TWiki Formatted Search

Inline search feature allows flexible formatting of search result

The default output format of a %SEARCH{...}% is a table consisting of topic names and topic summaries. Use the format="..." parameter to customize the search result. The format parameter typically defines a bullet or a table row containing variables, such as %SEARCH{ "food" format="| $topic | $summary |" }%. See %SEARCH{...}% for other search parameters, such as separator="".

Syntax

Three parameters can be used to customize a search result:

1. header="..." parameter

Use the header parameter to specify the header of a search result. It should correspond to the format of the format parameter. This parameter is optional.
Example: header="| *Topic:* | *Summary:* |"

Variables that can be used in the header string:

Name: Expands To:
$web Name of the web
$n or $n() New line. Use $n() if followed by alphanumeric character, e.g. write Foo$n()Bar instead of Foo$nBar
$nop or $nop() Is a "no operation". This variable gets removed; useful for nested search
$quot or \" Double quote (")
$percnt Percent sign (%)
$dollar Dollar sign ($)
$lt Less than sign (<)
$gt Greater than sign (>)

2. format="..." parameter

Use the format parameter to specify the format of one search hit.
Example: format="| $topic | $summary |"

Variables that can be used in the format string:

Name: Expands To:
$web Name of the web
$topic Topic name
$topic(20) Topic name, "- " hyphenated each 20 characters
$topic(30, -<br />) Topic name, hyphenated each 30 characters with separator "-<br />"
$topic(40, ...) Topic name, shortened to 40 characters with "..." indication
$parent Name of parent topic; empty if not set
$parent(20) Name of parent topic, same hyphenation/shortening like $topic()
$text Formatted topic text. In case of a multiple="on" search, it is the line found for each search hit.
$locked LOCKED flag (if any)
$date Time stamp of last topic update, e.g. 18 Apr 2014 - 14:20
$isodate Time stamp of last topic update, e.g. 2014-04-18T14:20Z
$rev Number of last topic revision, e.g. 4
$username Login name of last topic update, e.g. jsmith
$wikiname Wiki user name of last topic update, e.g. JohnSmith
$wikiusername Wiki user name of last topic update, like Main.JohnSmith
$createdate Time stamp of topic revision 1
$createusername Login name of topic revision 1, e.g. jsmith
$createwikiname Wiki user name of topic revision 1, e.g. JohnSmith
$createwikiusername Wiki user name of topic revision 1, e.g. Main.JohnSmith
$summary Topic summary, just the plain text, all TWiki variables, formatting and line breaks removed; up to 162 characters
$summary(50) Topic summary, up to 50 characters shown
$summary(showvarnames) Topic summary, with %ALLTWIKI{...}% variables shown as ALLTWIKI{...}
$summary(expandvar) Topic summary, with %ALLTWIKI{...}% variables expanded
$summary(noheader) Topic summary, with leading ---+ headers removed
Note: The tokens can be combined, for example $summary(100, showvarnames, noheader)
$changes Summary of changes between latest rev and previous rev
$changes(n) Summary of changes between latest rev and rev n
$formname The name of the form attached to the topic; empty if none
$formfield(name) The field value of a form field; for example, $formfield(TopicClassification) would get expanded to PublicFAQ. This applies only to topics that have a TWikiForm
$formfield(name, 10) Form field value, "- " hyphenated each 10 characters
$formfield(name, 20, -<br />) Form field value, hyphenated each 20 characters with separator "-<br />"
$formfield(name, 30, ...) Form field value, shortened to 30 characters with "..." indication
$query(query-syntax) Access topic meta data using SQL-like QuerySearch syntax. Example:
$query(attachments.arraysize) returns the number of files attached to the current topic
$query(attachments[name~'*.gif'].size) returns an array with size of all .gif attachments, such as 848, 1425, 923
$query(parent.name) is equivalent to $parent
$pattern(reg-exp) A regular expression pattern to extract some text from a topic (does not search meta data; use $formfield instead). In case of a multiple="on" search, the pattern is applied to the line found in each search hit.
• Specify a RegularExpression that covers the whole text (topic or line), which typically starts with .*, and must end in .*
• Put text you want to keep in parenthesis, like $pattern(.*?(from here.*?to here).*)
• Example: $pattern(.*?\*.*?Email\:\s*([^\n\r]+).*) extracts the e-mail address from a bullet of format * Email: ...
• This example has non-greedy .*? patterns to scan for the first occurance of the Email bullet; use greedy .* patterns to scan for the last occurance
• Limitation: Do not use .*) inside the pattern, e.g. $pattern(.*foo(.*)bar.*) does not work, but $pattern(.*foo(.*?)bar.*) does
• Note: Make sure that the integrity of a web page is not compromised; for example, if you include an HTML table make sure to include everything including the table end tag
$count(reg-exp) Count of number of times a regular expression pattern appears in the text of a topic (does not search meta data). Follows guidelines for use and limitations outlined above under $pattern(reg-exp). Example: $count(.*?(---[+][+][+][+]) .*) counts the number of <H4> headers in a page.
$ntopics Number of topics found in current web. This is the current topic count, not the total number of topics
$nhits Number of hits if multiple="on". Cumulative across all topics in current web. Identical to $ntopics unless multiple="on"
$n or $n() New line. Use $n() if followed by alphanumeric character, e.g. write Foo$n()Bar instead of Foo$nBar
$nop or $nop() Is a "no operation". This variable gets removed; useful for nested search
$quot or \" Double quote (")
$percnt Percent sign (%)
$dollar Dollar sign ($)
$lt Less than sign (<)
$gt Greater than sign (>)

