WWW::Search and AutoSearch and WebSearch

WHAT IS NEW IN WWW::Search 2.507?  (2008-11-29)

Overview of changes: 

 * tweaked WWW::Search::Test

For details, see the Changes file (updates after 2008-11-27) and/or
the pod of each affected module.

WHAT IS WWW::Search?

WWW::Search is a collection of Perl modules which provide an API to
search engines on the world-wide web (and similar HTTP-based search
engines).  Backends for many specific engines can be obtained
separately, such as AltaVista, Ebay, HotBot, and Yahoo.  This
distribution includes two applications built from this library:
AutoSearch, a program to automate tracking of search results over
time; and WebSearch, a small demonstration program to drive the

By default, WWW::Search does NOT try to emulate the default search
that you would get with each search engine's GUI.  I.e. WWW::Search
does NOT necessarily return the same results you would get by visiting
the search engine's web page.  WWW::Search performs the search in a
way that is efficient and convenient for text processing.  This might
include using the "advanced search" interface; getting "text-only"
pages; making "OR" the default query term operator instead of "AND";
ungrouping same-site results; making sure descriptions are turned on;
and increasing the number of hits per page, among other tricks.  A few
backends implement the method gui_query(), which does attempt to get
the same results as searches from the engine's default web page; after
installation, see `perldoc WWW::Search::<Backend>` for details.

Because WWW::Search depends on parsing the HTML output of web search
engines, it will fail if the search engine operators change their

This base WWW::Search distribution contains a few backends that can be
used for testing.  The backend Null::Empty always returns no results;
Null::Error always returns an error condition; and Null::Count returns
a number of sample results that you can specify.  After installation,
consult `perldoc WWW::Search::Null::Count` et al. for details.

The following real, working backends (and more!) are registered at
CPAN independently (not included with this WWW::Search distribution):

AltaVista       http://www.perl.com/CPAN/modules/by-module/WWW/MTHURN/
AP              in the WWW::Search::News distribution
Ebay            http://www.perl.com/CPAN/modules/by-module/WWW/MTHURN/
Ebay::Motors    in the Ebay distribution
Ebay::Complete  in the WWW-Ebay distribution
Ebay::Mature    in the WWW-Ebay distribution
Euroseek        http://www.perl.com/CPAN/modules/by-module/WWW/JSMYSER/
Go              http://www.perl.com/CPAN/modules/by-module/WWW
GoTo            http://www.perl.com/CPAN/modules/by-module/WWW/JSMYSER/
HotBot          http://www.perl.com/CPAN/modules/by-module/WWW/
LookSmart       http://www.perl.com/CPAN/modules/by-module/WWW/JSMYSER
Lycos           http://www.perl.com/CPAN/modules/by-module/WWW/MTHURN/
Magellan        http://www.perl.com/CPAN/modules/by-module/WWW/MTHURN/
Monster         http://www.perl.com/CPAN/modules/by-module/WWW
Nomade          http://www.perl.com/CPAN/modules/by-module/WWW
NorthernLight   http://www.perl.com/CPAN/modules/by-module/WWW/JSMYSER/
OpenDirectory   http://www.perl.com/CPAN/modules/by-module/WWW/JSMYSER/
PRWire          http://www.perl.com/CPAN/modules/by-module/WWW
Pubmed          http://www.perl.com/CPAN/modules/by-module/WWW
Yahoo           http://www.perl.com/CPAN/modules/by-module/WWW
ZDNet           http://www.perl.com/CPAN/modules/by-module/WWW/JSMYSER/
WashPost        in the WWW::Search::News distribution

There are several backends which I don't even know if they work or
not; I put them in a distribution called WWW::Search::Backends which
you can find at http://www.perl.com/CPAN/modules/by-module/WWW

There are even more backends available for manual download and
installation at http://www.idexer.com/backends/ (thanks to Jim Smyser).


WWW::Search requires Perl5, the libwww-perl module suite, the URI
module, the HTML::Parser module, and several other modules (see
Makefile.PL for a complete list).  For information on Perl5, see
<http://www.perl.com>.  For modules, see


The latest version of WWW::Search is always available on CPAN.  Here
is a good URL for finding it:


It is highly recommended that you use CPAN.pm to install WWW::Search.
It will automatically install all the prerequisite modules and put
everything in the right places.  While connected to the internet, just

   perl -MCPAN -e 'install WWW::Search'

Otherwise, you can install WWW::Search as you would any perl module
library, by running the following commands in the WWW-Search-x.xx
directory after unpacking the archive (and after installing all the
prerequisite modules):

    perl Makefile.PL
    make test
    make install

On Win32, use 'nmake' instead of 'make' in the above sequence of

If you want to install a private copy of WWW::Search in your home
directory, then you should do the installation with something like
these commands:

    perl Makefile.PL INSTALLDIRS=perl PREFIX=/my/perl/lib 
    make test
    make pure_perl_install UNINST=1

Don't forget to add /my/perl/lib to your PERL5LIB environment variable
(or use lib '/my/perl/lib'; or unshift @INC, '/my/perl/lib')!

