Formatted Search

Customize the display of search results.

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 macros, such as %SEARCH{ "food" format="| $topic | $summary |" }%. See %SEARCH{...}% for other search parameters, such as separator="".

Syntax

Three parameters can be used to specify a customized 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:* |"

Format tokens that can be used in the header string:

Name: Expands To:
$web Name of the web
$ntopics Number of topics found in current web. Will be 0 (zero).
$nhits Number of hits if multiple="on". Will be 0 (zero).
$pager pager control - can be optionally customised using the pagerformat below
$n or $n() New line. Use $n() if followed by alphanumeric character, e.g. write Foo$n()Bar instead of Foo$nBar
TIP Most macros accept parameter strings which are split over multiple lines. This is usually more readable than using $n tokens. If you are familiar with sectional includes, you might also consider nested sectional includes to hold the newline content outside of the parameter string entirely.
TIP Note that newline is not a line break. The browser will wrap the lines together. If you require a line break, displaying the results on two lines, use %BR%. Or use two consecutive newlines to create a TML "Paragraph".
$nop or $nop() Is a "no operation". This token gets removed; useful for nested search
$quot Double quote (") (\" also works)
$percent Percent sign (%) ($percnt also works)
$dollar Dollar sign ($)
$lt Less than sign (<)
$gt Greater than sign (>)
$amp Ampersand (&)
$comma Comma (,)

ALERT! Note that if the separator parameter for SEARCH is not defined a newline is added after the header.

2. 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="| *Total:* | *$nhits* |"

Format tokens 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"
$pager pager control - can be optionally customised using the pagerformat below
$n or $n() New line. Use $n() if followed by alphanumeric character, e.g. write Foo$n()Bar instead of Foo$nBar
TIP Most macros accept parameter strings which are split over multiple lines. This is usually more readable than using $n tokens. If you are familiar with sectional includes, you might also consider nested sectional includes to hold the newline content outside of the parameter string entirely.
TIP Note that newline is not a line break. The browser will wrap the lines together. If you require a line break, displaying the results on two lines, use %BR%. Or use two consecutive newlines to create a TML "Paragraph".
$nop or $nop() Is a "no operation". This token gets removed; useful for nested search
$quot Double quote (") (\" also works)
$percent Percent sign (%) ($percnt also works)
$dollar Dollar sign ($)
$lt Less than sign (<)
$gt Greater than sign (>)
$amp Ampersand (&)
$comma Comma (,)

ALERT! Note that if the separator parameter for SEARCH is not defined a newline is added after the last search result.

3. pagerformat="..." parameter

Use the pagerformat parameter to customise the appearance of the paging control. It should correspond to the format of the format parameter. This parameter is optional. Example:
pagerformat="Page $currentpage of $numberofpages [[$nexturl][next page]]"

Format tokens that can be used in the pagerformat string:

Name: Expands To:
$previouspage The page number before the currently displayed one
$currentpage The currently displayed page number
$nextpage The page number after the currently displayed one
$numberofpages Total number of pages there are results for
$pagesize The number of results per page
$previousurl full URL to the previous page - IF using the built in pager system
$nexturl full URL to the previous page - IF using the built in pager system
$previousbutton skin template (SEARCH:pager_previous) html for the full URL to the previous page - IF using the built in pager system
$nextbutton skin template (SEARCH:pager_next) html for the full URL to the previous page - IF using the built in pager system
$n or $n() New line. Use $n() if followed by alphanumeric character, e.g. write Foo$n()Bar instead of Foo$nBar
TIP Most macros accept parameter strings which are split over multiple lines. This is usually more readable than using $n tokens. If you are familiar with sectional includes, you might also consider nested sectional includes to hold the newline content outside of the parameter string entirely.
TIP Note that newline is not a line break. The browser will wrap the lines together. If you require a line break, displaying the results on two lines, use %BR%. Or use two consecutive newlines to create a TML "Paragraph".
$nop or $nop() Is a "no operation". This token gets removed; useful for nested search
$quot Double quote (") (\" also works)
$percent Percent sign (%) ($percnt also works)
$dollar Dollar sign ($)
$lt Less than sign (<)
$gt Greater than sign (>)
$amp Ampersand (&)
$comma Comma (,)