3. footer="..." parameter

Use the footer parameter to specify the footer of a search result. It should correspond to the format of the format parameter. This parameter is optional.
Example: footer="| *Topic* | *Summary* |"

Variables that can be used in the footer string:

Name: Expands To:
$web Name of the web
$ntopics Number of topics found in current web
$nhits Number of hits if multiple="on". Cumulative across all topics in current web. Identical to $ntopics unless multiple="on"
$n or $n() New line. Use $n() if followed by alphanumeric character, e.g. write Foo$n()Bar instead of Foo$nBar
$nop or $nop() Is a "no operation". This variable gets removed; useful for nested search
$quot or \" Double quote (")
$percnt Percent sign (%)
$dollar Dollar sign ($)
$lt Less than sign (<)
$gt Greater than sign (>)

Evaluation order of variables

By default, variables embedded in the format parameter of %SEARCH{}% are evaluated once before the search. This is OK for variables that do not change, such as %SCRIPTURLPATH%. Variables that should be evaluated once per search hit must be escaped. For example, to escape a conditional:
    %IF{ "..." then="..." else="..." }%
write this:
    format="$percntIF{ \"...\" then=\"...\" else=\"...\" }$percnt"

Examples

Here are some samples of formatted searches. The SearchPatternCookbook has other examples, such as creating a picklist of usernames, searching for topic children and more.

Bullet list showing topic name and summary

Write this:

%SEARCH{ "FAQ" scope="topic" nosearch="on" nototal="on" header="   * *Topic: Summary:*" format="   * [[$topic]]: $summary"  footer="   * *Topic: Summary*"  }%

To get this:

  • Topic: Summary:
  • TWikiFAQ: Frequently Asked Questions About TWiki This is a real FAQ, and also a demo of an easily implemented knowledge base solution. To see how it`s done, view the source ...
  • TWikiFaqTemplate: FAQ: Answer: Back to: TWikiFAQ
  • TextFormattingFAQ: Text Formatting FAQ This topics lists frequently asked questions on text formatting. Text formatting applies to people who edit TWiki pages in raw edit mode. TextFormattingRules ...
  • Topic: Summary

