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First off, thanks to core devs and everyone in the community, I sure learned a lot from everyone!
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Try to add a comment or discussion with tags and then see if you can find it by searching for it. Indexes are rotated every 5 minutes. Site will probably be slow since running off of old laptop with low bandwidth.
This big plugin enables your forum to run its own dedicated search engine. Once installed, you should hopefully see a massive increase in search relevancy and enjoyment in finding things.
There is a ton of documentation stuff that goes along with this, so I encourage anyone who seems interested in getting this to work to read EVERYTHING in the readme on the github repo. It will also go over the 9 widgets.
This does come with an install wizard, so you don't need to do anything other than click your way through it. Just be forewarned that some hosts will not allow you to run a dedicated engine on your server! The wizard will configure everything for you, including your config file and cron files. Most of the settings that sphinx supports can be changed via the admin settings page. The control panel allows you to manually index your database as well as start/stop sphinx and look at other things such as document count.
My main goal was to make your visitors STAY on your site and to have them find things easily. This plugin will show related threads on every discussion topic, whether it be in the side panel or below the discussion. Also, when asking a new question, your members will be presented with already existing titles much like stackoverflow does it:
All of the links will have a tool tip associated with it that will show the first 200 words of the original title to save everyone time from clicking on it only to find that it is not relevant. The main search also highlights hit words.
One of the neat things about sphinx is the extended query syntax. You can now do things like:
@title Vanilla Forums @user 422 @body "Photoshop | Australia"
I don't doubt that people will have a tuff time installing this, so feel free to post your frustration here. I got mine to install on this old piece of crap. Took me about 1.5 hrs to compile and install. If the demo site is slow, just imagine this dusty thing with its 100MB of RAM.
Another confusing topic will be all of the settings that sphinx provides. Your default config will cover what most people probably want, but some of the cool features allow you to do the following:
I encourage people to add other widgets to this. There are some things that I had in mind to complete, but lost track of time. One of them is a "Did you mean" feature. Locale is only English ATM and has 20 or so definitions with it.