A Better Way to Search MSDN


I have previously ranted about the Search capabilities of MSDN, so I decided to try and do something about it. I have created a Smart Search for MSDN page, which modifies a search engine query to greatly improve the hit rate. Well, at least it works for me: I tried all of the bad examples from my original blog entry and my Smart Search hits the right one, first time, for everything. It even uses MSN Search (though you can use Google if you really insist). The actual page is hosted on another site as I could not get the client-side script to work correctly when hosted on this site.

If you like it, or hate it, or have further suggestions, please use the Comments feature to tell me.

[apologies for the problems with the original MSN-hosted page]

Comments (12)

  1. Andy says:

    Can’t follow that link without being an MSN user?

  2. Paul M says:

    Apparently we aren’t wanted here. 🙁 Can we apply for amnesty?

  3. the_joric says:

    404 error when trying to see your page

  4. Tim says:

    I just get an empty page after I’ve logged in.

    "I…I’m not helping much, am I Dad?"

  5. Andy Pennell says:

    Sorry about the hosting problems, please try again.

  6. Robert says:

    It does work now. I typed ‘printf’ and the first page non of the links were to Microsoft or MSDN. Is that right?

  7. Andy Pennell says:

    Robert, what browser are you using? My client side script might be IE-only for all I know (I am no expert in it). You also need Javascript enabled in your browser: if the client script fails to run (for whatever reason), then you will get a vanilla MSN Search of hat you input.

  8. mikeb says:

    Nice. This may give me the kick in the rear to work up a toolbar add-in that filters out the WinCE/archive/Japan stuff. Thanks for following though on the annoyance…

    But, there’s a tiny bit of a bug – the script confuses the No WinCE option and the no archive option.

  9. Steve Bivens says:

    I’m seeing the same kinds of vanilla results that Robert is (eg ‘xml parsing samples’). I’m using IE with script enabled.

  10. Andy-Pennell says:

    I have fixed the CE/achive mixup and added an Error page, so those folks having problems might be able to provide me with some more diagnostics.

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