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Adding A Simple Search In 5 Minutes to a Ruby on Rails Site

Written Aaron Van Bokhoven on Oct 24, 2009

Prototyping a site in Ruby on Rails and need to add a simple search feature in less than 5 minutes?

Note: This should be for smaller projects because I’ll be using regular SQL queries for searching. If you’re looking for something more advanced, try thinking_sphinx(sphinx engine) or sunspot_solr(java lucene solr engine).

I’ll be using Searchlogic and will_paginate in this demo.

#install searchlogic
sudo gem install searchlogic

#install will_paginate
gem sources -a http://gemcutter.org
sudo gem install will_paginate

Then add the gem to the environment file.


config.gem "binarylogic-searchlogic", :lib => "searchlogic"
config.gem 'will_paginate', :version => '~> 2.3.11'

If you prefer to use github or the plugin version, check out their docs. I also suggest reading their docs to learn more about all the neat functions Searchlogic can do. It’s a very powerful and useful plugin.

We’ll be adding the search to Posts, so let’s start by adding the search route to our posts.


map.resources :posts, :collection => { :search => [ :post, :get ] }

This will give you the path /posts/search GET and POST.

Next add the search method to the PostsController.


class PostsController < ApplicationController

  def index
    @posts = Post.paginate(:all, :order => 'created_at desc', :per_page => 25, :page => params[:page])

  def search
    if request.post?

      #pass the post into a get with the 'q' param
      redirect_to search_posts_path(:q => params[:search][:query])

    elsif request.get?

      unless params[:q].blank?

        #Searchlogics title_like_all to search within titles in the Post model for any of the words in the query.
        #words in the string are split into an array by spaces
        search = Post.title_like_all(params[:q].to_s.split).descend_by_created_at

        #paginate the results
        @posts = search.paginate(:per_page => 25, :page => params[:page])

        #pass the query object to the view to let the user know what they searched for
        @query = params[:q]


      #render the Post index.html.erb
      render 'index'



The last part is the search form in your view.

	<% form_for :search, :url => { :controller => 'posts', :action => 'search' } do |f| %>
		<%= f.text_field :query, :value => @query%>
		<%= f.submit "Search", :disable_with => "Searching..."  %>
	<% end %>