Coming in SearchWP 4.0: Custom Content Support! Proper Multisite Global Search!

March 9, 2020

In continuing the trend of making information about SearchWP 4 available, there are a couple of major things to outline in this post:

  1. Custom content support
  2. Proper Multisite global search

These two changes have been a very popular feature request leading up to the release of SearchWP 4, it’s very exciting to announce their availability!

Custom content support

SearchWP 3.x integrated only with content powered by WordPress’ WP_Post objects. This accounted for Posts, Pages, Media, and all registered Custom Post Types. This limitation was baked into the DNA of SearchWP itself, and the only way to work around it was to implement some sort of code solution to work around it.

While satisfying the majority of use cases, there are many circumstances in which site data is stored in a custom database table and made available through other means when editing your WordPress site. Unfortunately this content was inaccessible to SearchWP for a variety of reasons.

To circumvent the problem, some customers would mirror content to a ‘hidden’ Custom Post Type which SearchWP could work with. Other customers would dynamically pull in the content by using any number of SearchWP hooks. While these implementations got the job done in most cases, it was definitely a workaround.

A major goal of SearchWP 4 was to remove this limitation, and that’s been done! SearchWP 4 can be set up to index anything with a local database table. This includes Posts, Pages, Media, and all registered Custom Post Types. It also includes Users!

Not only that, but anything with a custom database table can be indexed and made searchable by SearchWP 4 as well.

This change has been made possible by the rewriting of the indexing process and search algorithm, and it will allow for integration with countless content setups within your WordPress installation.

How does it work?

SearchWP 4 has a concept of Sources, and each Source represents a content type that can be indexed/searched. In building out a Source a database table relationship is established, along with all attributes for that Source e.g. Title, Content, Slug, and anything else facilitated by the Source.

More information will be made available in the documentation for SearchWP 4, but the overarching rule is that if your content is stored in a database table and it has a column that maintains a unique ID for each entry, SearchWP can work with it and all of its attributes!

Proper Multisite global search

Another often requested feature that was not supported prior to SearchWP 4 is a global Multisite search that can search and return entries from any number of sites within a WordPress network installation.

SearchWP 4 can search across Multisite installations! When performing searches you will be able to specify which site(s) for which you would like results. SearchWP will handle retrieving those sites and returning them in such a way that minimizes the workload on your part. You’ll be able to mix and match searches across single or multiple sites in any way you’d like.

This is a big change that many customers will welcome, and it’s thrilling to have the opportunity to make it available. A change like this was fundamentally related to the decision to make SearchWP 4 a complete rewrite, and one of the reasons that such an undertaking was worth the effort that has been put into it.

Powerful new features

These two new features coming in SearchWP 4 will make it an extremely powerful solution for on-site WordPress search. Additional information and documentation outlining the specifics of these changes will be made available leading up to the release of SearchWP 4. Stay tuned!

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