A little over a year ago I was really getting frustrated with search results. I consider myself a pretty good searcher, it’s not often that I have to go beyond a page or two to find what I’m looking for, but the “blurbs” that describe the link are sometimes so cryptic they border on pointless. Also at the time, I was really fascinated with wikis and loved the way their community comes together to develop something very understanding about any topic. One afternoon, will searching around on Google, I had the idea of combining a search engine with a wiki… what would happen if the result blurbs could be publicly modified to better reflect the content of the site? With that in mind, I began experimenting with a project I called LinkPut – Input for Links.
- This project was originally written in ASP/SQL Server, and then rewritten in PHP/MySQL. Because it was my first PHP project, once I began learning more and more, I decided to rewrite it once again, taking into account all the new stuff I learned from my first round.
- The search results use the Yahoo API. Yahoo allowed for more requests per day than Google; at least at the time, I don’t know if that is still true.
- Originally it was called WikiSearch, but that sounded too much like a search engine that crawled wikis, which is misleading. The database is still named after this original title.
This is the LinkPut homepage. Not a typical search engine homepage interface, but I wanted to display recent activity of the site. With that in mind, I display:
|The last URL that has been wiki’d|
|The last comment made to a URL|
|Various site stats such as number of sites wiki’d, request made to Yahoo, click throughs, tags, etc.|
LinkPut Search Results
After you perform a search, the Yahoo results come through. They are parsed and displayed. However, if we find that our database has an edited blurb, it is displayed instead of the normal one returned from Yahoo, as indicated by displaying the LinkPut logo versus the Yahoo logo.
|Logo displaying where blurb is coming from|
|The wiki’d blurb|
|Other information about the site that has been collected, such as your last visit, tags, who edited the blurb last… this information is customizable so that you can show whatever you wish, including both Yahoo and LinkPut’s blurbs.|
|User controls for this URL:
Visited Site Questionnaire
If you visit a site via LinkPut, on your next visit, you are asked to rate various aspects of the site. This data is collected to help better define sites. Of course, answering these questions is completely optional.
|The site questionnaire. Questions include:
Clicking on more information about a site brings you to this page. Here, you can read a more detailed description of the site, tag it, or leave a comment.
|Site title and URL|
|LinkPut also performs a URL shortening service to give you shorter links for long, complex URLs.|
|Wiki’d entry for URL|
|Common tags and input area for you to tag the URL|
|Link to wiki editor or submit URL to Delicious|
This is the Wiki Editor page. Here the user finds a very simplified wiki type editor for making changes to the entry.
|Pointer Area: If this page shares many characteristics of another page, a pointer could be set up so that this page uses the Wiki entry of another. The pointer must point to a URL from the same domain.|
|Notes about the last edit|
|Notes about the edit you are currently doing|
|Change History with links to roll back to previous versions|
This is the history of sites you’ve visited via LinkPut.
|Query you used at the time|
You can search LinkPuts tagged sites from this page. Since this site is a search engine, I wanted to do a little something different with the tag search rather than duplicating the normal search functionality of the site.
|Tags you are currently filtering with. Tags are weighed from left to right, so controls under each tag allow you to rearrange (or remove) them.|
|Add a new tag to the filter and specify if you want to look at just your tagged sites, or the communities tagged sites.|
|The results of the search that displays all LinkPut gathered information for a URL.|
Tag Marks – Collapsed
TagMarks, a name I came up with because this page sorts your tagged URLs much like you would manage your bookmarks in your browser. You create a hierarchy of tags like you would a folder structure. Say for instance you create a tag folder called Politics and one called Tech. Any URL you tagged with Politics will appear in that folder, and all URLs tagged Tech appear when you expand that folder. Inside the Tech folder, you can create sub folders, say Web and OS, so anything you tagged Tech, Web appears in the appropriate folder. I found it to be a great way to browse through your tagged items.
|Root level tag folders|
|Input to add another tag folder|
|Controls for this folder:
Tag Marks – Exapnded
This is the tagged folder expanded to show its contents. Users could have up to 5 levels of folders to really focus their tagged content.
I’ve had some ideas lately on how to improve LinkPut and wanted to have this post available to reference you to when I start going into some of them. In any case, I hope you found some of these ideas interesting.