simple search api (was Re: mimetype standardisation by testsets)

Fabrice Colin fabrice.colin at
Thu Nov 23 18:05:53 EET 2006

Hello all,

On 11/23/06, Mikkel Kamstrup Erlandsen <mikkel.kamstrup at> wrote:
> 2006/11/22, Magnus Bergman <magnus.bergman at>:
> > If several search engines are available, the search manager lets the
> > client know of each search engine according to your proposal (right?).
> > I think it would be a better idea to present a list of indexes (of which
> > each search engine might provide several) to search in, but by default
> > search in all of them (if appropriate). I
> Well, the search engines are not obliged to use a particular index format.
> The indexes them selves can be of any format.
What Magnus suggests may be useful for document 'sources' or 'groups' (for
lack of a better name), eg "Documents", "Applications", "Contacts",
"Conversations" etc... -as offered by some existing personal search systems-
which may or may not map to individual indexes (that mapping being irrelevant).

> > In addition to this session object I have found it suitable to also
> > have a search object (created from a query) because applications might
> > construct very complicated queries. This object can then is passed
> > to countHits, and used for getting the hits. And also for getting
> > attributes of the hit (matching document, score, language and such).
> > (Note that a hit is not equivalent to a document.)
> The problem with creating query objects like this, is that we are creating a
> dbus api. Essentially you only have simple data types at your hand. No
> objects - especially objects with methods on them :-) It would be possible
> to create a helper lib in <insert favorite language + toolkit> to construct
> queries conforming to the wasabi spec, but this would require separate libs
> for gobject and qt. While this is by no means ruled out, I think we better
> focus on the "bare" dbus api for now.
Well, AFAIK, dbus allows complex structures like arrays or dictionaries.

> The situation at hand is that we have a  handful of desktop search engines,
> all implemented as daemons, both handling searches and indexing. Having an
> extra daemon on top of that handling the query one extra time before passing
> it to the search subsystem seems overkill... Ideally I see the daemon/lib
> (or even executable) to only be used as a means of obtaining a dbus object
> path given a dbus interface name ("").
Agreed. The daemon's role would probably also include filtering out search
services based on user preferences, wouldn't it ?

> > One thing that English users seldom consider is the usages of several
> > languages. Which language is being used is important to know in order
> > to decide what stemming rules to use, and which stop-words use (in
> > English "the" is a stop-word while it in Swedish means tea and is
> > something that is adequate to search for). People using other languages
> > are very often multi lingual (using English as well). Therefore it is
> > interesting to know which language the query is in (search engines
> > might also be able to translate queries to search in document written
> > in different languages).
> >
> This is a good point. However I suggest leaving this up to the actual
> implementations. After all it is an indexing time question what stemmer to
> use when indexing a document...
The language is also useful at query time for the query to be parsed & tokenized
in a way that's consistent with how documents text was at indexing time.
For instance, if the query is in English -as Magnus points out- you may want to
remove English stopwords, run an English stemmer on terms, or even limit the
search to documents that were detected as being in English at indexing time.


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