4. format="..." parameter

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

Format tokens that can be used in the format string:

Name: Expands To:
$web Name of the web
$topic Topic name
$topic(20) Topic name, "- " hyphenated every 20 characters
$topic(30, -<br />) Topic name, hyphenated every 30 characters with separator "-<br />"
$topic(40, ...) Topic name, shortened to 40 characters with trailing ellipsis.
$parent Name of parent topic; empty if not set
$parent(20) Name of parent topic, same hyphenation/shortening as $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. 25 Oct 2014 - 02:43
$isodate Time stamp of last topic update, e.g. 2014-10-25T02:43Z
$index number of total results - can be used as a running counter in the format, or in the footer. This $index is not affected by web based partitioning of results.
$item the full name of a result item - in a SEARCH context, equivalent to $web.$topic
$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 formatting and line breaks removed; up to 162 characters
$summary(50) Topic summary, up to 50 characters shown
$summary(showvarnames) Topic summary, with %SOMEMACRO{...}% macros shown as SOMEMACRO{...}
$summary(noheader) Topic summary, with leading ---+ headers removed
Note: The tokens can be combined, for example $summary(100, showvarnames, noheader)
$summary(searchcontext) Creates a topic summary with the search terms highlighted
$summary(searchcontext, 50) Creates a topic summary with the search terms highlighted, up to 50 characters
$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, if FAQWhatIsWikiWiki was a search hit, $formfield(TopicClassification) would get expanded to ==. This applies only to topics that have a DataForm. For multi-line textfields new lines are replace by an HTML <br />
$formfield(name, 10) Form field value, "- " hyphenated every 10 characters
$formfield(name, 20, -<br />) Form field value, hyphenated every 20 characters with separator "-<br />"
$formfield(name,30,...) Form field value, shortened to 30 characters with trailing ellipsis.
$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"
$pager pager control - can be optionally customised using the pagerformat below
$n or $n() New line. Use $n() if followed by alphanumeric character, e.g. write Foo$n()Bar instead of Foo$nBar
TIP Most macros accept parameter strings which are split over multiple lines. This is usually more readable than using $n tokens. If you are familiar with sectional includes, you might also consider nested sectional includes to hold the newline content outside of the parameter string entirely.
TIP Note that newline is not a line break. The browser will wrap the lines together. If you require a line break, displaying the results on two lines, use %BR%. Or use two consecutive newlines to create a TML "Paragraph".
$nop or $nop() Is a "no operation". This token gets removed; useful for nested search
$quot Double quote (") (\" also works)
$percent Percent sign (%) ($percnt also works)
$dollar Dollar sign ($)
$lt Less than sign (<)
$gt Greater than sign (>)
$amp Ampersand (&)
$comma Comma (,)

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.

Search showing topic name and summary

Write this:

%SEARCH{
   "VarREMOTE"
   scope="topic"
   nonoise="on"
   header="| *Topic*        | *Summary*  |"
   format="| [[$topic]]     | $summary   |"
   footer="| *Topics found* | *$ntopics* |"
}%

To get this:

Topic Summary
Topics found 3
VarREMOTEADDR #VarREMOTEADDR REMOTE_ADDR environment variable * Syntax: %REMOTE_ADDR% * Expands to: == * Related: ENV, HTTP_HOST, REMOTE_PORT, REMOTE_USER
VarREMOTEPORT #VarREMOTEPORT REMOTE_PORT environment variable * Syntax: %REMOTE_PORT% * Expands to: * Related: ENV, HTTP_HOST, REMOTE_ADDR, REMOTE_USER
VarREMOTEUSER #VarREMOTEUSER REMOTE_USER environment variable * Syntax: %REMOTE_USER% * Expands to: * Related: ENV, HTTP_HOST, REMOTE_ADDR, REMOTE_PORT, USERNAME, WIKINAME ...