Table showing form field values of topics with a form

In a web where there is a form that contains a TopicClassification field, an OperatingSystem field and an OsVersion field we could write:

| *Topic:* | *OperatingSystem:* | *OsVersion:* |
%SEARCH{ "[T]opicClassification.*?value=\"[P]ublicFAQ\"" scope="text" type="regex" nosearch="on" nototal="on" format="| [[$topic]] | $formfield(OperatingSystem) | $formfield(OsVersion) |" }%

To get this:

Topic: OperatingSystem OsVersion
IncorrectDllVersionW32PTH10DLL OsWin 95/98
WinDoze95Crash OsWin 95

Extract some text from a topic using regular expression

Write this:

%SEARCH{ "__Back to\:__ TWikiFAQ" scope="text" type="regex" nosearch="on" nototal="on" header="TWiki FAQs:" format="   * $pattern(.*?FAQ\:[\n\r]*([^\n\r]+).*) [[$topic][Answer...]]" }%

To get this:

TWiki FAQs:

  • How can I create a simple TWiki Forms based application? Answer...
  • How do I delete or rename a topic? Answer...
  • How do I delete or rename a file attachment? Answer...
  • Why does the topic revision not increase when I edit a topic? Answer...
  • TWiki is distributed under the GPL (GNU General Public License). What is GPL? Answer...
  • I've problems with the WebSearch. There is no Search Result on any inquiry. By clicking the Index topic it's the same problem. Answer...
  • What happens if two of us try to edit the same topic simultaneously? Answer...
  • I would like to install TWiki on my server. Can I get the source? Answer...
  • What does the "T" in TWiki stand for? Answer...
  • So what is this WikiWiki thing exactly? Answer...
  • Everybody can edit any page, this is scary. Doesn't that lead to chaos? Answer...

Nested Search

Search can be nested. For example, search for some topics, then form a new search for each topic found in the first search. The idea is to build the nested search string using a formatted search in the first search.

Here is an example. Let's search for all topics that contain the word "culture" (first search), and let's find out where each topic found is linked from (second search).

  • First search:
    • %SEARCH{ "culture" format="   * $topic is referenced by: (list all references)" nosearch="on" nototal="on" }%
  • Second search. For each hit we want this search:
    • %SEARCH{ "(topic found in first search)" format="$topic" nosearch="on" nototal="on" separator=", " }%
  • Now let's nest the two. We need to escape the second search, e.g. the first search will build a valid second search string. Note that we escape the second search so that it does not get evaluated prematurely by the first search:
    • Use $percnt to escape the leading percent of the second search
    • Use \" to escape the double quotes
    • Use $dollar to escape the $ of $topic
    • Use $nop to escape the }% sequence

Write this:

%SEARCH{ "culture" format="   * $topic is referenced by:$n      * $percntSEARCH{ \"$topic\" format=\"$dollartopic\" nosearch=\"on\" nototal=\"on\" separator=\", \" }$nop%" nosearch="on" nototal="on" }%

To get this:

Note: Nested search can be slow, especially if you nest more then 3 times. Nesting is limited to 16 levels. For each new nesting level you need to "escape the escapes", e.g. write $dollarpercntSEARCH{ for level three, $dollardollarpercntSEARCH{ for level four, etc.

Most recently changed pages

Write this:

%SEARCH{ "\.*" scope="topic" type="regex" nosearch="on" nototal="on" order="modified" reverse="on"  format="| [[$topic]] | $wikiusername  | $date |" limit="7" }%

To get this:

WebTopicCreator MattJonkman 2013-05-10 - 16:52
TWikiReleaseNotes05x01 MattJonkman 2013-05-10 - 16:52
TWikiReleaseNotes04x02 MattJonkman 2013-05-10 - 16:52
TWikiReleaseNotes04x01 MattJonkman 2013-05-10 - 16:52
TWikiReleaseNotes04x00 MattJonkman 2013-05-10 - 16:52
TWikiHistory MattJonkman 2013-05-10 - 16:52
PatternSkin MattJonkman 2013-05-10 - 16:52

Search with conditional output

A regular expression search is flexible, but there are limitations. For example, you cannot show all topics that are up to exactly one week old, or create a report that shows all records with invalid form fields or fields within a certain range, etc. You need some additional logic to format output based on a condition:

  1. Specify a search which returns more hits then you need
  2. For each search hit apply a spreadsheet formula to determine if the hit is needed
  3. If needed, format and output the result
  4. Else supress the search hit

This requires the TWiki:Plugins.SpreadSheetPlugin. The following example shows all topics in the Main web that have been updated in the last 7 days.

