Welcome Guest.   Make a donation to an author on the site September 02, 2014, 02:02:02 AM  *

Please login or register.
Or did you miss your validation email?


Login with username and password (forgot your password?)
Why not become a lifetime supporting member of the site with a one-time donation of any amount? Your donation entitles you to a ton of additional benefits, including access to exclusive discounts and downloads, the ability to enter monthly free software drawings, and a single non-expiring license key for all of our programs.


You must sign up here before you can post and access some areas of the site. Registration is totally free and confidential.
 
Read the full one-year retrospective report on DonationCoder.com.
   
   Forum Home   Thread Marks Chat! Downloads Search Login Register  
Pages: [1] 2 3 Next   Go Down
  Reply  |  New Topic  |  Print  
Author Topic: SuperboyAC's DC blog #2 (Live Search feature in software)  (Read 35343 times)
superboyac
Charter Member
***
Posts: 5,663


Is your software in my list?

see users location on a map View Profile WWW Read user's biography. Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« on: January 31, 2007, 05:44:48 PM »

The Live Search Feature
Fast and Fun Searching

We all have our fetishes.  We computer powerusers even have our own software fetishes.  C'mon, just admit it!  My personal favorite programming fetish is the live searching mechanism that is becoming more and more prevalent in several applications.  I call it the Live Search feature but it goes by many names:

  • Live search (I think I made this one up)
  • Find-as-you-type
  • Search-as-you-type
  • Lighting fast searching (I noticed that a couple of programs use "lighting fast" to distinguish this feature as opposed to "quick search" or "fast find" which usually just means a regular searching mechanism)
  • Incremental search
  • Real time filter

I'm sure many of you are familiar with this feature, and if you've read any of my posts you'll know how obsessed I am with it.  Here's a basic description of what this feature does:

When searching for something in a program, you simply start typing the search criteria, and the list of results will change as each character is typed.  The difference between this and a regular search engine is that you can see (in "real time") the list getting shorter and shorter as more characters are typed.

Now, while I love this, I will admit that in most cases it is not the most important feature in the world, but it just makes using a program so much more enjoyable.  As far as efficiency, I wouldn't say it saves a huge amount of time (essentially, it saves you whatever time it takes to hit "Enter").  But the bottom line is that it is definitely more efficient, visually more pleasing, has better feedback (since the user can see the results in real-time), and it's just really cool.

In the rest of this article, I will present a list of several applications that use this feature, and rate them on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the best, of course).  I'm sure there are more programs that have the live search feature, but these are the ones I am familiar with.  While I write this mostly just for fun, I hope it helps programmers and software developers get a detailed look on the various implementations of this feature.  Hopefully, more and more applications will eventually include this feature if it is applicable to their function.

Let's take a look!


{List is presented in alphabetical order}



Addza
(9/10)
Addza is a brand new player in the addressbook (contact manager) field.  Incidentally, one of my other software fetishes is good addressbook software (see my posts on the subject).  Addza was on Bits du Jour one day and even though I don't think it's the best addressbook software, I bought it simply because it included the live search feature.  That, and it is also one of the very few strictly addressbook applications that is still being actively developed.  I have a lot of hope for Addza.

Now, as far it's live search feature, it's actually pretty excellent.  I took off one point for it only because it's still in the beginning stages and not a lot of options are available.  For example, it would be nice to be able to pick which fields are searched (All fields, just names, just numbers, or some combo of a bunch of different fields).  Other than that, the searching is awesome.  It even highlights (in real-time!) the matching characters as you type.  Of all addressbook or contact manager applications, Addza has the best implementation of the live search feature.

The Bat!
(4/10)
The Bat!, one of DC's favorite applications, has a pseudo-live search feature called "Quick Search".  It resides on the main toolbar and it functions both as a sort of live search and a filter simultaneously.  It's actually a terrible implementation of the live search feature; it should just be called "live jump".  When you type something in it and DON'T press "Enter", it will just jump to the first match.  If you do press "Enter", it acts like a filter and will remove anything from the window that doesn't match.  During the "jump" there is no filtering, it just goes to the first match.  Also, it doesn't really react "as-you-type", it just waits until you stop typing before it jumps to the match.  Kind of useless for the most part.  It's basically just a conveniently placed filter/search, so calling it "Quick Search" is actually very accurate.

