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 library. 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 format. 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). REQUIREMENTS ------------ 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 <http://www.perl.com/CPAN/modules>. AVAILABILITY ------------ The latest version of WWW::Search is always available on CPAN. Here is a good URL for finding it: http://www.perl.com/CPAN/modules/by-module/WWW INSTALLATION ------------ 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 type 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 commands. 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 configurable. See `perldoc AutoSearch` for details, or the DEMONSTRATION section below for quick-start instructions. DISCUSSION, BUG REPORTS, AND IMPROVEMENTS ----------------------------------------- When submitting a bug report or request for help, please remember to include: - 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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>. 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. <email@example.com> 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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>. When sending e-mail, please please put [WWW-Search] in the subject line (or risk me losing the message among the spam). DEMONSTRATION ------------- 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! DOCUMENTATION ------------- 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. FUTURE PLANS ------------ 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 <email@example.com> - 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 <firstname.lastname@example.org> - test cases for WebSearch. Contact <email@example.com> - test cases for AutoSearch. Contact <firstname.lastname@example.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 <email@example.com> - 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 <firstname.lastname@example.org> SUPPORT AND CREDITS ------------------- 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. PLATFORM SUPPORT: 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> APPLICATIONS: WebSearch John Heidemann AutoSearch William Scheding <wls(at)isi.edu> BACKENDS: AltaVista John Heidemann Dejanews Cesare Feroldi de Rosa <C.Feroldi(at)it.net> and Martin Thurn <email@example.com> 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 <jsmyser(at)bigfoot.com>. 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 <cacantil(at)spawar.navy.mil>. COPYRIGHT --------- 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. THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS" AND WITHOUT ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. Portions of this README were derived from the README for libwww-perl.