I am building a website for a real estate. As a designer I started doing the design in Photoshop, I am about to convert it in HTML but before I begin doing that I would like to know some things as this is my major concern.

How to make a filterable search function that will display the results on a frame / div of the same page. Displaying the picture, and basic some info.

Search an item by location, property name and property type.

Display each item properly on their respective categories menu.

I know it can be done with existing open source ecommerce templates, but it's too hard for me to learn all of that just for what i need. Also it's a little hard to integrate a custom design on the frontend.

Any help will be appreciated, guides, how to's, samples/template or codes will greatly help.

Thanks a lot!

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Member Avatar for langsor

This is really a mouthful to address in one thread ...
1) You've got filterable search by various values
2) Displaying results either in an iFrame or dynamically with DHTML
3) Could you clarify this question or give an example of your category menus?
Display each item properly on their respective categories menu.

My advice is to search Google for site search utilities -- you will find tons of them out there for free many with filterable searching ... and this is probably a utility using PHP or ASP.NET or similar and not going to be using JavaScript

How you display results will partially be determined by what format the search utility returns the results in. An iFrame is easiest since it requires almost no scripting to get them on the page -- or again you could pre-format the results in PHP (likely, depending)
If you need or want to format the results with JavaScript then you are looking at either building <element> strings with your data and using innerHTML to inject the finished formatted html string into your page; or using DOM methods to create and populate results into the document. Either way you need to know how you're going to get the data from the search utility to the JavaScript (Ajax, <script src="...">, other ?)

I would start by finding your search utility and maybe working up some basic html page layout then come back here with more details.

Good luck

Hi langsor,

Thanks a lot for your reply, you're right it's a lot of question to answer in one thread. I actually Google about this first but with tons of result I don't know which and what to pick. I know there's a pretty straight forward using the Google search, but it not what I expect in the result. Take me as total newbie in Web Development.

To clarify things, here are it is...

1. The first image is my search function placed in the header. User has to choose a property type (office, residential,condo, lots) from the dropdown list then the location (city list) then result will be showed on the frame of the same page.

2. Displaying results either in an iFrame or dynamically with DHTML ( Yes! That's it! See also the second pic.)

3. Display each item properly on their respective categories menu. This is shown on the second image attachment. A sub category that when clicked will show the respective items under its category. This will also the frame to hold the search results.

I've done the main page in html and the search is what I really need now. Help me get started, or point where to begin and a good search utility you can suggest with a pretty good example how to use it. Thanks.

Member Avatar for langsor

I haven't really used search engines on my own sites yet, since most of them are pretty small ... but I get the concepts behind it and am taking a look around to see what I can dig up and recommend -- maybe someone with more direct experience will chime in here.

In the mean time, where do you keep the data / content for your site that needs to be searched. I would expect in a database considering the type of content we're looking at here, is it MySql?

Let me know

I haven't establish my database yet, but even with no experience at all I'm already considering using MySQL. I have set up a WAMP server in my local machine to test this site to, I'm playing around here to get acquainted.

Hopefully someone who have done this pops up.

Thanks langsor.

I had a look at Open Realty CMS.

This is likely what I want, is there a way to get its search function except that when I click the category, it'll just show all items under that category? Hope someone can help. Thanks.

Member Avatar for langsor

Yes, anyone with experience doing this please join in...

My current thought, since you have all of your data in a database (or will) is to use SQL query type full-text searching and then do a reverse look up (cookie crumbs to the page that displays that data, or a completely dynamically generated search results page) of the matching values.

This is probably the usual way anyway for dynamic sites -vs- indexing the pages of the site (which may make more sense for sites with a wide variety of unique and related category pages).

The fun part of searching a database from user input are wild-card characters, checking for misspellings, checking for partial or related words (returning housing in results when the search term was house), omitting common words (the, a, or, ...) and stuff like that which appears in most texts or at least not having those words wieght the relevancy of results.

I did find some resources you might want to look at ...

Full-text databas searching

Why searches fail

A zip file of all the shortcuts I saved doing this research

I also discovered hosted search utilities, but I believe most of them are more appropriate for indexed pages type searching.

Will toss out anything else relevant I find about your project.

Member Avatar for langsor

With the Open Realty CMS they somewhat avoid the issue of having user input in their search by providing specific fields that return results and match up to specific fields in their database.

It makes sense really, and simplifies the back end a great deal.

What would you do to change it, or make it more flexible or tailored to your needs?

I think theirs is a two step search, you pick the overall category, then you select your preferences in that category and get the results that fit those preferences.

I think theirs is a two step search, you pick the overall category, then you select your preferences in that category and get the results that fit those preferences.

Well, I think the most appropriate approach is the last search technique that you mentioned. This will lessen time for the error trapper on the back end. This is really what I need.

I appreciate the links you provided, but it's too advance for me at this point. I'll take the "Two Step Search".

Calling someone who done this please!

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