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Creating the Front End of a Search Engine with AJAX


Welcome to the first part of a three-part series that will show you how to create a search engine that fetches content from a database. We will use PHP and AJAX to create this engine. This article will focus on creating the search engine's front end.

Author Info:
By: Alejandro Gervasio
Rating: 4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars / 20
November 15, 2006
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
  1. · Creating the Front End of a Search Engine with AJAX
  2. · Creating the search engine’s user interface
  3. · Creating the application’s look and feel
  4. · Programming the behavioral layer of the application
  5. · Putting the pieces together

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Creating the Front End of a Search Engine with AJAX
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Introduction

When it comes to developing AJAX-driven applications, certainly there’s a plethora of possibilities that can be considered as potential targets. This is especially true if the web project that is going to be deployed may gain some kind of benefit from using this type of technology.

In fact, there’s no point in using AJAX only because it’s cool, or because in the last few months it has became your favorite web development toy. Logically, there must be a strong reason for utilizing it, particularly considering that the most critical parts of your application shouldn’t depend on JavaScript to work properly.

However, with the huge proliferation of AJAX-based programs, there are specific situations where this technology can greatly improve the functionality of a given application, and at the same time provide users with a richer experience when they’re using it. Of course, if you’ve already tasted the neat capabilities that come bundled with AJAX, then quite possibly you’ll be excited about them and want to expand your own boundaries as a web developer.

Among the variety of web applications that can be created using JavaScript HTTP requester objects, there’s one that I’m sure you’ll find quite useful. In this case, I’m talking specifically about building a expansible search engine which can use HTTP requests triggered in the background to fetch content from a database, according to a specified search criteria.

Considering that the core module of the search engine that I mentioned before can be implemented with PHP, while all the client-side programming can be reduced to sending HTTP requests with AJAX, in this three-part series, I’m going to show you how to create such a system, which can be included in any web site with minor problems.

More specifically, the two first parts of this series will be focused on creating the search engine’s front end, in conjunction with the corresponding server-side module (using PHP). The third tutorial will be dedicated to improving the overall application by introducing full-text capabilities and Boolean searches.

Ready to learn how to build a search engine with AJAX? Okay, let’s get going!


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