Note: This blog post is from 2007. Some content may be outdated--though not necessarily. Same with links and subsequent comments from myself or others. Corrections are welcome, in the comments. And I may revise the content as necessary.
Well, I was tickled to learn about the nifty feature Google's added to let people create "Custom Search Engines" (or CSEs
), which can limit searches to a given set of sites, with the intention that this could produce a better topic-specific search. Wouldn't it be nice to search for Ajax and only get sites related to CF implementations and discussions of Ajax (versus other implementations, or the cleaning product?)
So I set off this weekend to create just such a CSE. You can find it here:
Charlie Arehart's CFSearch. It searches over 1,300 CF-related sites.
Update: Here's an update: if you're interested in adding this search to your Firefox search bar (in the top right corner of the browser), you can, via a simple Firefox add-on. I've blogged about it here. Now, back to the original blog entry content...
And then there were two...
But just as I was about to excitedly announce it to the world yesterday, I happened upon an entry in the google Co-op forums related to CSEs when I saw a post from good ol' Joshua Cyr . He was announcing (in October) to a forum there that he'd created one (http://www.cfhunt.com) and would they consider listing it on the featured sites page.
Imagine my dismay. He'd beaten me to the punch. Now, I was about to let it go, and just concede that really only one needed to exist, so I didn't even announce mine yesterday.
And then there were three...
But then today on a CFML list someone else (Jeff Gladnick) announced that he had created one (http://www.cfsearchengine.com
). While it was ironic that yet another person had the bright idea just this weekend (it seems), it also struck me as tragic.
Each of us has spent the time gathering over 100 URLs to be searched in our CF-specific CSEs. I know it took me a few hours. I poured through about 300 of the top URLs coming back from a Google search for "ColdFusion". I have docs pages, blog pages, user group pages, CF product pages, and more. And I even went so far as to use a special feature in the CSE setup called contexts, where you can subset URLs such as by those topics (docs, blogs, etc.) Of course, then I saw so had Joshua! :-)
Turns out there are several...
So I'm here to serve several purposes. I want to point out all the CF-related CSEs I've found or been told about (yes, there are more), and hope to warn off any who would create another. We've got enough. They are listed below in descending order of their current count of sites indexed (viewable on their respective CSE home page). A couple have those other domain names by which you can find them:
Michael and Judith Dinowitz's (2544 sites):
Charlie Arehart's (1338 sites)
Jeff Gladnick's (829 sites):
Joshua Cyr's (236 sites)
Adam Howitt's (38 sites):
Pete Freitag's (29 sites):
Mark Gaulin's (11 sites):
Ray Camden's (3 sites):
And anonymous (2 sites):
If you know of any others, drop me a comment below.
And if you're thinking of creating another...
But let me say that if you find for some reason that one of the CSEs doesn't search one or more sites you think it should, you don't need to go create another one (I don't think that was the case with any of us). Instead, you can choose to volunteer to contribute to any of the existing ones.
Who's should be crowned the ultimate one? Well, I think Joshua's the oldest, and it has the most sites indexed (for now). There's no real harm in the others remaining. Heck, like so many things on the web, sometimes dupes just mean better chances of someone finding a thing.
Why isn't it easier to find all existing ones?
I will say that I've complained to the folks at Google to have them add a means to search for existing ones. That would help both those looking for one, and those thinking of creating a new one. I looked on that featured examples page, and seeing none for CF, thought I'd do the CF community a favor. Now, instead, I see that others are reaching the same conclusions.
I will also add that the folks at Google told me (on the forum, in reply to my question) that s short-term solution is for one to use a particular set of google keywords that might help find CSEs on a specific topic:
site:google.com inurl:coop/cse topic
Sadly, that's imperfect, as it found only 3 of the CF CSEs, and not even the 3 with the most sites (I know mine's new, and perhaps Jeff's is, but Joshua's has been around since October, so this failure to find them using the search feature is dismaying, and I told Google that).
Based on a few comments below, I have added a couple more (Adam's and the HouseofFusion CSE), as well as updated Jeff's site count. I don't want to keep this up to date. As I say above, you can see the site count via the "real cse home page" link for each CSE.