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Searching in the forums

There is a lot of useful information in the PowerBASIC Peer Support Forums. In fact, just about every question you have has probably already been asked and answered somewhere in the forums.

To search the forums, click on the "search" link at the top of most pages. You can have the option to use the Advanced Search (click the Advanced Search link) or the default quick search. The Advanced Search allows you to narrow your searches to search only titles or the entire post, search for posts between certain dates, or to search in one or more forums.

Another useful search option is to show results as posts instead of threads. This option is available for both the Quick Search and the Advanced Search options. It can have two big advantages: 1) it enables you to jump to a specific post in a long thread 2) a short snippet of text from the post is displayed, which can help you decide whether you want to read the post without clicking on it.

Boolean Searches

A Boolean search is an advanced keyword search method used to narrow your search results. When searching through information on a programming board such as the PowerBASIC Peer Support Forums, it can be invaluable in maximizing your search results

You can use boolean search operators to more effectively search the PowerBASIC Peer support forums. Here is a detailed look at Boolean search operators.

  • +
    A leading plus sign indicates that this word must be present in each post that is returned.
  • -
    A leading minus sign indicates that this word must not be present in any of the posts that are returned.
  • > <
    These two operators are used to change a word's contribution to the relevance value that is assigned to a post. The > operator increases the contribution and the < operator decreases it. See the example below.
  • ( )
    Parentheses are used to group words into subexpressions. Parenthesized groups can be nested.
  • ~
    A leading tilde acts as a negation operator, causing the word's contribution to the post's relevance to be negative. This is useful for marking “noise” words. A post containing such a word is rated lower than others, but is not excluded altogether, as it would be with the - operator.
  • *
    The asterisk serves as the truncation operator. Unlike the other operators, it should be appended to the word to be affected.
  • ""
    A phrase that is enclosed within double quote (‘"’) characters matches only posts that contain the phrase literally, as it was typed.

Examples of searching using boolean operators:

  • dialog show
    Find posts that contain at least one of the two words.
  • +dialog +show
    Find posts that contain both words.
  • +dialog show
    Find posts that contain the word “dialog”, but rank posts higher if they also contain “show”.
  • +dialog -show
    Find posts that contain the word “dialog” but not “show”.
  • +dialog +(>pixels <units)
    Find posts that contain the words “dialog” and “pixels”, or “dialog” and “units” (in any order), but rank “dialog pixels” higher than “dialog units”.
  • image*
    Find posts that contain words such as “image”, “images”, “imagex”, or “imagelist”.
  • "dialog show"
    Find posts that contain the exact phrase “dialog show” (for example, posts that contain “dialog show modal” but not “dialog is showing”).
Tag Searches

You can now search based on tags added to a particular thread. When adding a new thread or even reading an old thread posted by someone else you can add tags to the thread that can be used to in a tag search.

At the bottom of each thread there is a "Edit Tags" link. Click this link and add as many tags that you are feel are necessary. For example if the thread is talking about accessing Excel via COM, add the tags COM and Excel. You can add tag words from 2 to 32 characters in length, this should help with searching for two letter words such as "vb".

There are two ways to search by tags. When you click the Search menu item from the navigational bar, there is now an additional option titled "Tag Search". A Tag Search will display all the most commonly used tags in the forums or you can type in a tag to search by. Another way to search by tags is at the bottom of each thread, there is a list of the tags associated with this thread, you can click on any of the tags in this list and it will display all the threads associated with that tag.

Tags are added by you, the community, the tag search can only be as good you want it to be. I am sure in time that this will be a great addition to the forums.

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