Indexing offline and online content
Hello- I'm evaluating ZoomHelp for possible use with a WebHelp system that gets installed with the product on the user's hard drive. I'd like to set up my search engine so it searches both the installed help system and a Web-based knowledgebase and user forums. I don't see an obvious solution for this between the offline and spider indexing options.
Is this even possible, and if so, what is the best approach?
Hmm. What you are really trying to do is aggregate results from two seperate search index. One which happens to be hosted locally on the hard disk, and another which is served over the web.
This means several things:
- The offline search will need to connect to the Internet, send a request to the web server, and get the results back.
- The offline search will perform the same search on the local set of index files.
- The offline search will then need to collate these results and sort them by relevance and determine how to present them to the user.
There is no simple solution to do this. It would really require a fair amount of custom development and I would doubt there's any off-the-shelf product which would address this out of the box (I might be wrong though).
If you're an experienced developer (or have access to developers), you could consider using our MasterNode application to create a solution. This is designed to aggregate Zoom's XML results (or any other OpenSearch compliant search node). It is CGI-based, so your offline system will have to host a web server on the user's machine (which is quite common these days) so that it can itself act as a node, in addition to being the "master node" itself.
Thanks for the reply, Ray. I had a feeling I might be pushing the envelope a little too hard on this one.
Sounds like a much easier solution than using MasterNode would be to throw my Help system up on the Web, which of course has numerous other benefits as well.
Yes, if that is an option for you, it would certainly be much simpler to manage and setup. Or perhaps you can detect if the user has access to the Internet, and if not, it falls back to an offline help system, but always goes to the web if it is accessible.
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