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{
   "TopicClassification~'FrequentlyAskedQuestion'"
   type="query"
   nonoise="on"
   format="| [[$topic]] | $formfield(OperatingSystem) | $formfield(OsVersion) |"
}%

To get this (simulated):

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

Extract some text from a topic using regular expression

The following example makes use of the $pattern() token to extract the first level-1 heading for each topic:

%SEARCH{
    "^---[+][^+][^\r\n]+[\r\n]"
    type="regex"
    nonoise="on"
    header="Headings:"
    limit="5"
    format="   * [[$topic][$pattern([\r\n\-+!]+([^\r\n]*?)[\r\n].*)]]"
    footer="Found $ntopics topics with level-1 headings"
}%

Test case

Headings: Found 5 topics with level-1 headings

Nested Search

SEARCH is one of many macros that produce output which may be controlled with format, header and footer parameters, among others. To make use of additional macros in the output, familiarity with inside-out, left-to-right order of expansion rules is required. There are two forms:
  1. Standard: Use %INNERMACRO% to build the parameter string before %OUTERMACRO% is expanded
     %OUTERMACRO{
       format="%INNERMACRO%"
     }%
  2. Delayed: Use the parameter string to incorporate %INNERMACRO% into the output of %OUTERMACRO%
     %OUTERMACRO{
       format="$percentINNERMACRO$percent"
     }%
    TIP When working with a given macro, consult its documentation to determine which parameters support the $percent/$percnt format tokens. Generally only output parameters like header, format and footer support format tokens.

Standard form

The key to understanding nested expressions in Foswiki is to understand that macros are expanded "inside-out, left-to-right". Example:

%MACRO1{
   something="%MACRO2{
      somethingelse="%MACRO3%, %MACRO4%"
   }%"
}%
The macros are expanded in this order: MACRO3, MACRO4, MACRO2, MACRO1.

Animated Example
%INCLUDE{
    "%QUERY{
        "'%THETOPIC%'/%THEFIELD%"
    }%"
    section="Summary"
}%
   * Set THETOPIC = %SYSTEMWEB%.FAQWhatIsWikiWiki
   * Set THEFIELD = TopicClassification
%INCLUDE{
    "%QUERY{
        "'%SYSTEMWEB%.FAQWhatIsWikiWiki'/%THEFIELD%"
    }%"
    section="Summary"
}%
   * Set THETOPIC = %SYSTEMWEB%.FAQWhatIsWikiWiki
   * Set THEFIELD = TopicClassification
%INCLUDE{
    "%QUERY{
        "'%SYSTEMWEB%.FAQWhatIsWikiWiki'/TopicClassification"
    }%"
    section="Summary"
}%
   * Set THETOPIC = %SYSTEMWEB%.FAQWhatIsWikiWiki
   * Set THEFIELD = TopicClassification
%INCLUDE{
    "%QUERY{
        "'System.FAQWhatIsWikiWiki'/TopicClassification"
    }%"
    section="Summary"
}%
   * Set THETOPIC = %SYSTEMWEB%.FAQWhatIsWikiWiki
   * Set THEFIELD = TopicClassification
%INCLUDE{
    "FrequentlyAskedQuestion"
    section="Summary"
}%
   * Set THETOPIC = %SYSTEMWEB%.FAQWhatIsWikiWiki
   * Set THEFIELD = TopicClassification

These topics are for frequently
asked questions including answers.

   * Set THETOPIC = %SYSTEMWEB%.FAQWhatIsWikiWiki
   * Set THEFIELD = TopicClassification

These topics are for frequently
asked questions including answers.