CardScan
(8/10)
CardScan is another addressbook program.  Most of you won't be able to try it out because you can only use the software if you buy their card scanning hardware, which is pretty expensive.  But I've used it and it has a nifty live search box.  Like Addza, it searches every single field in the contacts (names, phone numbers, zip codes,...anything).  Unfortunately, like Addza, you can't set or customize which fields to limit the search to, but that's not a big deal.  Personally, I prefer these live searches to just search everything, anyway, so it's fine with me if you can't fiddle with it.  But I'm sure some people will just want to limit it to names only, or something along those lines.  I would give it a 9, but Addza's live search is better because it highlights the matching results, so I couldn't make them exactly equal.

Directory Opus
(10/10)
Directory Opus is a file manager and Windows Explorer replacement (the best one at that!).  In one of it's more recent updates to its v8 line, it introduced a feature it calls a "Filter".  The filter will filter a window showing files down to just the files matching whatever is in the filter.  The filter is lighting fast and is true search-as-you-type (i.e. no pause like in the Bat!).  Like anything else in DOpus, you can customize the filter to your heart's desire, and it accepts certain regex commands, for those that like that sort of thing.  This gets perfect scores because it made a great program even better and should satisfy the entire range of its userbase.
   

EssentialPIM
(6/10)
EssentialPIM is a typical do-it-all PIM software.  It includes a live search feature in the addressbook portion of the application.  Like Addza and Cardscan, it searches as-you-type, except the response isn't as fast as the really good live search implementations.  Like the Bat!, there seems to be a pause before the results list actually responds to each character typed.  Ideally, you want to see the list shorten immediately after pressing each key.  So, that's the main complaint for EssentialPIM.  I will give it bonus points for including a drop-down box to customize which field the live search will use (All Fields is the default and best option).
   

EverNote
(10/10)
EverNote is a great notetaking program.  One of its more prominent features is a live search box in the upper right-hand corner of the application.  It works wonderfully well, I can't think of one complaint about it.  It's lightning fast, it's well-integrated with the rest of the program, and it is vital to the program's function.  For those that aren't familiar with EverNote, it doesn't use a heirarchy to organize the notes, but a long chronological toilet-paper-like scroll.  The live search is crucial to finding the right note in that big scroll.  So, it's not just a nice, fancy feature, but one of the few live searches that is essential to the program's task.  As an added bonus, the matching terms get highlighted in real-time as you type in the live search box.  Perfect!

FindAndRunRobot
(10/10)
FindAndRunRobot (FARR) is a product of DC and it's gracious owner, mouser.  It's the best program launching program in the history of software, and if I'm not mistaken, the most popular DC appplication.  The live search feature is essentially the entire program, making it one of the few programs that make the live search the focal point of the software (even more so than EverNote).  In FARR, you use the live search to find the program you want to launch, and with the upcoming v2, you will be able to do all sorts of fancy things, like search through directories using certain special tags and expressions.  It is probably the most advanced and sophisticated implementation of the live search that is currently available in the software world right now.  If it seems like I am saying this tongue-in-cheek, I'm not.  It's actually true.  I would actually like to give it an 11/10, but I hate it when people do that.

