(1) How many files can WebSearch handle before it becomes too slow to be practical?

This is a very difficult question to answer, as it depends upon a number of variables. If you’re utilizing a search index, of course, searches will be quite rapid. But if you’re trying to run “live” searches, well, a lot will depend upon how many files the script has to read, how fast your server is, etc. My advice would be to set it up and see how it runs. If it doesn’t seem to run as fast as you’d like, either because you’re searching a lot of files, searching very large files, or just running on a slow server, you’ll probably want to switch to the use of the index file, even if it means you’ll have to update the index frequently to keep up with your site’s growth.

(2) What is find.pl?

WebSearch requires the “find.pl” module. This is part of the standard distribution of Perl, and should be available to you already. If not, you should ask your system administrators about it.

(3) I’m trying to run WebSearch, but it keeps telling me that 0 files were searched. Why?

The most likely cause of this problem is that your variable assignments are incorrect, and as a result, WebSearch can’t find the directory or directories it’s supposed to search. Especially if you’re on a non-UNIX system, defining the directory paths correctly can be a bit tricky. Unfortunately, it’s not really something I can help with, since I’ve no idea what the paths to your directories might be.

Another possibility, at least if you’re attempting to define your Web “root” directory as a directory to be searched, involves file permissions. On some servers, that directory cannot by default be searched by Web-based applications. To change this, you need to define the directory to be world-exectutable. (The “execute” permission bit is actually a “search/execute” bit.)

(4) The server on which my site is located doesn’t allow CGI scripts. I’d like to set up WebSearch on another server to search the pages on my site. How can I do that?

You can’t. WebSearch reads files directly; a program (CGI script or not) running on one server cannot directly read files on another server. To allow that would be to introduce ungodly security holes. If you want a site on a server which doesn’t allow CGI to be searchable, you’ll have to either (a) locate a search script which can utilize regular HTTP calls to read files remotely and construct an index for search purposes, or (b) move your site to a server which allows you access to CGI.

(5) I can’t seem to get WebSearch to search my database correctly. How should I set up my files so it can find the relevant records?

WebSearch searches the pages on your Web site, and returns a list of the pages which contain the requested keywords. It is not a database program, and does not search for individual records within a database file. If you need a script to do that, I’d be happy to talk with you about setting it up. But WebSearch won’t do it.