AppleSearch.acgi is a gateway program between your WWW browser, MacHTTP, and AppleSearch. AppleSearch is an indexing/document delivery technology developed by Apple. (It is a lot like the WAIS technology originally co-developed by Thinking Machines, Apple Computer, and Dow-Jones, but in reality is it based on the Personal Librarian technology.)
AppleSearch can provide two types of interfaces: an ISINDEX interface and FORMS interface. The ISINDEX interface is rudimentary but allows the same searching syntax as the FORMS interface.
To get AppleSearch to work for you, you must first purchase AppleSearch. It is available from most Macintosh mail order companies for about $1,400. It also a part of the Apple Internet Server Solution. After setting up the AppleSearch server, you must index your data. The AppleSearch.acgi application can only deliver ASCII text files, so make sure the data you intend to make searchable is simple text. Once your data is indexed, all you have to do launch the AppleSearch.acgi program and your are ready to go.
If you want to customize AppleSearch.acgi's user-interface, then you will have to edit a few TEXT resources from the AppleSearch.acgi application itself. The documentation explains how to do this, but be forewarned. Editing documents with tool like ResEdit is not like using regular text editors. Be sure to keep a backup of your work. Editing either the ISINDEX or FORMS interface to AppleSearch.acgi is not difficult, but just a bit scary if you do not have much practice with ResEdit.
AppleSearch.acgi and AppleSearch provide a fast and effective way to search a set of indexed data. Its searching features are robust and yet flexible. It supports nested Boolean queries, wild card searches, and can be used to search remote WAIS databases.
On the other hand, AppleSearch is expensive both in terms of dollars as well as computing resources. AppleSearch requires at least a 68040 processor and 5MB of RAM.
If your indexed data contains relative URLs, URLs not specifying the complete paths to other documents on our server, then the links in the documents returned by AppleSearch.acgi will not work. This is because AppleSearch includes the full path name of the documents it indexes. Consequently, since relative linked documents are being retrieved from a location other than the one intended by the document's author, the links fail.
Last, like TR-WWW, described in the next section, AppleSearch.acgi ultimately returns file names. AppleSearch.acgi does not return the HTML titles of documents. The means you, as the information provider, must save your HTML documents with the most meaningful names possible in order to help your end-users effectively evaluate the output of AppleSearch.acgi.
This page was first published on September 26, 1995. Feel free to send comments.