Adobe ColdFusion 8

Creating a search page

You use the cfsearch tag to search an indexed collection. Searching a Verity collection is similar to a standard ColdFusion query: both use a dedicated ColdFusion tag that requires a name attribute for their searches and both return a query object that contains rows matching the search criteria. The following table compares the two tags:



Searches a data source

Searches a collection

Requires a name attribute

Requires a name attribute

Uses SQL statements to specify search criteria

Uses a criteria attribute to specify search criteria

Returns variables keyed to database table field names

Returns a unique set of variables

Uses cfoutput to display query results

Uses cfoutput to display search results

Note: You receive an error if you attempt to search a collection that has not been indexed.

The following are important attributes for the cfsearch tag:




The name of the search query.


The name of the collection(s) being searched. Separate multiple collections with a comma; for example, collection = "sprocket_docs,CodeColl".


The search target (can be dynamic).


The maximum number of records returned by the search. Always specify this attribute to ensure optimal performance (start with 300 or less, if possible).

Each cfsearch returns variables that provide the following information about the search:




The total number of records returned by the search.


The current row of the record set.


The total number of records in the index that were searched. If no records were returned in the search, this property returns a null value.


Automatic summary saved by the cfindex tag.


A context summary that contains the search terms, highlighted in bold (by default). This is enabled if you set the contextpassages attribute to a number greater than zero.

Additionally, if you specify the status attribute, the cfsearch tag returns the status structure, which contains the information in the following table:




The number of documents that contain the search criteria.


The number of documents searched. Corresponds to the recordsSearched column in the search results.


The number of milliseconds the search took, as reported by the Verity K2 search service.


An alternative query, as suggested by Verity, that may produce better results. This often contains corrected spellings of search terms. Present only when the suggestions tag attribute criteria is met.


A structure that contains each search term as a key to an array of up to five possible alternative terms in order of preference. Present only when the suggestions tag attribute criteria is met.

You can use search form and results pages similar to the following examples to search a collection.

Create a search form

  1. Create a ColdFusion page with the following content:
        <title>Searching a collection</title>
    <h2>Searching a collection</h2>
    <form method="post" action="collection_search_action.cfm">
        <p>Enter search term(s) in the box below. You can use AND, OR, NOT, and
        parentheses. Surround an exact phrase with quotation marks.</p>
        <p><input type="text" name="criteria" size="50" maxLength="50">
        <input type="submit" value="Search"> 

  2. Save the file as collection_search_form.cfm.

Enter search target words in this form, which ColdFusion passes as the variable criteria to the action page, which displays the search results.

Create the results page

  1. Create a ColdFusion page with the following content:
        <title>Search Results</title>
        name = "codecoll_results"
        collection = "CodeColl"
        criteria = "#Form.criteria#"
        contextPassages = "1"
        contextBytes = "300"
        maxrows = "100">
    <h2>Search Results</h2>
    Your search returned #codecoll_results.RecordCount# file(s).
    <cfoutput query="codecoll_results">
        File: <a href="#URL#">#Key#</a><br>
        Document Title (if any): #Title#<br>
        Score: #Score#<br>
        Summary: #Summary#<br>
        Highlighted Summary: #context#</p>

  2. Save the file as collection_search_action.cfm.
  3. View collection_search_form.cfm in the web browser.
  4. Enter a target word(s) and click Search.