MP3rat
(10/10)
MP3rat is a mp3 cataloging program.  Its live search is also the central feature of it.  MP3rat is unique in that it doesn't organize your mp3 collection using album, artist, or some kind of folder structure.  Everything is dumped into one big list, and you use the live search box to filter the list down to whatever you are trying to find.  The search is lightning fast and doesn't leave much to be desired.  It can also be tweaked so that it searches only the fields you want (all fields, or only certain fields); it is probably the best implementation of this of all the programs because you can pick all fields, or individually check off the fields you want.  Unfortunately, it seems like the program hasn't been actively developed for a while, but it still works great.
   

myBase
(7/10)
myBase is another great notetaking program.  In it's latest v5, it introduced what it calls "Find As-you-type".  It functions as a live search box that will search through the notes and return a list of matching notes.  I was excited when I learned that this feature was being implemented in one of my favorite notetaking applications.  Unfortunately, the implementation of it isn't all that great.  For one thing, it's not a "true" live search.  Like the Bat! and EssentialPIM, it doesn't search as each character is typed, but, instead, it waits for the typing to end, and after a short pause, a list appears of the resulting matches.  What's worse is that the new results window that appears scrunches down the current active window, and after you close the results window, the current window remains scrunched.  So, after using the search, you always have to maximize the current window to get it back the way it was.  The whole thing is just a little klunky.  On the positive side, the results window gives some good detailed information about the results, such as how many times the term appears in that specific note.  But it doesn't highlight the matches like in EverNote and Addza.  Overall, it's a decent feature but in the end, I didn't like using much at all.  Live searching is supposed to make searching faster, easier, and cooler, but in this case, they're both sort of the same.

Powermarks
(10/10)
Powermarks is an alternative bookmarking application for IE or Firefox.  It is made by the same author as MP3rat, and the two programs are essentially identical except for the different purpose that they serve.  The keyword, live search, basic interface, and most everything else is exactly the same.  What I like about this author is that he's basically created a live search engine, and built two applications around it.  As a sidenote, for those of you who can't seem to figure out a way to effectively organize your internet bookmarks, I highly recommend Powermarks.  [For more details about the live search features, please read the MP3rat section above, it works the same way.]
   

Zoot
(9.5/10)
Zoot is yet another notetaking application (notice a trend here?).  Zoot is a program that some can say was ahead of its time.  It used the live search feature long before EverNote did.  Unfortunately, development on the program has stalled and all we are left with is a severely outdated 16-bit notetaking program.  However, this is about it's live search engine, and it's pretty darn good.  The searching is lighting fast, as with all of the other top scorers, and you have the ability to customize what is and what isn't searched.  Also, in a very old-fashioned kind of way, the matching terms are highlighted once you choose a matching result and jump to that particular note.  I took off a half-point because it only highlights the first match and not all of the matches (if there are multiple ones).  No big deal.


Concluding Remarks

As you can see, there are a large variety of applications making use of this realtively new feature in software.  Clearly, some specific types of applications (i.e. notetaking) naturally gravitate towards including the live search in their programs because of its efficiency and usefulness.  However, it's also good to see some authors taking this idea and building very creative applications around it (FindAndRunRobot, MP3rat, Powermarks).  As an avid software fanatic, I welcome the inclusion of the live search whenever possible.  If nothing else, it's just fun to play with it!

I know that this is a probably  much too long-winded of an article for such a seemingly insignificant little feature.  Part of my reason for doing this is to highlight the subtle differences that can make a good program great.  Sometimes, the little features are ignored when there are larger and more important things to worry about.  I hope that the software developers find the analysis here useful for their current and future projects, that's really what all this is for.


Until next time,
SuperboyAC

« Last Edit: February 15, 2007, 04:25:31 PM by superboyac » Logged

mouser
First Author
Administrator
*****
Posts: 33,294



see users location on a map View Profile WWW Read user's biography. Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2007, 03:29:23 AM »

Wow  Kiss Kiss Kiss Kiss

Wonderful !!!  Another patented SuperboyAC masterpiece, complete with the chaster of humour at the end.. gotta love it smiley

Self-promotion warning: A major motivation for my writing my clipboard tool (Clipboard Help+Spell) was wanting to add a live search feature smiley
Logged
brotherS
Master of Good Ideas
Honorary Member
**
Posts: 2,105


To make a difference, be different.

