavaScript/CSS UI widgets. Web developers don't usually care about freaky stuff like generating a JavaScipt-based search that runs on a local drive outside of a web server.

If your customers are on Windows you could use Microsoft .chm files, generated by the free HTML Help Workshop. It could be based on your HTML files that you already have. It would take a bit of fiddling to set up. chm is ancient, long unsupported by MS, but it generates a really snappy binary full-text search for your help system. It has other problems too, but chm files were the greatest for quick performance and have not been equaled by anything since.

If that won't work, and your customers have the Java runtime available, you might look at JavaHelp, which I think can be compiled similar to chm files. It's pretty old though.

You might ask the Sphinx community what they think you should do. I'm sure there are mailing lists or other forums where you could ask questions about this. Probably some clever programmer has come up with something they would share with you. https://readthedocs.org/ might help, they are Sphinx based I think.

I've had this same problem with a client or two, but I never quite had to solve it yet. There are bits and pieces out there that I'm sure you could find, I think you might have to put them together yourself or with the help of some kind of programmer.

Mark Giffin
Mark Giffin Consulting, Inc.
http://markgiffin.com/


On 7/14/2016 12:33 PM, Robert Lauriston wrote:

In that context, JQuery seems to be the search component of choice these days.

On Thu, Jul 14, 2016 at 12:00 PM, Lois Patterson
<loisrpatterson -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:
Yes - the default offline JavaScript search. The default searchindex.js file
which is created during the document generation includes an index, which is
better than nothing, but not good.

On Thu, Jul 14, 2016 at 11:31 AM, Robert Lauriston <robert -at- lauriston -dot- com>
wrote:
Is what you're generating with Sphinx a set of static files (.html,
.css, .js, index of some sort) where the search runs on the user's
local browser?

On Thu, Jul 14, 2016 at 11:27 AM, Lois Patterson
<loisrpatterson -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:
Yes, I think in general people are putting their Sphinx-generated
documentation sets online, and also using elasticsearch for internal
search
on online websites, thus avoiding the problems of search in a local
context.

On Thu, Jul 14, 2016 at 11:26 AM, Robert Lauriston
<robert -at- lauriston -dot- com>
wrote:
By "local documentation website" do you mean Sphinx HTML output? Are
you using Sphinx Web Support?

If you Google

https://www.google.com/search?q=optimize+sphinx+search+performance&oq=optimize+sphinx+search+performance
there are a lot of hits, but most of them are three to six years old,
which makes me wonder if people have moved on to something else.

On Thu, Jul 14, 2016 at 11:14 AM, Lois Patterson
<loisrpatterson -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:
We are authoring with reStructuredText and generating the HTML docs
with
Sphinx. We get a local documentation website as output, with built-in
navigation. That part is great. The sub-optimal part is that the
default
offline JavaScript search is quite bad.



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Search options for local documentation sets: From: Lois Patterson

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