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We will convert the catalog in to HTML and create a self contained site that will be burned on to a cd, the end user may or may not have an internet connection so the search mechanism must be on the cd.
What the client would like is something cross platform (we will be creating it on Macs) wherein somebody looking for a blue size 32 widget will be able to enter that in to a search box and will then be returned results that can be then clicked on to go to the page with the blue size 32 widget..
Any thoughts on how I could implement this type of search without having to write a script.... meaning an off the shelf solution paid for or not....
Thanks in advance.
you will have to read the descriptions of each one and see if any of them are what you are looking for.
I've not used these, I just did a quick Google Search, you could do the same.
In theory this is the best solution but in practise it's very hard to implement.
If it has to be customer-friendly you'll have to write some scipts that starts Apache and MySQL as well as opens the first page of the catalogue in a browser. You might even want to install a browser too in order to be sure of having one, but doing so also means that you have complete control - eg if choosing Firefox/Mozilla you can use XUL to create an interface to the catalogue.
All in all, you'll need at least three binary installs - Windows, Mac, x86 Linux - and a script for each of the platforms to start things up.
Another way to go will be static web-pages with an embedded search engine written in Java, but then we once again have the problem of whether or not the correct version of Java is installed on the customer's computer.
In short, there's no easy solution to the search problem.