   * Set THETOPIC = System.FAQWhatIsWikiWiki
   * Set THEFIELD = TopicClassification

Delayed form

Standard form macros can nearly always be used to build the parameter string of another macro; however, sometimes it is desirable to bypass the inside-out expansion order and delay the inner macro until after the outer macro has finished expansion. This is accomplished by using the $percent format token instead of %, and escaping any " character it uses (becomes \")

TIP When working with a given macro, consult its documentation to determine which parameters support the $percent/$percnt format tokens. Generally only output parameters like header, format and footer support format tokens.
Example:
%MACRO1{
   format="$percentMACRO2{
      format=\"%MACRO3%, %MACRO4%\"
   }$percent"
}%
The macros are expanded in this order: MACRO3, MACRO4, MACRO1, MACRO2.
Animated Example
From the conditional output example:

%SEARCH{
  "info.date >= d2n('2009-01-01') AND info.date <= d2n('2009-12-31')"
  type="query"
  limit="2"
  nonoise="on"
  format="   * $percentICON{
    \"$percentIF{
      \"'$topic'/parent.name='%PARENT%'\"
      then=\"info\" else=\"gear\"
    }$percent\"
  }$percent [[$topic]]"
}%
----
   * Set PARENT = UserDocumentationCategory
%SEARCH{
  "info.date >= d2n('2009-01-01') AND info.date <= d2n('2009-12-31')"
  type="query"
  limit="2"
  nonoise="on"
  format="   * $percentICON{
    \"$percentIF{
      \"'$topic'/parent.name='UserDocumentationCategory'\"
      then=\"info\" else=\"gear\"
    }$percent\"
  }$percent [[$topic]]"
}%
----
   * Set PARENT = UserDocumentationCategory
   * %ICON{
    "%IF{
      "'AccessKeys'/parent.name='UserDocumentationCategory'"
      then="info" else="gear"
    }%"
  }% [[AccessKeys]]
   * %ICON{
    "%IF{
      "'AdminSkillsAssumptions'/parent.name='UserDocumentationCategory'"
      then="info" else="gear"
    }%"
  }% [[AdminSkillsAssumptions]]
----
   * Set PARENT = UserDocumentationCategory
   * %ICON{
    "info"
  }% [[AccessKeys]]
   * %ICON{
    "gear"
  }% [[AdminSkillsAssumptions]]
----
   * Set PARENT = UserDocumentationCategory
   * <img src="http://www.rudder-project.org/foswiki/pub/System/DocumentGraphics/info.png"/> [[AccessKeys]]
   * <img src="http://www.rudder-project.org/foswiki/pub/System/DocumentGraphics/gear.png"/> [[AdminSkillsAssumptions]]
----
   * Set PARENT = UserDocumentationCategory

Worked example

Problem: search for some topics in an initial (outer) search, and for each of them apply a second (inner) search. The idea is to use the outer search to build a series of inner seraches.

Consider the following example. Let's search for all topics that contain the word "culture" (outer search), and find out where each topic found is linked from (inner search).

Initial (outer) search:
%SEARCH{
   "culture"
   nonoise="on"
   format="   * $topic is referenced by: (list all references)"
}%

Second (inner) search:

For each hit, we want this search:
%SEARCH{
   "(topic found in outer search)"
   nonoise="on"
   format="$topic"
   separator=", "
}%

Now let's nest the two.
Method 1 (nesting with escapes)
The inner search cannot be placed directly into the format string of the outer, because of the "inside-out, left-to-right" macro expansion behaviour discussed earlier. It must be delayed so that the outer search is evaluated first. To do this, we need to escape the inner search, i.e. let the outer search build a series of searches comprised of the inner search.
  • Use $percent to escape (delay) the inner search's SEARCH macro
  • Use \" to escape the double quotes
  • Use $dollar to escape the $ of $topic

Write this:
%SEARCH{
   "culture"
   nonoise="on"
   limit="5"
   format="\
   * $topic is referenced by:
      * $percentSEARCH{
         \"$topic\"
         nonoise=\"on\"
         format=\"$dollartopic\"
         separator=\", \"
      }$percent"
}%

To get this:

ALERT! When nesting with escapes, each new nesting level must "escape the escapes", e.g. write $dollarpercentSEARCH{ for level three, $dollardollarpercentSEARCH{ for level four, etc.