Write this:

%CALC{$SET(weekold, $TIMEADD($TIME(), -7, day))}%
%SEARCH{ "." scope="topic" type="regex" web="Main" nonoise="on" order="modified" reverse="on" format="$percntCALC{$IF($TIME($date) < $GET(weekold), <nop>, | [[$web.$topic][$topic]] | $wikiusername | $date | $rev |)}$percnt" limit="100" }%

  • The first line sets the weekold variable to the serialized date of exactly one week ago
  • The SEARCH has a deferred CALC. The $percnt makes sure that the CALC gets executed once for each search hit
  • The CALC compares the date of the topic with the weekold date
  • If topic is older, a <nop> is returned, which gets removed at the end of the TWiki rendering process
  • Otherwise, the search hit is formatted and returned

To get this:

2018372 RobertCampbell 2014-04-18 - 01:23 2
RobertCampbell TWikiRegistrationAgent 2014-04-18 - 01:17 1
2018400 TWikiGuest 2014-04-17 - 22:09 1
2018397 TWikiGuest 2014-04-17 - 22:09 1
2018386 TWikiGuest 2014-04-17 - 22:09 1
2016810 TWikiGuest 2014-04-17 - 22:09 1
2016806 TWikiGuest 2014-04-17 - 22:09 1
2015576 TWikiGuest 2014-04-17 - 22:09 1
2018396 TWikiGuest 2014-04-16 - 22:55 1
2018395 TWikiGuest 2014-04-16 - 22:55 1
2018394 TWikiGuest 2014-04-16 - 22:55 1
2018393 TWikiGuest 2014-04-16 - 22:55 1
2018374 TWikiGuest 2014-04-16 - 22:55 1
2018362 TWikiGuest 2014-04-16 - 22:55 1
2017714 TWikiGuest 2014-04-16 - 22:55 1
2017598 TWikiGuest 2014-04-16 - 22:55 1
2008282 TWikiGuest 2014-04-16 - 22:55 1
2003548 TWikiGuest 2014-04-16 - 22:55 1
2018392 TWikiGuest 2014-04-15 - 23:16 1
2018390 TWikiGuest 2014-04-15 - 23:16 1
2017412 TWikiGuest 2014-04-15 - 23:16 1
2015709 TWikiGuest 2014-04-15 - 23:16 1
2014629 TWikiGuest 2014-04-15 - 23:16 1
2018373 RussellFulton 2014-04-15 - 22:52 2
2018389 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2018388 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2018387 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2018385 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2018384 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2018345 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2018323 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2018283 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2018251 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2018162 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2018130 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2018129 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2018068 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2018067 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2018066 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2018065 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2018064 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2018063 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2018062 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2018061 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2018060 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2018059 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2018020 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2017936 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2017935 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2017880 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2017788 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2017561 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2017031 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2014759 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2014758 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2014302 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2014103 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2013423 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2013199 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2013195 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2012865 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2011503 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2010501 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2010500 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2010162 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2003346 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2003335 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
RichardRobins TWikiRegistrationAgent 2014-04-14 - 17:18 1
2008438 DarienH 2014-04-14 - 14:37 5

The condition can be anything you like. To restrict search based on a date range it is easier to use the date="" parameter as shown in the next example.

Restrict search based on a date range

A search can be restricted based on a date range. The following example is identical to the previous one, showing all topics in the Main web that have been updated in the last 7 days.

