Support » Everything else WordPress » Integrate Custom External Search Engine to Search all files on server?

  • Greetings:

    I am tasked with evaluating server download, not as a blogging tool, but as a potential help/support site tool (by the way, if a WP version were actually DESIGNED for this purpose, it would blow away every Help Authoring Tool (HAT) currently on the market!! and these server HAT’s, e.g. RoboHelp Server, start at $3000 and go up from there!! — you heard it here first ;-).

    OK, back to initial questions. The first issue I see is that there will be no way to search across all files on the server, including all WP “static pages” and all other .html pages which comprise existing user guides (linked to and opening in a new window from the WP static pages). We’d like to integrate a full featured search engine, like ZoomSearch, and include this search box on all WP pages in place and instead of the WP search box, which is essentially useless to us if it just searches our few WP pages. The number of results in searching plugins and this forum with the search term “search” is overwhelming, so I need some experienced guidance here.

    Fast on the heels of the first question, is there a way to integrate pages apart from the main WP template, i.e., a secondary or child template which has different layout and content? Behind this question is the idea of somehow integrating our existing .html user guides into the WP framework. We can’t have the same sidebar navigation that we’d have on parent WP pages.

    One requirement for the WP integrated guide would be some way to have navigation headings (e.g. “Chapters”) with content topic sub-navigation (e.g. “Sections”), preferably expanding/collapsing if possible. Anyone got a site with anything like a user guide that I could have a look at?

    We do not need the Flash-y frameset, or any HTML framseset, etc. you’ll see there around the content topics, but you can get an approximate idea what our guides are like at Unfortunately our actual guides are behind a login.

    Finally (for this post anyway ;-), I am impressed at what has been done at which I understand to be a site — or am I mistaken, and is it a site with all Premium features, or does this distinction matter? Just what plugins are they using to essentially design a custom site while keeping the best of the WP features? I am in serious need of help finding relevant layout customization plugins (and/or templates), and any assitance is keenly appreciated.


    “I am but an egg.”
    –Stranger in a Strange Land

    P.S. Does anyone know whether it is possible to have WP installed on a server and still run a server Help Authoring Tool with its own installation on the same server??

Viewing 10 replies - 1 through 10 (of 10 total)
  • WordPress runs quite well in it’s own folder while the rest of the site does whatever it wants. WordPress now drives my whole site but WordPress started in it’s own directory for some time (still there actually – I “moved” it to drive the whole site – two files). Many sites have WordPress driving just a “blog” section with html doing the main site – others have several separate installs of WordPress on the same site.

    Hope this helps a bit –

    Great thanks, Saildude! Yes, it does indeed help. The multiple installations in particular would seem to solve a bunch of problems.

    For instance, why not have an installation for each of two dozen user guides? as well as one for general content, perhaps prefaced by a custom HTML home page? That way the side navigation ruled by the template can be customized for each guide, and they can all enjoy the feedback and other features of WP. Hmm, you’ve got me cooking now.

    This also solves the search problem, or would if there were some way to remove the native WP search box and replace it with one with searches everything on the server, or at least a way to remove it and create a custom search page with a third-party engine that will search the whole server. Ideas anyone?

    What and where do you sail by the way? I trailer a 20′ paceship, formerly out of Newport RI now out of Lake champlain NY/VT.



    WordPress MU (Multi-User) can drive many blogs with only one install – the blogs are separate but one master driver – WordPress and WordPress MU are going to merge in a few months – right now MU is a bit trickier to install than plain WordPress.

    WordPress also has “Pages” and a Page can be set as the landing or opening page, so you might not need to have any html stuff for the separate user guides. Just drop the user on a Page that has a quick overview and home page – WordPress will handle a lot of Pages – They are best for static or stuff that does not change much – I use Pages on my site for a bit of information I want easy to get to. I have a Sticky Post that has helpful boating links (Post stays at the top of Posts)

    If you click on my name you can see what I did with my site – very modest but does what I need done.

    There are a LOT of Plug-ins that add tons of features to WordPress:

    WordPress is very flexible and the flexibility can be put in the Theme so you don’t have to redo base code each time an upgrade is done. Lots of Themes so you don’t need to reinvent the wheel:

    I sail a J/92 (J Boat, 30 ft, retractable bowsprit with asymmetrical spinnaker, yes fairly fast without the spin) out of Seattle on Puget Sound. Live about 12 minutes from the marina – can be out of the marina in under 30 min from the time I leave the driveway)

    There are a couple of other links below that should help a bit understanding what WordPress can do. Many people are driving their whole site with WordPress as a CMS.

