Full-Text Search Operators – Part 4: Wrapping it up

"iPod nano 4Gb wrapping" by Darkmere
That’s a wrap!

Part 1: Cleaning up parentheses in a string
Part 2: Replacing alternate operators
Part 3: Splitting the search string

Gee, it’s been over a month since my last post already! Since then we’ve been crazy-busy at work, but the good news is that we have a few promising DBA candidates to interview over the next week or two.  I’ve also spoken at the Christchurch and Auckland SQL Server user groups, which were both awesome!

Anyway, to the point of this post. This will wrap up the series on my solution to the challenge of creating a T/SQL-based Google-like search term handler for SQL full-text. In this exciting episode I’ll run through how I handle quotes (single & double quote pairs), the “near” operator, and then the building of the final full-text command.

NEAR enough…

“NEAR” is a full-text proximity operator. This sounds really straightforward, but the catch here is that it actually behaves exactly like the default “AND” Boolean operator unless you’re filtering based on the full-text rank value returned by CONTAINS or CONTAINSTABLE.

In other words, if you search for “dog NEAR cat”, then all documents returned must have both “dog” and “cat” in them.  Where NEAR is different to AND, is that it awards a higher score to documents where “dog” and “cat” are 50 characters or less apart (with a higher score the closer the terms are to each other, or 0 if they are more than 50 characters apart).
So in order for NEAR to actually limit your search results, you’ll need to add a WHERE clause to your query, limiting results to those with ranks greater than 0. Read more here.

It’s pretty well commented, and isn’t very complicated so I won’t waste any more space here explaining it. If you do have any questions please feel free to leave me a comment though!

Builderer of awesome

This next bit basically takes the content of the table variable (which now contains our correctly formatted and tidied up command fragments), and smushes them together.  It’s not pretty, but it works.

That’s it – I’ve left out some of the fluff in-between the various blocks of code, but have attached the full stored proc here for you to download and tinker with. All I ask is that if you make it better, please let me know so I can improve on this. It could definitely use some love to make it prettier and more efficient, although if pure performance is your goal you should probably investigate a CLR solution instead.

DB Dave


  1. Peter Davies

    Just a note to say excellent work DBDave, and I never really do this but you have saved me a ton of work with this.
    Given me lots of new ideas to play woth as well.

    Again Superb

  2. Pingback: Full-Text Search Operators – Part 1: Cleaning up parentheses in a string - database dave

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