RidgeStar search functions normally2 contain what is called a Criteria Area, where the Visitor can specify values that will restrict the resulting records to a desired subset. The Criteria Area may be made up of a series of pulldowns, checkboxes, radio buttons, and/or open text boxes (where you simply type a desired value).
Many of the "text boxes" are what we call text Fragment fields. They're called Fragment fields because you are permitted to enter only a portion of the text value being searched to locate a record. For instance, the name "Smith" can be located using the Fragment of "SM", "ith", "i" or any portion (fragment) of the character string.
To see how this works, click to the demonstration Simple List and:
The percent sign is what we identify as a "Masking Character" that permits you to control the Fragment search. Available Masking Characters are:
If you omit both Masking characters in the characters typed into a Fragment field, the system will insert a percent sign at the front AND the back of whatever you enter.
To help you understand how this works, consider the following table:
Special Search Keywords
There are also several special use keywords that can be entered to perform specialized database searches based upon the contents of the Fragment field. The special search keywords are identified by the use of a special symbol defined by the Webmaster (usually an equal sign) via Setting=Criteria. The special search keywords are case insensitive and ignore embedded blanks. Available keywords are:
The flexibility and power of Fragment searches is quite useful, but .... it is important that you understand how to use it effectively. Happy Searching!!
The RidgeStar Fragment fields ALSO provide support for "Regular Expressions" (see WikiPedia for a general description of what a Regular Expression is). You can also feel free to perform an Internet Search for "regular expression" and you'll find a large variety of resources describing what they are and how to specify them.
It's important to understand that you do NOT have to have a working knowledge of Regular Expressions to make use of the sites. But, if you are the type that considers yourself a "power user" you may find the use of a Regular Expression in the Fragment criteria fields quite useful.
To help you understand how simple case insensitive Regular Expressions can work, consider the following table of examples:
2Some Webmasters have opted to implement a different mechanism within their Site's Fragment fields. If your site does not operate as described here, please contact your Webmaster.