View Profile Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2007, 04:24:32 AM »

Nice post! Azureus (http://azureus.sourceforge.net/) features find-as-you-type too, very helpful indeed.  thumbs up
« Last Edit: February 16, 2007, 04:29:42 AM by brotherS » Logged

Thank you.
justice
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 1,888



Solve issues simply.

View Profile WWW Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2007, 06:42:17 AM »

Opera browser has it in most of its features, such as Opera mail, bookmarks and i'm sure other places.
Logged

nudone
Cody's Creator
Columnist
***
Posts: 4,116



see users location on a map View Profile WWW Read user's biography. Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2007, 07:34:59 AM »

great.

i had no idea about Directory Opus have 'live search' going to set it up right now.
Logged
peteg05
Charter Member
***
Posts: 29

View Profile Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2007, 11:14:19 AM »

WOW! Great post Thmbsup Thmbsup  Thmbsup Thmbsup

I've never heard of MP3RAT before but it looks like its exactly the tool I was looking for.

Maybe this report is a good reason to ask for a Donationcoder Discount.  Wink Wink Wink

Many thanks!!!
peteg
Logged
Crush
Member
**
Posts: 399



Hello dude!

see users location on a map View Profile Read user's biography. Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2007, 11:26:44 AM »

the live search feature isn´t included in my Directory Opus 6.1
What version is this?
« Last Edit: February 16, 2007, 11:28:28 AM by Crush » Logged
mouser
First Author
Administrator
*****
Posts: 33,294



see users location on a map View Profile WWW Read user's biography. Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2007, 11:36:08 AM »

please remember to send a credit or something to post authors to support their work.
even if you only send them 0.10 credits (10 cents) it's still a nice thing.
Logged
superboyac
Charter Member
***
Posts: 5,663


Is your software in my list?

see users location on a map View Profile WWW Read user's biography. Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2007, 11:59:20 AM »

Self-promotion warning: A major motivation for my writing my clipboard tool (Clipboard Help+Spell) was wanting to add a live search feature smiley
Oh!  I didn't even realize CHS had the live search in there.  That's awesome.  I only use CHS for quickpasting clips, I barely ever open up the console window.  That's great, now I can search through my clips in style!

Quote
Nice post! Azureus (http://azureus.sourceforge.net/) features find-as-you-type too, very helpful indeed.
I did not know that, and I used to use Azureus a long time ago.  I'll check it out, maybe it's a new feature.  Oh, I see, it just pops up as you start typing.  That's really good actually.  I would say that it gets a 10, just off of an initial glance.  It's done very well.

WOW! Great post Thmbsup Thmbsup  Thmbsup Thmbsup

I've never heard of MP3RAT before but it looks like its exactly the tool I was looking for.

Maybe this report is a good reason to ask for a Donationcoder Discount.  Wink Wink Wink

Many thanks!!!
peteg
MP3rat is a good program.  It hasn't been updated for a long time, however.  The only part of it I don't like is that sometimes it crashes when I want to import a large amount of files into the database, and it takes a few tries before it works without crashing.  Also, sometimes it adds weird characters and symbols into my tags, I don't understand why, maybe I don't tag properly (but I use Tag&Rename!) so I don't really know.  I just blame this stuff on the fact that the program hasn't been actively developed for a long time.

the live search feature isn´t included in my Directory Opus 6.1
What version is this?
No, it was introduced in the v8 line, and only after several updates.  Probably sometime around v8.1 or so.
Logged

iphigenie
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 1,166


curiosity FTW!

see users location on a map View Profile WWW Read user's biography. Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2007, 01:21:26 PM »

I must say i really like the live search feature in Opera mail - i have not seen many mail clients to that. Sad
Logged
brotherS
Master of Good Ideas
Honorary Member
**
Posts: 2,105


To make a difference, be different.

