Simple Site Search Action suite (Pro Only)

This suite of Freeway Actions makes it very easy to set up a search facility for visitors to search for specific terms within your web site. There are three separate Actions in the suite—a Folder Action, an Action applied to a text field item and a standalone Action—all of which need to be used for the search function to work correctly.

Unlike most other search facilities, this one uses JavaScript (rather than server-side technologies, such as PHP or Perl), so everything can be set up in Freeway itself. This means that it can be tested “locally” (ie, by previewing the file in a browser) and it will work when delivered to a customer for testing on CD, DVD or via email. It is also worth noting that there is no branding on the search form or results, which is a common issue when using third-party search facilities.

Applying the Folder Action

The first Action in the suite is a Folder Action which needs to be applied to the Site Folder. First, however, you will need to enter the web address (where the site will eventually be available once it is uploaded) in the Upload panel of the Document Setup dialog. If you apply the Action without entering a web address you will see a prompt in the Actions palette telling you to set up the URL.

To enter the URL go to File>Document Setup, click on the Upload tab, enter the URL in the Web Address field and click OK.

After setting up the URL the Actions palette you can now select the Site Folder in your Site Panel (the folder at the top of list of site pages, immediately underneath the line below the Master page(s). To do this, select the Site Folder, go to Page>Folder Actions and choose Simple Site Search from the list.

The Actions palette will now display a message prompting you to insert the results Action to a page in your site and also to add an Action to a text field.

By applying the Folder Action to your Site Folder, this means that the Action collects data from all the pages within your site and uses this to create an internal database of words, descriptions and links.

Creating the search form

The search form is a text field where the visitor can enter the term(s) they want to search for on your page or pages, and it needs to be used in conjunction with a submit button to submit the term. Note that this can be used on one or more specific pages, or it can be used on a Master page so a search can be made on all the pages of your site.

First you need to create the text field. To do this, click and hold on the HTML button on Freeway’s tool bar, choose Text Field (for those using Freeway 5.5 or earlier) or Input/Field (for those using Freeway 6 or later) then draw an item on your page. This is a standard HTML text field item and you can make it the width you want it to be by resizing the item or by entering a value in the Output Settings tab of the Inspector when the item is selected on the page.

With the item selected, go to Item>Actions and choose Simple Site Search from the list. Note that the Actions palette now displays just a single prompt (to insert a results action on a page of your site).

Because the Text Field item is a form item, we now need to use a submit button on the page so the text field’s content can be submitted. Click and hold on the HTML tool again, choose Button, then draw an item on the page alongside the text field.

On the Freeway page you will now see that there is a text field with a button displaying the word “Submit”. If you want to change the wording on the button, select it, go to the Output Settings tab of the Inspector and enter the word(s) you want to use in the Value field.

Creating a search results area

The final part of the Simple Site Search Actions suite is to add an item on your page where the visitor will see a list of search results displayed. This can be on any page, but perhaps the best method is to create a new page specifically to display the list of search results. When the visitor enters the term(s) in the text field and clicks the submit/search button, they will automatically be taken to the page on which the results area is used on.

To make a search results area, click and hold on the Actions tool on Freeway’s tool bar, choose Simple Site Search then draw an item on the page. This item will display with dummy text inside it, so you have a live preview of how the search results will look when it is used in a browser.

Creating the search results area completes the trio of Actions necessary to make the Simple Site Search function work, so you will see that the Actions palette now displays a bunch of options when you have the item selected on the page. In here you can choose how many results you want to display in the list by using the Results per page slider or entering a value in the field to the right. After making your choice you can resize the item by clicking and dragging its center bottom handle so all content is displayed.

All other options in the Actions palette relate to the styling of the results list in six different groups of options which you can choose by clicking and holding on the Style options popup and choosing the panel you want to display.

Each panel in the popup displays styling options for specific elements of the search results item. The panel and option you need to use to style each element is shown in the diagram below.

Page titles and descriptions used in the search results item

You can see in the search results item dummy text that the wording displayed when the page is viewed in a browser takes its information from the “title” and “description” meta tags.

The “title” meta tag is used for what the dummy text displays as the large blue “Page name” text in its default styling. The information displayed here when the page is viewed in a browser is simply the wording used in the Title field of the Inspector for each page in your site.

The “description” meta tag information needs to be entered manually for each of your site pages. It has always been good practice to offer a brief description of your pages and the subjects they cover so that search engines can display the description in their search results—and the Simple Site Search Action simply uses this to offer visitors more information than just the page name.

To create a description meta tag for your pages, go to each in turn and go to Page>Meta tags. You’ll see there is already one meta tag in the Meta Tags dialog by default (the “generator” tag, which is normal). Click New and in the dialog that appears enter “description” without quotes in the Name field. In the Value field write up to a 30-word description. Anything more than this may not be read by some search engines. Click OK to apply the tag.

If you preview the site in a browser again, you will see that the Description text you just entered will now appear in the wording of the search results item’s text.

Using custom text for the search results item

The heading for the search results list and the “Total results found” text at the foot of the results list are editable so you can enter custom text (perhaps in your own language). Enter the text your wish to use in the Search results text and Results found text fields of the Actions palette.

Excluding specified content from the Simple Site Search Action

Three new Actions were introduced in Freeway 5.6 which let you exclude items, pages and page folders from the search results generated by the Simple Site Search Action.
  • To exclude the content within an item from the search results, select the item then go to Item>Actions and choose Remove from Simple Site Search.
  • To exclude the entire content of a page from the search results, make sure nothing is selected on the page then go to Page>Page Actions and choose Remove from Simple Site Search.
  • To exclude the content of all the pages in a particular page folder from the search results, select the page folder in the site panel then go to Page>Folder Actions and choose Remove from Simple Site Search.

There are no options in the Actions palette.