WHAT IS AutoSearch?

The WWW::Search distribution includes a search client called
AutoSearch.  AutoSearch performs a web-based search and puts the
results set into a series of web pages.  It periodically updates this
web page, indicating how the search changes over time.  Sample output
from AutoSearch can be found at
<http://www.isi.edu/lsam/tools/autosearch/>.  Output format is

See `perldoc AutoSearch` for details, or the DEMONSTRATION section
below for quick-start instructions.


When submitting a bug report or request for help, please remember to
  - the operating system name and version
  - the version of perl (this can be found from `perl -v`)
  - the version of WWW::Search (this can be found from `WebSearch -V`)
  - the version of the backend (this can be found from `WebSearch -e Yahoo -V`)
  - the code you ran to produce the error (PLEASE cut-and-paste, do not just summarize!)
  - actual output showing the error (PLEASE cut-and-paste, do not just summarize!)

There is a mailing list for WWW::Search discussion.  To subscribe,
send "subscribe info-www-search" as the body of a message to
<info-www-search-request@isi.edu>.  If you use WWW::Search at all, you
should subscribe to the mailing list.

Feedback about WWW::Search is encouraged.  If you're using it for a
neat application, please let us know.  If you'd like to (or have
already) implement and publish a new backend for WWW::Search, let us
know so we don't duplicate work.  <mthurn@cpan.org>

Backend-related bug reports ("backend ABC doesn't work") should be
sent to the author/maintainer of the backend (backend maintainers are
identified in the corresponding man page).

All other feedback, bug reports, fixes, and new backends (if you are
unwilling or unable to publish them on CPAN yourself) should be sent
to Martin Thurn <mthurn@cpan.org>.  When sending e-mail, please please
put [WWW-Search] in the subject line (or risk me losing the message
among the spam).


After installing the distribution, connect to the internet and type:

	# WebSearch '"Your Name Here"'

or, if you are on Win32:

        C:\> WebSearch "\"Your Name Here\""

to see where your name is mentioned on the web.  Then try:

	# AutoSearch -n me_on_the_web -s '"Your Name Here"' me
        # netscape me/index.html &

or, if you are on Win32:

	C:\> AutoSearch -n me_on_the_web -s "\"Your Name Here\"" me
        C:\> netscape me\index.html

If you are on UNIX you can add

	0 3 * * 1 /usr/local/bin/AutoSearch /path/to/me

to your crontab to update this search every week at 3:00 Monday
morning.  If you install WWW::Search::Ebay, and add the --mail option
to AutoSearch, you'll have your own private replacement for Ebay's
personal search service... WITHOUT the three-query limit!


See `perldoc WWW::Search` after installation for an overview of the
library.  POD-style documentation is also included in all modules and
programs, so you can do `perldoc WebSearch` and `perldoc AutoSearch`
after installation.


Some things we need, and ideas for new features:

 - more robust test mechanism (i.e. more than just counting the number
of URLs returned) (e.g. look at the various values and make sure
they're being parsed correctly) (e.g. change_date() is really a date,
URL is really a URL, URL is not double-encoded, results are not
duplicated, etc.)  Contact <mthurn@cpan.org>

 - updates to each backend to implement the submit() method.  Contact
each backend's maintainer.

 - updates to each backend that will force WWW::Search to perform the
same search as the engine's default web GUI (I'm looking for
contributions of the precise arguments that will produce such a search
for each engine; i.e. the hash that should be passed as the second
argument to native_query).  Contact <mthurn@cpan.org>

 - test cases for WebSearch.  Contact <mthurn@cpan.org>

 - test cases for AutoSearch.  Contact <mthurn@cpan.org>

 - use LWP::ParallelUA to speed up multiple backend search requests
(I'm trying to decide what the API interface will look like; please
send suggestions).  Contact <mthurn@cpan.org>

 - add a "language" parameter to the WWW::Search object?  We would
need a critical mass of backends/engines that can search multiple
languages before this would be useful.