View Profile Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2007, 01:24:03 PM »

Quote
Nice post! Azureus (http://azureus.sourceforge.net/) features find-as-you-type too, very helpful indeed.
I did not know that, and I used to use Azureus a long time ago.  I'll check it out, maybe it's a new feature.  Oh, I see, it just pops up as you start typing.  That's really good actually.  I would say that it gets a 10, just off of an initial glance.  It's done very well.
Yes, I too think it's a 10, and you can now guess who helped them with continued feedback to bring it to this level. cheesy cheesy

Thanks to another guy with good ideas it now even has filter-as-you-type in the config too! I didn't saw that in any other program, and while I personally rarely need it, IMHO it's great!
Logged

Thank you.
brotherS
Master of Good Ideas
Honorary Member
**
Posts: 2,105


To make a difference, be different.

View Profile Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2007, 01:45:18 PM »

I must say i really like the live search feature in Opera mail - i have not seen many mail clients to that. Sad
When you really like "I have not seen many mail clients do that" features, you MUST check out Google Mail! smiley True, you can't install it locally, but its features and the look and feel of it is just *awesome* IMHO. They also don't have a 'live search' (yet?), but I don't miss that with regard to email.

Logged

Thank you.
superboyac
Charter Member
***
Posts: 5,663


Is your software in my list?

see users location on a map View Profile WWW Read user's biography. Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2007, 02:13:15 PM »

Quote
Yes, I too think it's a 10, and you can now guess who helped them with continued feedback to bring it to this level. cheesy cheesy

Thanks to another guy with good ideas it now even has filter-as-you-type in the config too! I didn't saw that in any other program, and while I personally rarely need it, IMHO it's great!
Good work, brotherS!  The live search in the options is awesome also!  That's a brilliant idea, I didn't even think about that.  I do seem to remember seeing that in some other software, but I don't remember which one.  For a second, I though it was Zoom Player, but it's not (although it could definitely use it, with all those options it has!). 
Logged

cranioscopical
Friend of the Site
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 4,167



see users location on a map View Profile Read user's biography. Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2007, 10:04:15 PM »

This article is a nice idea, well thought out, well written, and informational.
A lot of care must have gone into this... it shows!
Thanks.

Logged

Chris
urlwolf
Charter Member
***
Posts: 1,784



see users location on a map View Profile Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2007, 10:21:52 PM »

Quote
Yes, I too think it's a 10, and you can now guess who helped them with continued feedback to bring it to this level. cheesy cheesy

Thanks to another guy with good ideas it now even has filter-as-you-type in the config too! I didn't saw that in any other program, and while I personally rarely need it, IMHO it's great!

Good work, brotherS!  The live search in the options is awesome also!  That's a brilliant idea, I didn't even think about that.  I do seem to remember seeing that in some other software, but I don't remember which one.  For a second, I though it was Zoom Player, but it's not (although it could definitely use it, with all those options it has!). 

Dear God,

If you really love me, please, please, make the developers of Dopus implement live search on the options pane.

Thanks,
-urlwolf

Great Post SuperboyAC!.

BTW, how do you get to see the filters next to the location bar in dopus?
Logged
johnfdeluca
Charter Member
***
Posts: 81


View Profile Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #15 on: February 16, 2007, 10:27:55 PM »

Roboform (one of my must-have apps) has quick seach as well.  I use it instead of bookmarks because of the quick seach.  It works not just for password protected sites, but any site.  The seach as you type feature is in my opinion one of the strongest draws for me.

Roboform is the top-rated Password Manager and Web Form Filler that completely automates password entering and form filling.

http://www.roboform.com/
For information about the seach:  http://www.roboform.com/manual.html#search
Logged
app103
That scary taskbar girl
Global Moderator
*****
Posts: 5,179



see users location on a map View Profile WWW Read user's biography. Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2007, 05:41:24 AM »

Winamp's media library has this feature too....and it has to be the one thing that made the upgrade from v2 to v5 worth it.

Start typing "Pink Floyd" and by the time you have finished typing "Pink" you have a list of every song you own that either the song title, artist, or album contains "Pink" (not just beginning with it)...hit the space bar and add "F" and you will most likely have nothing but the Pink Floyd tunes you are looking for.