Write this:

%SEARCH{ "." scope="topic" type="regex" web="Main" nonoise="on" order="modified" reverse="on" format="| [[$web.$topic][$topic]] | $wikiusername | $date | $rev |" limit="100" date="P1w/$today" }%

To get this:

2018372 RobertCampbell 2014-04-18 - 01:23 2
RobertCampbell TWikiRegistrationAgent 2014-04-18 - 01:17 1
2018400 TWikiGuest 2014-04-17 - 22:09 1
2018397 TWikiGuest 2014-04-17 - 22:09 1
2018386 TWikiGuest 2014-04-17 - 22:09 1
2016810 TWikiGuest 2014-04-17 - 22:09 1
2016806 TWikiGuest 2014-04-17 - 22:09 1
2015576 TWikiGuest 2014-04-17 - 22:09 1
2018396 TWikiGuest 2014-04-16 - 22:55 1
2018395 TWikiGuest 2014-04-16 - 22:55 1
2018394 TWikiGuest 2014-04-16 - 22:55 1
2018393 TWikiGuest 2014-04-16 - 22:55 1
2018374 TWikiGuest 2014-04-16 - 22:55 1
2018362 TWikiGuest 2014-04-16 - 22:55 1
2017714 TWikiGuest 2014-04-16 - 22:55 1
2017598 TWikiGuest 2014-04-16 - 22:55 1
2008282 TWikiGuest 2014-04-16 - 22:55 1
2003548 TWikiGuest 2014-04-16 - 22:55 1
2018392 TWikiGuest 2014-04-15 - 23:16 1
2018390 TWikiGuest 2014-04-15 - 23:16 1
2017412 TWikiGuest 2014-04-15 - 23:16 1
2015709 TWikiGuest 2014-04-15 - 23:16 1
2014629 TWikiGuest 2014-04-15 - 23:16 1
2018373 RussellFulton 2014-04-15 - 22:52 2
2018389 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2018388 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2018387 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2018385 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2018384 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2018345 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2018323 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2018283 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2018251 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2018162 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2018130 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2018129 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2018068 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2018067 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2018066 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2018065 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2018064 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2018063 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2018062 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2018061 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2018060 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2018059 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2018020 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2017936 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2017935 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2017880 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2017788 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2017561 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2017031 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2014759 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2014758 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2014302 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2014103 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2013423 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2013199 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2013195 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2012865 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2011503 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2010501 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2010500 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2010162 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2003346 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
2003335 TWikiGuest 2014-04-14 - 23:22 1
RichardRobins TWikiRegistrationAgent 2014-04-14 - 17:18 1
2008438 DarienH 2014-04-14 - 14:37 5
2009971 TheRobert 2014-04-11 - 08:44 4
2011582 GuH 2013-02-25 - 16:06 6
2014297 GuH 2013-02-04 - 12:23 3
2011800 MattJonkman 2011-07-06 - 15:01 3
2003626 JaredB 2009-12-09 - 20:01 3

Embedding search forms to return a formatted result

Use an HTML form and an embedded formatted search on the same topic. You can link them together with an %URLPARAM{"..."}% variable. Example:

Write this:

<form action="%SCRIPTURLPATH{"view"}%/%WEB%/%TOPIC%">
Find Topics: 
<input type="text" name="q" size="32" value="%URLPARAM{"q" encode="entity"}%" />&nbsp;<input type="submit" class="twikiSubmit" value="Search" />
</form>
Result:
%SEARCH{ search="%URLPARAM{"q" encode="quote"}%" type="keyword" format="   * $web.$topic: %BR% $summary" nosearch="on" }%

To get this:

Find Topics:  
Result:

Related Topics: UserDocumentationCategory, SearchHelp, VarSEARCH, SearchPatternCookbook, RegularExpression, QuerySearch

-- Contributors: TWiki:Main.PeterThoeny, TWiki:Main.CrawfordCurrie, TWiki:Main.SopanShewale

Topic revision: r24 - 2012-04-18 - TWikiContributor
 
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