There’s been a lot of confusion on how to search on the site. So this article is written as a quick guide to how to search for what. The new site search is somewhat more complex but much more specific and those that have taken the time to learn it have generally found it to be much better at finding specific things, even Mike, bless his curmudgeon heart.
First lets quickly review what are the various areas of the site:
- Forums – Under the “Forums” tab – the various topics and their posts.
- CMS/Articles – Under the “Home” tab and/or Sections Tree Widget (this includes the technical FAQ entries).
- Messages – Visitor Messages (disabled on the BAC site).
- Downloads* – File archive under the “Downloads” tab.
- Classifieds* – Classifieds For Sale/Wanted listings under the “Classifieds” tab.
- Photos* – Pictures and their descriptions under the “Photo Gallery” tab.
- Calendar* – Events under the “Event Calendar” tab.
- Member List* – Our membership list.
- Private Messages* – Your PMs to and from other BAC users via the site.
Note the items with and without a *. The items without a * are searchable via the common vBulletin site search. The items with a * have their own specialized search. Review Page LayoutSome quick terminology…
The “Tab Bar” is the light blue bar across the top of the screen starting with “Home Forums” etc. This is important because the main site search is accessed via the text box and magnifying glass icon on the right end of this from any page in the site. It is (mostly) the same on every page of the site.
The “Navbar” is the dark blue bar immediately below the tab bar. It varies by site area and contains context sensitive menus. We have added a few common menus to help with some quick navigation. It is important because it is where you will find most of the custom feature searches.
Just to fill things out – the narrow columns right or left are the “sidebars”. In the case of the forum area the Sidebar can be “pulled” off to the right by hitting the bit >> icon to open up more screen real estate. Also in the forums area the various blocks in the sidebar and the topic groups themselves can be collapsed by clicking the ^ icon in the upper right, or expanded by hitting the v icon that appears in the same spot when you collapse them.
General vBulletin Search
Most of the site content is searchable via the general vBulletin search. This is accessible via the Search box in the right end of the Navbar. We have updated this to say “Type search then hit =>” so it is obvious. When you click in this box for the first time it should clear so you can type your search. Then hit or click the little magnifying glass icon immediately to the right – the very last thing on the right end of the Navbar.
By default the general search will search all of the available areas (those items without a * in the list above). To be more specific in your search click the “Advanced Search” link immediately below the search box at the right end of the dark blue navbar.
This will take you to a screen with two tabs – one for searching a single area, one for searching multiples.
“Articles” will search the CMS/Article area. This includes all the news articles and the technical FAQ entries. You can further narrow this by searching by author and date.
“Forums” and “Posts” both search the posts on the forums. You normally want to use “Posts”. You can search by user – such as finding something you know was written by Mike Rellihan. You can search by date and you can limit year search to specific forums. Use “Forums” when you want to have the search just return a forum name. This isn’t very useful for us – but some sites have 100s of forums.
“Visitor Messages” isn’t particularly useful as that feature is disabled on the site (it can and is used as a route for spam).
Now let’s move onto the various other custom searches. Remember that in general for the custom searches you first have to navigate to that area of the site by clicking the appropriate tabbar or navbar link.
DownloadsClick the “Downloads” tab on the tabbar. Then click the “Search Downloads” link on the dark blue navbar. Put your basic search in the Keywords box and click the “Search Now” button below and a bit to the right. You can have the software search just the description (“Search Titles Only”) or try to search the file itself (“Search Entire Files”). By default you’ll search all categories although you can search just a single category. You can also search by the author or uploader (the author is whatever was put in by the uploader, the uploader is the username of who uploaded the file).
ClassifiedsClick the “Classifieds” tab on the tabbar. There is a whole search box on teh fright. You can select category (all by default), expiration, etc. The primary search you’ll want to use is the “Text” box which will search the title and description fields. Then click “Start Searching“.
PhotosThis is probably one of the harder searches to find. Click the “Photo Gallery” tab on the tabbar. The photo gallery adds a 3rd bar which we’ll just call the gallery bar. On the right end of that will be a “Search” link. The search here can filter by username, categories, dates and more. But the keywords search itself is limited to whatever text the uploader provided when they uploaded the file. Then click “Execute Search” at the bottom center of the page.
CalendarClick the “Event Calendar” tab on the tabbar. Then click the “Search Events” tab. The tabs are immediately above the calendar that comes up (monthly by default). The Search Events tab is the rightmost tab. Search is pretty simple – put in text (optional) and a date range (no text will give you all events in a date range). The search will default to all events in the current month. Once you have a list you can also click the “iCalendar” button to have the site send the event(s) as an iCal download or “PDF Calendar” to download a nice PDF list of the events.
Member ListThis is new and a lot easier to get to than originally. Anywhere on the site go to the “Hot Links” menu and select “Detailed Member Search”. The entire set of searchable user profile fields are given (there are about 40). To search just put some text or select an item. Anything non-default becomes an “AND” in the search. Text fields are any partial match of the whole field. So “Mike John” will match “Mike Johnathan” but not “John Smith”. You can click the username in the list returned to get to that user’s profile page (as you can by clicking any username almost anywhere in the site. From there you can see lots of stuff including being able to search for all posts and topics by that user. You can also send a PM or an EMail from that page. We’ll talk more about some of this in a follow up article on “User Profiles”.
To get to your private messages you can select “My Profile” in the upper right of any page, then click the “Private Messages” link in the dark blue navbar. The search here (for now) is limited. There is no search on the contents of a message. You can however sort by date or search by user or date or the message title.
I hope this helps – search away – there is a wealth of data on the site and it is easier to find – you just have to be a little smarter with the tools.