    J/92 — awesome, and 12 minutes from the marina, sailing as it should be. I’m jealous ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Re: “WordPress also has “Pages” and a Page can be set as the landing or opening page, so you might not need to have any html stuff for the separate user guides. Just drop the user on a Page that has a quick overview and home page – ”

    I got that far, but the problem is one template rules all the pages, and what do I do with the navigation for the guide? Can’t put it on the side column, can’t put it within the guide’s content “pages” either. That’s were the multiple installations come in. How would WP multi-user differ from multiple installations of regular WP?

    Multi-user would be promising if each could have a different side column navigation, then each guide could be set up as a “user” and main user can link to the other users? Hard to know without trying it out. Is there a multi-user site you can point out for me to look at?

    Or is there some way to have parent/child templates as well as parent child pages, so it can have its own navigation?

    At some point I have to ask, why not just build what you want in HTML, and forget about trying to muscle WP into something it isn’t. But it’s a damn shame. With a little tweaking WP could be re-designed as a world class Help Authoring Tool (HAT) and blow the big players right out of the water.

    Many thanks for the urls.


    The object is to spend time sailing not the other stuff – with a roller furling and main on slugs it takes me longer to warm the engine up than get the boat ready to leave the dock.

    Templates – we are getting to the fringe of my knowledge here – but you can have as many templates as you have pages – never messed with the templates part, but my Theme came with three pre-made Templates – I have just used the Default regular one. Each page could have it’s own template.

    Not sure about the Parent Child Templates question.

    Each “blog” in any WordPress system is independent of each other as far as the look and feel, where the Nav. stuff is etc. You could have one side bar on right, next is sidebar at the bottom, then sidebar on the left, and let’s go back to to a right sidebar but put two of them on the right side – page through some of the Themes to get a feel for the different look and feel, you could use one of each on your system and have 1,000++ different look and feels and where and how Navigation is done.

    The sidebar can also be changed from inside each WordPress “blog” by just dragging and dropping options.

    WordPress.COM is the best known MU system – something like 10,600,000 independent “blogs”


    Many users of MU, Harvard just put a big news system up, Ford Motor, CNN News blogs are hosted by, I can’t find the link right now that highlights all the different advanced systems, in the News or something. I have some appointments this morning I need to get to, but I have a note somewhere about the other systems, when I find it I will post it back here.

    If I understand what you want to do correctly the whole site search is the only thing that looks tricky. Many affiliated “blogs” with a bit different look, feel and navigation is fairly straight forward (OK as things scale up new things need to be thought about, but WordPress was designed to scale up).

    There are other systems, DotNetNuke is one that and organization has just used to deploy a whole new system, described as “Think WordPress on Steroids” when they were trying to explain things to me.

    I will try and post a few more reference links later today.

    good luck


    Part of the problem, regretably, I don’t have a server yet on which to have WP installed to play with it. Instead, the only thing I have to play with and go on is, and it is becoming increasingly clear that is radically different.

    From what I can see in, there is no way to apply a template to a page, or a theme for that matter. You pick one and that rules all pages. Or what am I missing? I’ll put the question to them, but I was scouring the interface for some way to customize the nav on individual pages and could find none.

    I could use a bunch of urls to sites, especially if any have anything resembling a user guide. If I can see it done and show it to others I can get some buy in. Hard to do that with the WP documentation, even if I could find the right topics.

    Looking forward to your links.


    You can install WordPress to run on your desktop PC. I have two installs on my PC that I have used for development and just goofing off. I used xampp as the software that makes my PC into a server (I don’t do any network stuff with the installs) – was a bit tricky – I think the Moderator Sambo has a link to easy install instructions for xampp. There are others that will also allow WordPress to be installed on your desktop. Many developers do development work with xampp or a similiar system. Took me a bit to figure out how to do things but the only mistake I made was not the intended directory. I was able to make changes to the Theme then put it on my web site in a separate directory, turned off the Search engines and then I could demo the idea to others.

    You could put it on a laptop and just carry it around for the demos.