 - more widespread use of result tags such as description, date, size,
etc. across all backends.  Contact backend maintainers.

 - a freeze/restore interface to suspend and resume in-progress queries.

 - more backends!

Contributions are always welcome.  Send me e-mail if you plan a new
backend, or to discuss architectural changes (to avoid duplicating
work).  Contact <mthurn@cpan.org>


For more information about Martin Thurn's Perl Modules, 
visit http://www.sandcrawler.com/SWB/cpan-modules.html

The WWW::Search architecture was originally written by John Heidemann,
with feedback from other contributors listed below.  NOTE: This list
is no longer updated; consult the on-line documentation (i.e. man
pages) to find out who is currently maintaining each component.

	Unix			John Heidemann <johnh(at)isi.edu>
	Windows			Jim Smyser <jsmyser(at)bigfoot.com>
                		(see <http://members.xoom.com/WWW_Search>)

COOKIE & HTTP_REFERER TESTING:  Jerry Hermel <jerryxh(at)earthlink.net>

	WebSearch		John Heidemann
	AutoSearch 		William Scheding <wls(at)isi.edu>

	AltaVista		John Heidemann
	Dejanews		Cesare Feroldi de Rosa <C.Feroldi(at)it.net>
				and Martin Thurn <mthurn@cpan.org>
	Crawler			Andreas Borchert
	Excite			GLen Pringle <pringle(at)cs.monash.edu.au>
				and Martin Thurn
	ExciteForWebServers	Paul Lindner <lindner(at)reliefweb.int>
	Fireball		Andreas Borchert
	FolioViews		Paul Lindner
	Gopher			Paul Lindner
	HotBot			William Scheding and Martin Thurn
	HotFiles		Jim Smyser
	Infoseek		Cesare Feroldi de Rosa and Martin Thurn
	Livelink		Paul Lindner
	Lycos			William Scheding and John Heidemann,
				Martin Thurn
	Magellan		Martin Thurn
	MSIndexServer		Paul Lindner
	NorthernLight		Jim Smyser
	Null			Paul Lindner
	OpenDirectory		Jim Smyser
	PLWeb			Paul Lindner
	Profusion		Jim Smyser
	Search97		Paul Lindner
	SFgate			Paul Lindner
	Simple			Paul Lindner
	Snap			Jim Smyser
	Verity			Paul Lindner
	WebCrawler		Martin Thurn
	Yahoo			William Scheding and Martin Thurn
	ZDNet			Jim Smyser

AutoSearch is based on an earlier implementation by Kedar Jog
<jog(at)isi.edu> with advice from Joe Touch <touch(at)isi.edu>.

Bugs and extensions (to the software and documentation) have been
identified by William Scheding <wls(at)isi.edu>, T. V. Raman
<raman(at)adobe.com> (proxy support), C. Feroldi
<C.Feroldi(at)it.net>, Larry Virden <lvirden(at)cas.org>, Paul Lindner
<paul.lindner(at)itu.int>, Guy Decoux <decoux(at)moulon.inra.fr>, R
Chandrasekar (Mickey) <mickeyc(at)linc.cis.upenn.edu>, Martin Thurn
<mthurn(at)cpan.org>, Chris Nandor <pudge(at)pobox.com>, Martin
Valldeby <martin.valldeby(at)pakom.se>, Jim Smyser
<jsmyser(at)bigfoot.com>, Darren Stalder <darren(at)u.washington.edu>,
Neil Bowers <neilb(at)cre.canon.co.uk>, Ave Wrigley
<wrigley(at)cre.canon.co.uk>, Andreas Borchert
<borchert(at)mathematik.uni-ulm.de>, Jim Smyser

Bugs have reported by Joseph McDonald <joe(at)smartlink.net>, Juan
Jose Amor <jjamor(at)infor.es>, Bowen Dwelle <bowen(at)hotwired.com>,
Vassilis Papadimos <vpapad(at)dblab.ece.ntua.gr>, Vidyut Luther
<vluther(at)hpctc.org>, Chris P. Acantilado


Copyright (c) 1996 University of Southern California.
All rights reserved.

Redistribution and use in source and binary forms are permitted
provided that the above copyright notice and this paragraph are
duplicated in all such forms and that any documentation, advertising
materials, and other materials related to such distribution and use
acknowledge that the software was developed by the University of
Southern California, Information Sciences Institute.  The name of the
University may not be used to endorse or promote products derived from
this software without specific prior written permission.


Portions of this README were derived from the README for libwww-perl.