Lightning Search

Lightning Search (Run Demo)

The very first tool for searching the Internet was Archie (archive without the v). One of the most compelling and valuable categories of Internet companies are search engine companies. Probably the biggest reason for this is that it is no sufficient to store data without being able to retrieve that same data in a meaningful way.

25 Years of Experience

After 25 years of consulting—which coincidentally Software Conceptions, Inc was found as Software Consultants in 1990—one of the most common aspects of software applications is the ability to search for data in the application, in the database, or on the website.

The Old Way, Schema Bound Searches

The way searches in applications have historically been done is to spend a lot of time and money designing screens like the Figure (see Figure 1). More data means more expense. There are actually many problems with the fields and prompts approach. One problem is that designing these screens is expensive and time consuming. Another problem is that the schema of your database is revealed and the user has to know that a name, for instance is a contact name instead of a company name. Users also have to figure out how applying filters might affect the search results. Finally, if the schema (how the data is stored) or what it is called changes then the search screens have to change. Yet if we contrast detailed, schema bound search screens with search engines we know that search engines find data searching through a much broader field of possibilities and do so with very simple user interfaces. The very simple Google.com, Bing.com, and Yahoo.com search engines use a single prompt, text input, and a button (more or less).
Schema Bound Searches

A Better Way, Lightning Search

The good news is that you can incorporate that same kind of power search engines use in your web and Windows applications without adding external search engines to your solution and reduce your costs significantly. Our solution called Lightning Search. Lightning Search doesn’t force a client. You can create a GUI as simple as a TextBox and Button or something a little more colorful, but all you really need is a single input field. Lightning Search uses a combination of very mature technologies that indexes your data without changing it, and uses a very simple API that builds the search queries from simple text input. The result is that you can enter something as simple as a name—Fred Smith or Fred* Smith—and all matching results will be returned. Lightning search also supports easy-to-use OR and AND operators so that more advanced users can get creative with their searches.

The result is you will be able to search and find all of your data even if you only have partial bits of data and even if you don’t know what the data means. The demo allows you to search a public bar directory with a single input field. Go ahead put in numbers, first or last names whether the name is of a street person or law firm, or any combination you can think of and you will see the results are comprehensive and the searches are fast. Here are some examples of searches for the demo to get you started:

  • fred* smith – names like fred and smith
  • wnj.com – email addresses or websites with wnj.com
  • Warner Norcross or Honigman – law forms named ‘warner norcross’ or honigman or people with the same names
  • Judge and port huron – judges in port huron

Whether you want low cost, high result, fast searches with simple user interfaces or your users want multi-field input screens you can use Lightning Search without writing a lot of code.

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