    WordPress.COM & .ORG are both similar and different. You want to limit some of the choices when there are 10,600,000 accounts to make support easier. Yes no Page Templates on .COM but they have added extra functions in the Widgets that .ORG software takes a Plug-in to do.

    WordPress.COM does not want a user to upload a broken Theme or Plug-in that will crash a site. So they are cautious on the features, but things like a Contact Form are built into their Themes so they offer great functionality but still easy to support.

    Your system would be a bit like MU in that I would expect you to have a limited number of Themes and options to make support easier, but still offer the tools that the users need. .COM does have 85 or so Themes, many that can be modified greatly, the use of css (cascading style sheets) can change the look, colors, type style and size etc.

    WordPress.COM has a grab bag of recently updated blogs on their home page. Did not see a way to step through all 10,600,000 blogs. There was one that was a Hockey Team – did not look stock at all, quite nice with it’s own URL. They also have an active forum for members (need a WordPress.COM blog to post there, but real helpful people there also)

    Looking at the sites on the opening page will give you a feel for what others are doing, some sharp some not so sharp.

    Get yourself a test blog on WordPress.COM and give the software a spin.

    The user guides is a sore point with some, I give mixed reviews to the Codex in part because parts were written for a knowledge level above me. I have found the book “WordPress for Dummies” by Lisa Sabine-Wilson. Starts with basic and works up to some pretty serious work.

    Page through the Themes (link above) to get an idea of look and feel.

    All the Themes on .ORG are released under the GPL (License) and you can change them as much or as little as you want so you don’t need to start at square one and reinvent the wheel. Questions on how to do something can be posted here and in most cases you get top quality help. Nobody is paid here that provide the help, we all be volunteers, many of the Moderators as well as other members that help are WP developers or at a minimum probably have their own site or sites.

    There are some links below:

    “Showcase” think many examples on how new sites were done, what they look like, why they choose WordPress and in many cases how they did it and problems that were faced.

    Showcase ยป Harvard Gazette Online

    Showcase ยป Wonkette

    Showcase Home

    Showcase >> Archive

    Hopefully this will help a bit more.

    Good luck



    I’ve had a “site” to try since Monday (, but I am sure it is vastly more restrictive than the Yes, there are a few clunky “widgets” without which you could do absolutely nothing with the side column(s), but there is apparently no such thing as a “template,” only “themes,” and it’s anyone’s guess where your nav will end up from theme to theme, or whether it will be visible at all. Also, no way I can see to put nav on a “page” that is not on every single page via the “theme.”

    The desktop option is very, very tempting, but this is for work and IT here ties these machines up every which way re: installations. I have a tentative promise they will install on one of our staging servers here sometime next week (will believe it when I see it). Thanks for the heads up on xampp though, had no idea a fake server were possible on PC apart from IIS.

    Yes, thanks, I was looking over some site samples before seeing this, and from my newbie lens NONE of the sites would be possible as sites. Even the codex page ( has a grey content box of links and some other nifty layout features apparently impossible in

    I’m really not looking for the world here ๐Ÿ˜‰ Really, just the ability to have one “page” with different nav from another. We wouldn’t be having any “blogs” per se, though we can call our 20 or so guides “blogs” if that makes a big difference in the functionality and layout available to it.

    Yes, may end up with “for dummies” or something like it. Codex is a tough read ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Appreciate all the help.



    I took the “blog” name off my web site and just refer to it as my web site. Call it what ever you want, I would call them “Guide.”

    When people ask me how I do my site I reference WordPress software and P.S. by the way it is “blog” software.

    Fought the IT and code control from both sides of the desk at different lives, you have my sympathy with the large company stuff. But one large company that had real formal software testing and sign-off requirements, I was doing a series of programming upgrades and I saw they were setting up the testing team for another group working on the same types of changes. But nobody was telling me who my test team was to check my work. So one day I want and ask my boss what was happening and where was my test team, told me there was no team, that they were just going to take my word that the systems worked as required – after so what the h*** you gotta be kidding reaction on my part, he explained that by the time I finished testing my work that I would have tested it way above what anybody in my group could test to! Nice vote of confidence but a bit different.

    Good luck.

    The book is not really for “dummies” but a very good walk through, even I can understand most of it.


    Sorry samboll for messing up your name – given my memory and spelling I knew I should have checked.


Viewing 10 replies - 1 through 10 (of 10 total)
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