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Magento full text search improvements

Magento full text search works pretty adequately judging by the code structure, however it is not that accurate with large databases. For a 200,000 product database it might give out a few thousand products for a search term where the first ones are not relevant. Additionally, most likely the search would be rather slow in this situation. We have made investigation and found a way to improve the search mechanism.

First of all, the code of the full search is located in the following file, and we have to change it:

app/code/core/Mage/CatalogSearch/Model/Mysql4/Fulltext.php

Below is a part of the original code we have to change:

            if ($searchType == Mage_CatalogSearch_Model_Fulltext::SEARCH_TYPE_FULLTEXT
                || $searchType == Mage_CatalogSearch_Model_Fulltext::SEARCH_TYPE_COMBINE) {
                $fulltextCond = 'MATCH (`s`.`data_index`) AGAINST (:query IN BOOLEAN MODE)';
            }
            if ($searchType == Mage_CatalogSearch_Model_Fulltext::SEARCH_TYPE_COMBINE && $likeCond) {
                $separateCond = ' OR ';
            }

            $sql = sprintf("INSERT INTO `{$this->getTable('catalogsearch/result')}` "
                . "(SELECT '%d', `s`.`product_id`, MATCH (`s`.`data_index`) AGAINST (:query IN BOOLEAN MODE) "
                . "FROM `{$this->getMainTable()}` AS `s` INNER JOIN `{$this->getTable('catalog/product')}` AS `e`"
                . "ON `e`.`entity_id`=`s`.`product_id` WHERE (%s%s%s) AND `s`.`store_id`='%d')"
                . " ON DUPLICATE KEY UPDATE `relevance`=VALUES(`relevance`)",
                $query->getId(),
                $fulltextCond,
                $separateCond,
                $likeCond,
                $query->getStoreId()
            );

We can notice that mysql “IN BOOLEAN MODE” is used here. It's not a perfect solution for our situation, since in this case the search results are not sorted by relevance. It might be ok if you've received only one page of the result products, in other cases customers will get irrelevant information and will leave your site (I would :-( ). So we have to rework this search method:

            if ($searchType == Mage_CatalogSearch_Model_Fulltext::SEARCH_TYPE_FULLTEXT
                || $searchType == Mage_CatalogSearch_Model_Fulltext::SEARCH_TYPE_COMBINE) {
                $fulltextCond = 'MATCH (`s`.`data_index`) AGAINST (:query)';
            }
            if ($searchType == Mage_CatalogSearch_Model_Fulltext::SEARCH_TYPE_COMBINE && $likeCond) {
                $separateCond = ' OR ';
            }

            $sql = sprintf("INSERT INTO `{$this->getTable('catalogsearch/result')}` "
                . "(SELECT '%d', `s`.`product_id`, MATCH (`s`.`data_index`) AGAINST (:query) "
                . "FROM `{$this->getMainTable()}` AS `s` INNER JOIN `{$this->getTable('catalog/product')}` AS `e`"
                . "ON `e`.`entity_id`=`s`.`product_id` WHERE (%s%s%s) AND `s`.`store_id`='%d')"
                . " ON DUPLICATE KEY UPDATE `relevance`=VALUES(`relevance`)",
                $query->getId(),
                $fulltextCond,
                $separateCond,
                $likeCond,
                $query->getStoreId()
            );

In the second place we should improve the search speed. You can notice the “insert .. select” statement in the query, what means that the search results are stored in the search cache. That's fine, still it means that if 2000 records are returned by a search query, these 2000 records are added to the 'catalogsearch/result' table. That is unacceptable, thus we should decrease the number of search results. It's limited by a limit statement and relevance additional condition (> 4) in the match query. The final result is displayed below:

            if ($searchType == Mage_CatalogSearch_Model_Fulltext::SEARCH_TYPE_FULLTEXT
                || $searchType == Mage_CatalogSearch_Model_Fulltext::SEARCH_TYPE_COMBINE) {
                $fulltextCond = 'MATCH (`s`.`data_index`) AGAINST (:query) > 4';
            }
            if ($searchType == Mage_CatalogSearch_Model_Fulltext::SEARCH_TYPE_COMBINE && $likeCond) {
                $separateCond = ' OR ';
            }

            $sql = sprintf("INSERT INTO `{$this->getTable('catalogsearch/result')}` "
                . "(SELECT '%d', `s`.`product_id`, MATCH (`s`.`data_index`) AGAINST (:query) "
                . "FROM `{$this->getMainTable()}` AS `s` INNER JOIN `{$this->getTable('catalog/product')}` AS `e`"
                . "ON `e`.`entity_id`=`s`.`product_id` WHERE (%s%s%s) AND `s`.`store_id`='%d' limit 72)"
                . " ON DUPLICATE KEY UPDATE `relevance`=VALUES(`relevance`)",
                $query->getId(),
                $fulltextCond,
                $separateCond,
                $likeCond,
                $query->getStoreId()
            );

“4” in the relevance condition was chosen taking into consideration the search experience for this particular database. In general, it should be lower, otherwise you won't receive any results.

“72” in the limit just means 3 pages (24 products per page), if there are lots of products in the search results.

 
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