Saturday, October 03, 2015

Search is broken on for OS X

The developer working on for OS X took an unfortunate shortcut when coding search. That’s kind of a problem, because search is what Simplenote is about.

It’s easy to see the problem.

In Simplenote 1.1 for OS X a note that has three words in it:

blue green yellow

search on blue and you’ll find the note. Search on blue green and you’ll find it. But search on [blue yellow] and you won’t.

That’s because the developer implemented a very simple string match search (sometimes this is called phrase search, but that’s a bit grandiose). Whatever string you enter in search has to directly match a string in the note.

Now repeat the same experiment with the Web version or for iOS You’ll find that [blue yellow] works, as does [blu yell]. The developers who implemented search on iOS and the  web used what I call ‘word-starts-with-search’; it means a separate index is created containing all the lexical tokens and the input tokens are boolean matched against the index tokens (see also).

I’m quite surprised the OS X app passed Automatic acceptance testing — search is feature #1 for this app and it’s very broken in the OS X version.

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