AFSearch in Action

To assist you to obtain an all-round view of the AFSearch application and some of the ways in which it can be used, this section includes three case studies. Each of the following sections describes a different approach to using AFSearch, explaining the ways in which users of the application have gone about accessing some of the rich options and features that the application provides.

While the following examples show a little of what can be achieved, they are indicative only, and there are many other combinations of options, as detailed elsewhere in this online user manual. With a little investigation, you will soon be able to identify the mix of options which best suits your own needs.

Example 1 - Indexing Options

Janet works in a busy office environment, with many different projects, discussions and items of correspondence requiring attention each day. To keep track of all the information which is required, as well as to keep pace with her management responsibilities, Janet uses AFSearch on a daily basis, as a tool for working with the information stored on her PC disks.

To keep track of different kinds of information, Janet has found that two different approaches are invaluable. In some situations, Janet is searching for many kinds of information relating to a particular project. For example, she may wish to locate all the files which include references to the works schedule for a major office renovation she has been managing. Because Janet keeps all the different kinds of files relating to a particular project within a sub-directory for that project, she has established a separate index in AFSearch for each major project or activity.

On this occasion, Janet launched AFSearch, selected the Index she had called "Albert St Renovations", selected the File Type: option for "All: *.*" and searched with the keyword/phrase 'works schedule'. Janet was immediately able to print a summary list of 37 files ranging from budget and timetable spreadsheets in MS Excel, to minutes of the Project Steering Committee in MS Word, to public notices in html which contained references to the work schedule. Within seconds the serach results appeared, and in only a few minutes Janet had located and printed copies of the answers she required.


On other occasions, Janet finds it more convenient to locate information in a different way. For example, she recently needed to review her correspondence with a particular catering service provider who had been engaged to provide luncheons for activities on a number of unrelated projects. In this case, Janet wanted only files of type .doc, and did not wish to also view the many references to the catering service provider in the budget reconciliation spreadsheets. She conducted a search of her global index (a special index she has set up which includes all her project directories), with the File Type: option set to ".doc". The results produced eleven letters and four contract documents - exactly the information Janet needed.

To find out more about how to use the features that Janet relies on, visit the user guide sections on "Creating Indexes", "Selecting and Searching an Index" and "Searching Different File Types".

Example 2 - Publishing with AFSearch

Kim operates a busy web site which sells how-to and do-it-yourself information kits on CD-ROM. He's been outselling publishers of equivalent paperback volumes, and one of the reasons is that customers find it much easier to find the information they are looking for on Kim's CDs.

Kim's CDs present information which is browser-based, and he includes the search-only version of AFSearch on each CD, already configured and indexed to search throughout all the html files on the disk. (see "Distributing AFSearch"). Kim's CDs are set up so that AFSearch starts automatically in the background as soon as the CD is inserted, and loads up the search webpage into the customer's browser. Kim has done this by using 'NotePad' to create an autorun.ini setting file for each of his CDs that uses the Command Line:
autorun.ini :
[autorun]
open=afsearch.exe -setlocal:filename
(except that where it says 'filename', he inserts the name of the html file he wants his customers to automatically see first in their browser every time they insert the CD).

Another of the features that Kim's customers really appreciate is the "Highlight Keyword" facility which Kim provides with his feature set-up on each disc. This means that a customer who needs to know all about 'glue joins' in Kim's info pack about Modern Origami Techniques is able to locate the text references in the browser results almost instantly.

In addition, Kim makes regular use of the ability to manage multiple indexes. This is essential when Kim publishes E-book compilations which include several different publications on the one disk. Not only can Kim provide separate indexes for searching each publication on the disk, but equally important is the fact that search performance is not slowed down as it would be if a single very large index were used. (for more information about creating and managing multiple indexes, see the user guide section called Multiple Indexes).

Example 3 - Network Management

Lee is the network administrator for a group of faculty and department staff in an inner city College. The staff he works with routinely publish information to the group, and there are a number of shared file directories on the main faculty server connected to the LAN. Lee's colleagues are very pleased with the arrangements he has made for them to access information on the server.

Lee has configured AFSearch as the indexing and searching engine for the network server he oversees. The way it works provides all users with a consistent and seamless indexing service. The network users each have a copy of AFSearch installed on their desktop computer, pointing to a single set of indexes located in key shared directories on the server. (The kind of set-up Lee has used is described in the AFSearch in a LAN Environment section of this guide)

So as to make sure that the shared indexes are always up-to-date, Lee has included a command-line call to AFSearch ("afsearch -update", as described under the heading of Command Line Parameters section) in his schedule script. The result of this is that the shared indexes are regularly updated without any action on the part of the users. From their point of view - and from Lee's, the situation is ideal - they have ready access to current information, without inconvenience or delay.

This kind of installation uses the capabilities and flexibility of AFSearch to advantage, to provide an installation which is easy to configure and maintain, yet provides powerful indexing and information access features.