Method 2 (nesting with sectional includes)
Nested expressions with delayed macros can be difficult to write: care must be taken to escape all the quotes of the inner delayed macro, and it may become confusing whether to use $topic, $dollartopic or $dollardollartopic.

If you find yourself using escaped tokens like $dollartopic, another approach is to use the STARTSECTION/ENDSECTION feature of INCLUDE. Instead of nesting the inner search expression directly inside the format string of the outer, the inner search is written as a separate stand-alone section of a topic which is INCLUDEd into the format string of the outer.

Write this:
%SEARCH{
   "culture"
   nonoise="on"
   limit="5"
   format="\
   * $topic is referenced by:
      * $percentINCLUDE{\"%TOPIC%\" section=\"mysearch\" thetopic=\"$topic\"}$percent"
}%

<!-- HTML comment to hide this section from the user and web browser's DOM.
     verbatim prevents the section being evaluated. Alternatively, sections
     like this can be placed into dedicated utility topics which may hold
     many such re-usable pieces of your wiki application
<verbatim>
%STARTSECTION{"mysearch"}%%SEARCH{
   "%thetopic%"
   nonoise="on"
   format="$topic"
   separator=", "
}%%ENDSECTION{"mysearch"}%
</verbatim>
-->

HELP Output will be the same as for the first method

ALERT! Nested search can be slow, especially if you nest more than 3 levels deep. Nesting is limited to 16 levels.

Most recently changed pages

Write this:
%SEARCH{
   "1"
   type="query"
   nonoise="on"
   order="modified"
   reverse="on"
   limit="7"
   format="| [[$topic]] | $wikiusername  | $date |"
}%

To get this:
WebStatistics AdminUser 2014/10/24 - 22:14
Documentation:ChangeLog30 MatthieuCERDA 2014/10/22 - 10:07
Documentation:ChangeLog26 MatthieuCERDA 2014/10/06 - 15:24
Documentation:ChangeLog210 MatthieuCERDA 2014/10/03 - 13:27
Documentation:ChangeLog211 MatthieuCERDA 2014/09/25 - 16:43
Documentation:ChangeLog29 VincentMembre 2014/08/18 - 08:55
Documentation:ChangeLog27 VincentMembre 2014/08/18 - 08:54

Search with conditional output

Sometimes it may be desirable for each hit to be displayed differently depending on some criteria. For example, maybe you want to list 20 topics modified in 2009, but decorate the hits which are children of UserDocumentationCategory with an info icon.
  1. Specify a search which returns the hits you need
  2. For each search hit, test the condition that will influence the output using a nested IF statement

Write this:
%SEARCH{
   "info.date >= d2n('2009-01-01') AND info.date <= d2n('2009-12-31')"
   type="query"
   limit="20"
   format="   * $percentICON{
      \"$percentIF{
         \"'$topic'/parent.name='UserDocumentationCategory'\"
         then=\"info\"
         else=\"gear\"
      }$percent\"
   }$percent [[$topic]]"
}%
info Details:
  • The SEARCH has a delayed ICON. The $percent ensures that ICON is evaluated once for each search hit
  • The ICON contains an IF, which again is delayed with the $percent token and will also be evaluated for each SEARCH hit. Additionally, the inside-out, left-to-right rule discussed earlier means that this IF expression will be evaluated before ICON.
  • If $topic is a child of UserDocumentationCategory, the info icon is used; otherwise, gear.
To get this:
Searched: info.date >= d2n('2009-01-01') AND info.date <= d2n('2009-12-31')
Number of topics: 20

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 macro. 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="foswikiSubmit" value="Search" />
</form>

Result:
%SEARCH{
   "%URLPARAM{"q" encode="quote"}%"
   type="keyword"
   nosearch="on"
   format="   * $web.$topic: %BR% $summary"
}%

To get this:
Find Topics:  

Result:
Number of topics: 0


Related Topics: UserDocumentationCategory, SearchHelp, Macros#VarSEARCH, SearchPatternCookbook, RegularExpression
Topic revision: r1 - 2011/02/27, ProjectContributor
 
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