meta-characters in search strings

meta-characters in search strings

Post by Mitch Gar » Sat, 05 Dec 1998 04:00:00



Our user interface includes places where a user can type in a
search string with regular expressions, using the usual characters
like *?[] and so on.  My question is whether it's OK to use the
same set of characters for text searches in other languages
and alphabets, or whether the meta-characters have to
change depending on locale.  Does anybody have experience with
this area, or know of some references that discuss it?  Thanks,

- Mitch

 
 
 

meta-characters in search strings

Post by Jeff Bangl » Sat, 05 Dec 1998 04:00:00


This is somewhat related:  We deployed an Oracle database a few years
ago.  By default, Oracle uses the wild card characters % and _.  Our
programmers at that time couldn't figure out how to use the * and ?
characters that our users were familiar with, and we had some difficulty
getting them used to the new wild cards.  

Today, our long time users are familiar with % and _, but new employees
expect to use * and ?.  What we should probably do is set up profiles
for each user and allow them to select their own wild cards, then have
the application translate them to whatever it uses internally.


> Our user interface includes places where a user can type in a
> search string with regular expressions, using the usual characters
> like *?[] and so on.  My question is whether it's OK to use the
> same set of characters for text searches in other languages
> and alphabets, or whether the meta-characters have to
> change depending on locale.  Does anybody have experience with
> this area, or know of some references that discuss it?  Thanks,

> - Mitch



 
 
 

meta-characters in search strings

Post by Yarone Gore » Sun, 06 Dec 1998 04:00:00


Just curious...

Why not take the much simpler approach and support both sets of wild cards?

.Yarone


>This is somewhat related:  We deployed an Oracle database a few years
>ago.  By default, Oracle uses the wild card characters % and _.  Our
>programmers at that time couldn't figure out how to use the * and ?
>characters that our users were familiar with, and we had some difficulty
>getting them used to the new wild cards.

>Today, our long time users are familiar with % and _, but new employees
>expect to use * and ?.  What we should probably do is set up profiles
>for each user and allow them to select their own wild cards, then have
>the application translate them to whatever it uses internally.


>> Our user interface includes places where a user can type in a
>> search string with regular expressions, using the usual characters
>> like *?[] and so on.  My question is whether it's OK to use the
>> same set of characters for text searches in other languages
>> and alphabets, or whether the meta-characters have to
>> change depending on locale.  Does anybody have experience with
>> this area, or know of some references that discuss it?  Thanks,

>> - Mitch


 
 
 

meta-characters in search strings

Post by Jeff Bangl » Sun, 06 Dec 1998 04:00:00


Possible, but what if a new user comes along who is accustomed to
another set of wild cards?  I don't know of any others, but I'm not
confidant that there's only two sets of wild cards out there...

> Just curious...

> Why not take the much simpler approach and support both sets of wild cards?

> .Yarone


> >This is somewhat related:  We deployed an Oracle database a few years
> >ago.  By default, Oracle uses the wild card characters % and _.  Our
> >programmers at that time couldn't figure out how to use the * and ?
> >characters that our users were familiar with, and we had some difficulty
> >getting them used to the new wild cards.

> >Today, our long time users are familiar with % and _, but new employees
> >expect to use * and ?.  What we should probably do is set up profiles
> >for each user and allow them to select their own wild cards, then have
> >the application translate them to whatever it uses internally.


> >> Our user interface includes places where a user can type in a
> >> search string with regular expressions, using the usual characters
> >> like *?[] and so on.  My question is whether it's OK to use the
> >> same set of characters for text searches in other languages
> >> and alphabets, or whether the meta-characters have to
> >> change depending on locale.  Does anybody have experience with
> >> this area, or know of some references that discuss it?  Thanks,

> >> - Mitch


 
 
 

meta-characters in search strings

Post by Dan Strychalsk » Tue, 08 Dec 1998 04:00:00



Quote:> Possible, but what if a new user comes along who is accustomed to
> another set of wild cards?  I don't know of any others, but I'm not
> confidant that there's only two sets of wild cards out there...

It is difficult to believe that anyone who can grasp the concept of
wildcard characters in search strings would have difficulty adapting to
different sets of wildcards, assuming decent instructions were provided.

Could the problem be the terminology? "Wildcard" is not the only term
for a character that can be matched by an indeterminate character or
string -- and "meta-character" isn't exactly easy to understand (besides
which, I'm quite sure I've seen it used with a completely different
meaning).

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 ...After ^Q:  Auto-scroll...Scrn Top/Lf/Rt/Bot...File Top/Bot....Repl, Srch

 
 
 

meta-characters in search strings

Post by Cameron Hay » Wed, 09 Dec 1998 04:00:00




>It is difficult to believe that anyone who can grasp the concept of
>wildcard characters in search strings would have difficulty adapting to
>different sets of wildcards, assuming decent instructions were provided.

The difficulty is in remembering what characters are to be used for
wild-carding. Typically wild-carding is a hidden feature - there are no
onscreen instructions. People who use several applications with different
wild-card conventions will have trouble.

--

Centre de recherche informatique de Montreal

 
 
 

meta-characters in search strings

Post by Jorn Barg » Wed, 09 Dec 1998 04:00:00



> Typically wild-carding is a hidden feature - there are no
> onscreen instructions.

It would be nice if there was a 'quick brown fox'-style convention that
could be displayed under the input field, illustrating all the main
syntactic features. Like:

   "a phrase" +required -not w?ldcar*

--
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meta-characters in search strings

Post by Johan Almé » Fri, 11 Dec 1998 04:00:00



> Our user interface includes places where a user can type in a
> search string with regular expressions, using the usual characters
> like *?[] and so on.  My question is whether it's OK to use the
> same set of characters for text searches in other languages
> and alphabets, or whether the meta-characters have to
> change depending on locale.  Does anybody have experience with
> this area, or know of some references that discuss it?  Thanks,

I think a (the?) proper way to solve this problem is to have quite
a few customizable values in the application. This way any semi-advanced
user will be able to choose stuff like date & number formats,
wildcard characters and the like. Default values should be taken
from the system settings if present there, and to locally familiar
values otherwise.

--
_____________________________________________________________________________
Non serviam.                                  Who needs rhetorical questions?

 
 
 

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Cellular Tel.   +972-50-892463

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