All About the Custom Databases: Suggestion for describing search

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All About the Custom Databases

By dave
February 3, 2015

In today's article, I'll explain what our custom databases are, why we made them, how they work, and what kinds of powers they give us in using the database. Anyone interested in a specific kind of plant will likely find this information quite informative and useful!

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Name: Don Shirer
Westbrook, CT (Zone 6a)
Seed Starter
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DonShirer
Feb 4, 2015 6:37 AM CST
I just tried the search feature on the Tomato database and found a possible source of confusion. When I specified either "round" or "beefsteak" as the fruit shape, I got the list of results I expected, but when I clicked on both "round" and "beefsteak" instead of getting a consolidation of those two lists, I got no results. Likewise, if I choose both "determinate" and "indeterminate" I don't get anything. Apparently the choices within each category are combined with an 'AND' logical operator, not an 'OR'.

While such results make sense (fruits can't be both round and beefsteak shaped), first visitors to the database (like me!) may expect both choices to be combined, and be confused. I would suggest that your instructions suggest only making one choice in each category.

While it is just a little more work making separate searches for multiple choices, if it would not be too much trouble to change the search coding to use the OR logic within categories, that would be appreciated.

If I have misinterpreted the search actions, I apologize.
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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dave
Feb 4, 2015 7:20 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

Hi Don,

The reason I programmed this to use the AND operator is because in testing, the OR operator was never returning results granularly enough. You check off a bunch of fields, including say Perennial, and now every perennial in the database matches and the search was pretty much worthless.

I can see the value of an OR operator in some circumstances and I'll have to give a little thought about how to give the functionality without confusing too many people about what it does.

DonShirer said:I would suggest that your instructions suggest only making one choice in each category.


The box at the top of the search page does explain this. It says, "Choose your various options below, then click Search to view plants that match all the selected options. Note that your search results will only include plants that match ALL options you select."
Name: Don Shirer
Westbrook, CT (Zone 6a)
Seed Starter
Image
DonShirer
Feb 4, 2015 1:57 PM CST
Thanks for the clarification. One minor suggestion to improve clarity is to change "ALL" to "EVERY".

I also noticed that if you enter a cultivar name on the specific search form, no results will be found unless you also choose at least one compatible item (i.e. red color) on the traits selections.
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Image
dave
Feb 4, 2015 2:43 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

Good call, I changed the wording. Thank you for the suggestion.

As for the cultivar field, you do have to check something off before it will run that search. If you just want to search by cultivar name you should use the "Search by name" engine.

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