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Documentation & User Guides | FotoWare

Configuring default search behavior

This topic outlines how you can set the default mode of operation when a user performs a search, including search string modification.

This is configured under Settings - Behavior - Searching in the FotoWeb site configuration.

How FotoWeb searches

FotoWeb performs searches in the indexed archives through Index Manager. Index Manager receives a search string and parameters from FotoWeb. It then performs the search and returns the results to FotoWeb.

FotoWeb provides some parameters to configure these searches on three levels – the first being preparing the search string by doing required modifications, the second telling Index Manager how to perform the actual search and finally processing the search results.

Search options

FotoWeb search options and search string modifications

A search can return many thousand results. When that is the case, it is not always practical to present users with the entire result set for them to browse. When a search result is large, it means that the search parameters need to be refined so that a smaller and more relevant result set can be retrieved. The Maximum number of hits setting allows FotoWeb to define the maximum size of the data set to be presented to clients in case of large search results. Note that limiting the number of search results will not necessarily give you the most relevant files. It's important to teach your users to be specific when searching so they learn to limit the search results as much as possible.

Search timeout settings

If Index Manager gets many hits on a search in a relative large archive, it can take some time to prepare the result set and deliver to FotoWeb. If the system resources happen to be scarce during this operation, this time can be even longer. There can also be situations when Index Manager is not running or is busy in some other operations and use long time to respond to FotoWeb. Such situations can be handled by setting the Timeout value. FotoWeb will then wait for a maximum of these seconds and then continue processing without getting any results from Index Manager. The client will be presented with a proper error message and the system resources will be made available for next request.

Search string modification

These options allow an administrator to choose how literal search strings with no operators in between are combined:

  • using AND
  • using OR
  • Unmodified (as an exact phrase with a space between each two literals)


  • Search string modification is only applied when searching using the Search field in the main FotoWeb interface and in the Collection Queries API (not in the FotoWeb Pro interface).
  • When search string modification is enabled, it causes certain words, such as "and" and "or" to be removed from the search string.
  • Search string modification does not apply to custom search strings in taxonomies.


The search input apples bananas pears will be interpreted as follows

Option Actual search expression
AND "apples" AND "bananas" AND "pears"
OR "apples" OR "bananas" or "pears"
Do not modify "apples bananas pears"

Note that search these rules are only applied to simple search requests, i.e. requests that fulfills all of these criteria:

  • A flat sequence of unquoted words with no operators or predicates
  • The entire search expression is simple. In other words, search string modification is not applied to "simple" parts of a search expression
Which search expressions are "simple"?
Input Simple?
apples pears -bananas No, because an operator is used
apples bananas pears Yes
apples and bananas No, because an operator is used
apples "bananas" pears No, because a quoted string is used
apples 2014-01-01 ~~ 2015-01-01 No, because a range is used
(apples bananas) pears No, and the expression in parentheses is not treated as "simple", either
(apples bananas pears) OR cars No, and the expression in parentheses is not treated as "simple", either
25:apples 25:pears No, because field predicates are used

In all of the above examples that are not simple, AND is inserted where ever a logical operator was omitted, regardless of the search string modification setting. Only in the examples that are simple is the search string modification setting used.

Search Expansions

Synonym lists, stemming and phonetic search are features used by Index Manager directly and allow Index Manager to use its built in features to retrieve better and more precise search results. Please consult the Index Manager documentation for an explanation of how to use them.