Interview for Verity for Fast Text Searching
"Verity Fast Text Searching" interview with Raymond Camden
Michael Smith: This time we are talking with Raymond Camden about his CFUNITED-
05 talk "Verity Fast Text Searching". So why should a developer come to your
Raymond Camden: CF has had Verity support for some time, but not many developers
actually use it. ColdFusion MX7 has some -very- exciting updates in this area
that I think developers will be interested in.
MS: So what exactly is Verity and why should a developer care?
RC:Verity is a searching and indexing service. Basically what that means is -
you can point it at your data (whether it be files or database information) and
Verity will create an index of the information. You can then use a _very_
powerful searching language against that data. Verity is a product by itself -
it isn't something that Macromedia created. They just ship it with ColdFusion.
MS: So it it hard to use from CF?
RC: Not at all. I do think it takes a bit of time to wrap your head around it.
Some of the more advanced features require planning for sure, but in general, I
don't think it is too difficult to use.
MS: What CF tags do you need to use for basic Verity searching?
RC: Well, for searching there is just CFSEARCH. Plain and simple. For working
with Verity in general, there are also a few tags that handle the creation and
maintenance of collections (your data basically). One of the things I plan on
showing in my presentation is the use of these tags in a CFC.
MS: Wow just one tag to implement a google style search! How do you deal with
the search results from CFSEARCH ? Are there extra tags you have to learn there?
RC: Again - it is one tag to search, but a bit more to actually work with the
data when indexing. The search results from CFSEARCH are a normal query, so you
can do whatever you would like with them, including simple output, query of
MS: That is powerful! So what is new with Verity in CFMX 7?
RC: Category support - suggestions - search within searches - context
highlighting. These are the big ones and the ones I'll be focusing on.
MS: That sounds like it will save a lot of custom coding that earlier versions
of verity required. Do all these features slow down searching compared to Verity
in CFMX 6?
RC: These features do have a performance impact, but nothing drastic. I think
they would be perfectly safe for 99.99% of the sites out there, if not more.
Even if they did slow down the search a bit - you want your users to have the
best results possible. I'd rather provide better results, at a slower pace, then
results that are meaningless to the user. And just so I'm clear, when I say
slower, I'm talking about something you probably won't even be able to notice
(again, 99.99% of the time).
MS: Amazing, I can't wait to see you at CFUNITED!