Search across multiple projects

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Search across multiple projects

Postby jsandora on Tue Jan 03, 2017 11:12 am

(I haven't found a recent thread that covers this topic, so apologies if I missed something somewhere.)

I'm looking for a way to search across multiple Flare projects - whether that be via a third-party app or some yet-unknown-to-me Flare trick.

We have multiple standalone applications that each have their own help system. As that list of help systems has grown, we're looking to consolidate them on a single webserver (instead of on the application server where they are now).

I'd like to find a way to search across all our help systems. This would allow users to visit a main landing page for the help systems and search them all (instead of having to open a specific application's help system and search from there).

I'm not fond of the "create one big help system that imports all the existing help system" approach - most of our users only have one or two of our solutions, so don't want to inundate them with info from EVERY solution each time they open/launch help from an application. Maybe if there was a way to create that big help system with everything just for the search, and use the individual help systems as we do now, and have that big search link out to the individual help systems? I kinda think that's a longshot wish though.

I haven't looked too deeply into third-party solutions yet (Apache Solr was one that was recommended here a while back), but open to those suggestions if someone has had success with that approach.

Thanks ...
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Re: Search across multiple projects

Postby Don on Tue Jan 10, 2017 9:59 am

My company is looking into this also. Provided that the website where your Flare output projects are hosted allows web crawlers to index the site, you should be able to use a Google search with "site:" at the beginning of the search string followed immediately with the website (no space between site:website.com/) followed by a space then your search term or search phrase.

Because the website where my company's Flare output projects are hosted does not allow web crawlers to index the website, using the Google search starting with the site:website_address search term or phrase will not work for us.
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Re: Search across multiple projects

Postby jsandora on Tue Jan 10, 2017 2:35 pm

Don wrote:Because the website where my company's Flare output projects are hosted does not allow web crawlers to index the website, using the Google search starting with the site:website_address search term or phrase will not work for us.


We're in the same boat here unfortunately - no search engine crawling allowed.

Holding out hope that the genius that is David Lee or RamonS or someone else has a workaround ...
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Re: Search across multiple projects

Postby Dave Lee on Wed Jan 11, 2017 12:59 am

jsandora wrote:I'm not fond of the "create one big help system that imports all the existing help system" approach


Have you looked at project merging then? You don't have to use a project import.

http://webhelp.madcapsoftware.com/flare ... ojects.htm

Note - if you have HTML5 outputs, this only works with the tripane skin and not the top nav skin.
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Re: Search across multiple projects

Postby jsandora on Thu Feb 23, 2017 10:53 am

Dave Lee wrote:Note - if you have HTML5 outputs, this only works with the tripane skin and not the top nav skin.


Unfortunately, all our help systems are HTML5 Top Nav.

Could we use the Merging Output at Runtime Using Server-Based HTML5 method? It sounds like that might allow us to keep our individual help projects as standalone systems (able to publish updates to those independently as needed) while the "master" project acts as an overarching layer to everything, providing links and search ability.

(I'm still not 100% sold on this approach, though: I'd like that "master" project to become the main landing page for an all-inclusive Support/Help site I'm trying to build. However, I don't really want the top nav of that project to contain links to the merged help systems; rather, custom links to other resources and corporate website info, which I don't think is possible with Flare yet.)
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Re: Search across multiple projects

Postby Dave Lee on Fri Feb 24, 2017 1:47 am

jsandora wrote:Could we use the Merging Output at Runtime Using Server-Based HTML5 method?


I'm afraid the answer is still no - it's hidden in the very last note in that help topic.


I think reason that you can't use any sort of merging is down to how the menu is constructed in the different skin types.
Using the Top Nav skin, the menu links are actually included in the topic itself (they're added at build time); so you can't change the menu without rebuilding the topics.
Using the Tripane skin, the menu is 'built' at runtime and is inside an iframe which is separate to the topic, meaning that the menu can be merged/changed independently of the topic.
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Re: Search across multiple projects

Postby Christian Wagner on Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:58 pm

Hi,
one approach is the following which my company is using: Provide an Eclipse help webapp. It provides a framework which makes different user guides available in one GUI, including the required search functionality.
Below is a very very general summary of the steps, and this is how we do it (may be the case that there are better solutions).

Main steps:
1a. Create the target Eclipse plugin (extension ".jar"), one per project/guide.
1b. If one guide has to be available in different languages: Create target HTML5 per project and language and include them in one Eclipse plugin (extension ".jar").
Example:
<user guide 1>.jar
<user guide 2>.jar
<user guide 3>.jar

2. Combine the plugins as required in an Eclipse help.war, in different variants for your customers
Example:
help.war1:
<user guide 1>.jar
<user guide 2>.jar

help war2:
<user guide 2>.jar
<user guide 3>.jar

3. Deploy the specific help.war on a server (or application server).
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Re: Search across multiple projects

Postby nielsf on Tue Dec 12, 2017 1:51 am

You may have to implement a third-party search engine. Some have done so using Elasticsearch (which is a "free" tool). We are looking into mimicking what Greg has done.

See this topic: https://forums.madcapsoftware.com/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=29169&p=127605

-Niels
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