And it also works for single words in song titles. If you can only remember 1 word in the song's title, type that and you will easily find it in the list. (as long as it's not a really common word like 'the'  tongue)

Logged

Darwin
Charter Member
***
Posts: 6,979



see users location on a map View Profile Read user's biography. Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #17 on: February 17, 2007, 09:09:21 AM »

Like nudeone, I didn't know that Dopus 8.x had such a feature and have now implemented it. I can't believe I didn't know about it - I've been on Dopus since 6.1, for at least five years. Live and learn. Thanks Superboyac!
Logged

"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin
Darwin
Charter Member
***
Posts: 6,979



see users location on a map View Profile Read user's biography. Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #18 on: February 17, 2007, 09:18:10 AM »

PS urlwolf - to see the filters next to location in Dopus, alt-click on a toolbar (or just right click and select customize). In the dialog that appears, select the Commands tab, then view. Now drag "file filter field" out of the dialog and drop it next to the location bar. VoilĂ !

« Last Edit: February 17, 2007, 09:20:15 AM by Darwin » Logged

"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin
superboyac
Charter Member
***
Posts: 5,663


Is your software in my list?

see users location on a map View Profile WWW Read user's biography. Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #19 on: February 20, 2007, 10:41:10 AM »

This article is a nice idea, well thought out, well written, and informational.
A lot of care must have gone into this... it shows!
Thanks.
Thanks cranio.  I love that feature, I had to get it out of my system!

Quote
Roboform (one of my must-have apps) has quick seach as well.
You know, I totally forgot about that!  I use Roboform, and it does have a very nice live search box for going through the passwords/bookmarks.

Quote
Winamp's media library has this feature too....and it has to be the one thing that made the upgrade from v2 to v5 worth it.
Ah, I don't remember that (I used to use Winamp).  I've since changed to foobar (I could probably do a blog on that alone).

Darwin, thanks for the DOpus screenshot.
Logged

EWek1
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 5


View Profile Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #20 on: February 22, 2007, 01:08:07 PM »

What about google desktop search?  No mention?
Logged
superboyac
Charter Member
***
Posts: 5,663


Is your software in my list?

see users location on a map View Profile WWW Read user's biography. Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #21 on: February 22, 2007, 03:55:49 PM »

What about google desktop search?  No mention?
Well, I don't use google desktop, so  I wouldn't be in a position to analyze it.  Feel free to contribute if you're familiar with it!
Logged

Darwin
Charter Member
***
Posts: 6,979



see users location on a map View Profile Read user's biography. Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #22 on: February 22, 2007, 04:12:42 PM »

Quote
Darwin, thanks for the DOpus screenshot.

No problem, Superboyac! Thanks for a great little overview of live search (and again for pointing out the live filter in Dopus).
Logged

"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin
WhiteLion
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 43


View Profile Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #23 on: February 22, 2007, 11:14:39 PM »

Nice post! I'll have to check out Directy Opus again. Find as you type for I.E. is a super nice one to have.
Logged

EWek1
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 5


View Profile Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #24 on: February 23, 2007, 03:42:15 PM »

What about google desktop search?  No mention?
Well, I don't use google desktop, so  I wouldn't be in a position to analyze it.  Feel free to contribute if you're familiar with it!

I've been using GDS for a while, and it's pretty decent.  The live searching feature, though, it 100% robust and fully capable.  It's lightning fast, it indexes pretty much everything one would want (and you can exclude certain items/drives/etc).  In the scope of this article, though, the find-as-you-type is first-in-class.  My .02.  Thanks for the write-up, I'm currently trying to make my way through the Opus 8 manual.  Looks good so far.
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 3 Next   Go Up
  Reply  |  New Topic  |  Print  
 
Jump to:  
   Forum Home   Thread Marks Chat! Downloads Search Login Register  

DonationCoder.com | About Us
DonationCoder.com Forum | Powered by SMF
[ Page time: 0.087s | Server load: 0.41 ]