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CF-specific Google search engines (yes, that's plural)

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 Some content may be outdated--though not necessarily.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):


or via


Joshua Cyr's (236 sites)


or via


Adam Howitt's (38 sites):


or via


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.

For more content like this from Charlie Arehart: Need more help with problems?
  • If you may prefer direct help, rather than digging around here/elsewhere or via comments, he can help via his online consulting services
  • See that page for more on how he can help a) over the web, safely and securely, b) usually very quickly, c) teaching you along the way, and d) with satisfaction guaranteed
I just learned of yet another, by Adam Howitt, and I've added it to the list above.
# Posted By Charlie Arehart | 2/13/07 9:00 PM
I was quite surprised to hear of more, which happened shortly after I started telling people about mine. Mine is very new, I started a few days ago. I just added a bunch of sites submitted by people, and a big list I had myself, so now CFSearchEngine is over 230 sites :).

But as you said, the more the merrier!
# Posted By Jeff Gladnick | 2/13/07 11:17 PM
Well, Charlie, you can add ours to the list. We created one (we've been working on this one for a while) and announced it today:


You can find the House of Fusion search engine at:


Judith Dinowitz
Vice President
House of Fusion
# Posted By Judith Dinowitz | 2/14/07 2:44 AM
Wow! Seems everyone has their personal search engine! =)

Let me be the first to announce that I intend to create a specialized search engine to search all of those you mentioned above. (just kidding, of course) =)

I guess I'll have to try a few of them out. I don't typically have any trouble finding information I need with the normal google, but I'll try anyway, just in case I am having trouble, but just don't know it (or, I'm so used to bad search results that I don't know it can get better).

How did you find all of those (did you put an open letter asking, who has an engine?) ?
# Posted By Sammy Larbi | 2/14/07 7:51 AM
Hey Charlie,
Great post and very timely! my personal goal for the engine isn't to index EVERY cf related site but to be more selective. Most of my CF, JS, AJAX woes are solved by a few very good sites I trust. There are so many false positives out there with people complaining about features rather than providing a solution or a workaround. So I built mine to become a first line of defense. If I find the answer in my first search I'm good, otherwise I'll hit Google for the remaining blogs. I have closed contribution and have Ray Camden for additional CF insight and our CSS ninja Jeff Kenny for JavaScript tips.

# Posted By Adam Howitt | 2/14/07 8:44 AM
Heh, this is the week of the CSE it seems.

That is quite a list! It is interesting in how they are all done a bit differently. Some allow google to show sites not added (but weighted much lower in the search results) some don't. Some have filters implemented in various ways, some have css and js sites added, etc.

I hadn't actually looked at mine in a while (you can have your browser search bar use those engines directly so you don't even have to visit the site) and didn't realize how cluttered it looks now. Time to clean things up.
# Posted By Joshua Cyr | 2/14/07 9:47 AM
I had several people tell me they were having trouble with Google's volunteer system to add sites, so I created a site URL submission form for http://cfsearchengin...

You can find it here: http://jeffgladnick....


-jeff gladnick
# Posted By Jeff Gladnick | 2/14/07 11:12 AM
Thanks everyone, for your comments so far. As for there being so many, I suppose we can say "great minds think alike". :-) Judith, I'll add yours to my list, and Jeff I'll update your number and raise your rank--but I do not plan to do thit on a continuous basis for all the sites. :-)
# Posted By Charlie Arehart | 2/14/07 12:32 PM
Oh, and Sammy, as for how I found the list, it was basically through the experience I wrote about in the entry (finding one in the google coop forum, then another announced on a CF list, then the others via the search I mentioned, and now finally a couple more mentioned in the comments above.)
# Posted By Charlie Arehart | 2/14/07 12:42 PM
I've been planning to do a co-op search engine since MAX but it got rolled into a number of other site changes and was heavily delayed. It's was mostly luck that mine came out the same time as everyone else's. Of course, you'll see more changes to the site (other than the new internal layout alterations) and my article on "Making Google Pay" is in edit as well. Oh, and Judith is in the home stretch of her pregnancy so you see I've got a lot on my plate....as usual. :)
# Posted By Michael Dinowitz | 2/14/07 7:26 PM
Best wishes on the family addition, folks. :-)
# Posted By Charlie Arehart | 2/14/07 9:36 PM
And you, Charlie! Good luck ;)
# Posted By Andrew | 8/2/07 5:46 AM
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