Re: Search options for local documentation sets

Subject: Re: Search options for local documentation sets
From: Robert Lauriston <robert -at- lauriston -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L Writing <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 15 Jul 2016 11:09:50 -0700

You're right, JQuery is used by the web help generated by Scroll HTML
Exporter and Paligo, but I was confused about it being the search
engine. Poking around in the source I see the both use lunr.js.

Writing your own web help system seems nuts to me, like writing your
own word processor.

JavaHelp is semi-defunct and is usable only in Java appliciations. Its
successor EclipseHelp can't be used to make lightweight client-side
help a la Flare or RoboHelp.

Few web developers or static-site-generator enthusiasts will know
anything about client-side web help. They assume everything is on the
web.

On Thu, Jul 14, 2016 at 10:26 PM, Mark Giffin <mgiffin -at- earthlink -dot- net> wrote:
> 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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References:
Search options for local documentation sets: From: Lois Patterson
Re: Search options for local documentation sets: From: Mark Giffin

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