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Rapid Search Helper

If you've been using RapidWeaver for a while, you've probably heard of, or even use RapidSearch and/or RapidSearch Pro. Both are stacks that will allow visitors to search your site for information. RapidSearch uses a simple to implement Google Search on your page, whilst RapidSearch Pro will index your site and build its own database – resulting in super fast, advertisement free search results.

RapidSearch Helper is a free stack that will allow you to style highly customisable search boxes in combination with either of the above stacks. It is also compatible with SimpleSearch from Stacks4Stacks.

RapidSearch (above) and RapidSearchPro without RapidSearch Helper

The search boxes in both cases are very similar, with Rapidsearch displaying a standard Google search box. RapidSearch Helper changes that – you can now have your search box appear just as you would like it.

Search boxes are generally not exciting things – and the standard 'Google Custom Search' text is irritating. RapidSearch Helper offers a choice of nine different themes – each fully editable – and a search text that you can set yourself. In addition to being fully editable, it is also fully responsive.
You may have noticed that if you drop the Google Search iFrame into a multi column stack, the search button goes AWOL. This is not the case with RapidSearch Helper.

So let's take a look at the stack settings.
First you should let the stack know if you wish to integrate with RapidSearch or RS Pro. There's a dropdown menu for this setting.
Next, you'll need to set the URL for the page that hosts your search stack – with RapidSearch and RapidSearch Pro this is not necessarily the central page that you place your search box on – you can have a search box, or a search button on every page if you wish. In the menu bar, even.
It is also possible to set an (optional) anchor to force the search page to scroll to a set position.

Checking the Autocomplete box will allow RapidSearch Helper to automatically suggest search terms after a few characters have been typed into the search field.
In Placeholder Text you can enter text that you wish your visitor to see in the search box. The default is Enter Keywords. If you'd like to alter, or localise this text, you may do so.
The Button Icon awaits a Font Awesome Icon and the Button Text may also be edited (Default – Search).

Now it's time to style your search box. As already stated, you have a choice of nine different themes. For each of the themes, you can set the Padding, the Button Radius and the text size. The Input Border and the search Box have colour settings for Normal and In Focus states, while the Button Text and the Button itself have colour settings for Normal, Hover and Active. The Input Text also has its own colour settings.

RapidSearch with RapidSearch Helper

The final setting is Reveal and determines how your search results should be displayed. The options are Horizontal Bar, Modal Window, PopUp, or None (default). Choosing one of these settings opens up further options for the reveal box formatting. These include positioning, size and, if applicable, the colour of the elements and the Button ID that triggers a modal window.

A couple of months ago, I examined a number of search box options from different third parties. Every solution looked almost identical. With RapidSearch Helper in combination with RapidSearch, RapidSearch Pro, or SimpeSearch this no longer has to be so.

Note: RapidSearch Helper is a free stack for formatting RapidSearch, RapidSearch Pro, or SimpleSearch. You will need to purchase one of these stacks to be able to use it.
Instructions for adding a search button to your menu bar are included on the product page.


Internal Search Engine

If you want your guests to be able to search your site, there are a couple of options available. You can set up a Google Custom Search or a DuckDuckGo search box for your page. Both can be set up to search more than one website, but neither looks especially good without hacking the CSS and DuckDuckGo is only fully reliable when searching a single website.
If you don't mind advertisements above your search results, Freefind and SiteLevel Basic are both very good, both are customisable with Freesearch being highly configurable.
The problem with all of the above solutions is that you have no control over the regularity with which your site is trawled for fresh data, although with Freesearch, you can log in to your control panel and refresh the index manually.
There are a couple of RapidWeaver stacks which will place a searchbox on your web page – one of those is Live Search from 1LD. Live Search just underwent a massive overhaul and now delivers reliable and highly professional looking results that match your site's theme perfectly.
Live Search
First and foremost, Live Search will carry out a private search of your website, without involving external search engines. Hence, your search is not tracked and no advertisements will be displayed.
If you drop a Live Search stack into your RW project, you can publish the page[s] and forget it. No setup is necessary whatsoever; there is no PHP support needed and no database to set up. Once you've published your page, you can search your site immediately. It's that simple.
It will take a couple of seconds for the initial load, but that is to be expected.
The simplicity doesn't, however, mean that Live Search is not customisable. It is, in fact, as highly customisable as Freesearch, if not more so.
live search
Just take a look at Live Search's list of features:
Search Bar Options
Show Suggested Search Terms; Allow Autocomplete
If you click the third option, Customise Appearance, you can then set the Border Radius; the Input Font; the Input Font Size and the colours of the Background; Border; Input Text and the Placeholder. And you can disable the Search Icon.
Search Result Options
Results per Page; Word Count; Open Links in New Window and Show File Path.
If you click Customise Appearance, you have the option of four different Themes — These allow you to choose between two display styles for the search results that either load as a pop up or load directly into a container that you declare. The Embedded options allow you to place the search bar in a sidebar or elsewhere, but have the results display in a container of your choice within the main content. There are also Four different colours for the Focus Overlay in addition to the Title Font and Font Size; the Text Font and Size and the Text Line Height. Then you will find options to set the colour for the Background; Text; Page Titles; Page Tiltles Hover and Term Highlight.
Advanced Options
I'm not going to list all the options here; suffice it to say that you can alter all text and error messages to the language of your choice. Then there is an option to Search Additional Pages for pages not included in the menu bar. Additionally you can click Search These Pages Only.
There is the option Hide Description Terms, which will allow you to add a list of words that will not be searched for.
Finally there is an option to Declare Search Container, which will allow you to enter the ID of a specific container to search instead of a search of whole pages. Only one container may be added here, so make sure that you have set all of the containers that you want Live Searchh to look at to the same ID.
If you don't want a specific page to be searched, you can add <!--NOSEARCH--> to the page prefix and the page will be excluded from the search results. Similarly, if you have text areas that should be exluded, you can add the code before and after that text. Snippets are provided with the stack.
While Live Search will not function in Preview mode – it must be published before it can index your pages – the changes that you make in the stack settings panel are displayed on RW's Edit page, so that you know exactly what your results will look like before you publish.
I have recently tested a number of different search engines and have come to the conclusion that for a private search of a single website i.e. a search that is not tracked by a corporation and is plastered with 'relevent' ads, Live Search is the ideal solution that has the added plus that it is easily and fully customisable.


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