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RE: Re: Swish-E New Feature?

From: Scott Schultz <scott(at)>
Date: Fri Jan 22 1999 - 22:48:06 GMT
>Yann Stettler wrote:

>Huu ? You mean it's worth to add such codes in the program
>just because you can't ignore x lines and then print y ones in
>the front-end ?

>I don't see what's hard....

It's primarily a performance issue, not an inability
to do a simple array traversal. Swish-e can do it faster and
easier than the front-end. It already has the ability to limit
the number of returned results. Why not have it also start
returning at an arbitrary point and save the front-end from
having to do it? It's really a minor addition to the code.
A couple of lines in two files. It complements the existing
"-m number-of-results-to-return" flag. If we can already 
say "give me the first 100 results", what's wrong with
"give me 100 starting with the 30th result" ?

I'm actually a bit surprised that such a small thing has 
become a religious argument. If the goal is to
keep the program "pure" in the sense that it does its
intended job and no more, then Roy & Co. should remove
the -m flag. It's trivial, after all, for the front-end
to throw away the excess results. The reason someone
created the -m flag was so that they wouldn't have to 
deal with a problem that was trivial to deal with at 
the search engine; namely, limiting the results.
Aside from speeding up the search it removes the 
requirement for the front-end to have to allocate
resources to dealing with data it doesn't need and
won't use. 

Most of the front-ends to swish-e are going to be 
scripting engines like perl and PHP. I can assure you
from experience that it is much faster to have
swish-e limit the results it gives the engine than 
it is to have the engine swallow a bunch of irrelevant
data and throw it away. Coming from a user's point of view,
that is much more important to me than the purity of
the code. The development team may feel differently,
in which case I'll continue to use my customized version
of swish-e. 

Trust me, it would have been a lot simpler to write a few
lines of script to get rid of the excess than it was to 
go through someone else's C code, understand how it worked, 
and see where it could be changed. I wouldn't have made
the effort and then continued to use the customized swish-e
unless there was a real benefit. As a webmaster, that's the 
bottom line for me. Command-line flag bloat is pretty much
at the bottom of my list of concerns. 

Scott Schultz
Received on Fri Jan 22 14:50:07 1999