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Remember what I said about PIDLs?

by Brandon on April 25th, 2005

And never wanting to see one again?  I seriously have spent hours over the last few nights trying to figure out a seemingly random error that would occur every few searches (sometimes every 10th, sometimes every 40th) in the search app I’m building.  It turned out the problem went back to that self-inclusive length property that’s part of the SHITEMID structure (ie. the IDL part of the PIDL).  So I’ve fixed that.  As such, my current code won’t support queries over 92 characters in length, but that’s only temporary.
So now that I’ve got that working smoothly, I can start working on actually making something useful.  I’ve got some ideas, but I need more!
If you look at the screenshot I posted – I can give you some idea of how it works at this moment.  When you launch the app the “What to look for,” “Where to look,” and “Group by” widgets are all that you see.  When you check “Documents,” the Documents options appear (and the search immediately updates to show just documents).

I’d like to offer two main uses for this app:

1)      Better searching.  By exposing search fields like the Author field you see above.  And by giving you advanced options relevant to the type of item you’re looking for.
2)      Search by browsing.  If you’ve seen Tesla or the Longhorn demo that was given during Bill Gates’ keynote at WinHEC today, you’d know how great this idea is.  Unfortunately, because I don’t have any direct access to the data indexed by MSN yet, I can’t pull out tags like “authors” (looks something like this).  I hope that a future release of the MSN DS will allow us to do grouping in that way, one way or another.
Actually, I’ve given myself a third goal:
Convert Chris from Copernic 😉

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