redPRODUCTFINDER:Building your custom search engine

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Building your custom search engine

Managing Forms

The first step in building your own customized product search engine is to create at least one product search form. redPRODUCTFINDER allows you to create an unlimited number of search forms, so that each one can be customized to look for different products. For example, an online store selling a wide range of products for children can make one search form to look through their available Children's Books and another to look through the available children's clothing section. Even though both categories are offered within the same shop, they each have different attributes and aspects that people look for them under.

Click on the "Forms" submenu link to bring up the Forms listing screen. On this screen is an overview of the available forms and the facility to change their published status. Unpublished forms will not be displayed or available to use. Each form also has a special tag which can be used to display it anywhere in the site. The tag consists of the form ID enclosed by the {redproductfinder}{/redproductfinder} set. You can use this tag within Joomla! content articles, third-party content and even custom HTML modules. For example, {redproductfinder}2{/redproductfinder}.


There are two function buttons to note on this listing screen, "Clone" and "Import Attributes". "Clone" allows you to duplicate one or more forms, retaining all the types and tags and associations relating to each. Simply check the boxes next to the form names that need to be duplicated and click on "Clone", then make the necessary adjustments to the new copies and save.

"Import Attributes" is the facility to bring in all the attributes of all the products stored in redSHOP and use them as types and tags to search for products against. Attributes get imported as types, while properties are imported as tags, and these tags get automatically assigned to their types. This is a useful feature when wanting to offer site customers easier ways to locate their products of interest; attributes can be used as search filters. Simply check the box next to the form that the redSHOP attributes should be imported into and click the "Import Attributes" button.

When adding a new form or editing an existing one, you can change the form name (describing the product being searched, for example) and sets whether that name be displayed as the title to that form on the front-end. There is a space to add a CSS style hook to make it easy to style individual forms, and a setting to change the form's published status.

There is also the option to enable or disable "Dependencies" for the tag selections within that form. If the form needs to be configured, for example, so that products will only appear in the search results when a specific number and set of tags have been selected, you would turn on dependencies for this form and define the specific set of tags required when associating the product.

Managing Types

The next step after creating the search form is to define the various "groups" or aspects by which products can be filtered. These are referred to in redPRODUCTFINDER as "Types".

Click on the "Types" submenu link to bring up the Types listing screen. On this screen is an overview of the available types and the forms they are assigned to, the choice of selector for each type, and the facilities to reorder them and change their published status.


When adding a new type or editing an existing one, you can choose the type of selector that will be displayed on the search form, depending on how many tags customers should be able to use to search for products:

You can also add a brief description to clarify what the "type" is about in the Tooltip field. Tooltips are displayed on the search form next to each type that has one, and the description can be seen when hovering over the tooltip icon.

Managing Tags

Once you have your types set up, the next thing to do is to define the words or phrases that describe the product. These are referred to as "Tags", and they represent the options available for each type.


Clicking on the "Tags" submenu link to bring up the Tags listing screen. On this screen is an overview of the available tags and the types they are options of, as well as the facilities to reorder them and change their published status.


Tags can be assigned to one or more types; when adding a new tag or editing an existing one, hold down the control key on the keyboard and click on each type to highlight and select it. Tags can also be given "aliases", or alternative words that people might use which are similar in meaning. These tag aliases can be used to help direct customers to the right products by considering the search terms they are more comfortable with for that tag.

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