SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR DYNAMICALLY GENERATING A SELECTABLE SEARCH EXTENSION
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
The subject matter of this application is related to the subject matter of U. S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/566,947 filed May 3, 2004 entitled “System and Method for Dynamically Generating a Selectable Search Extension”, which application is assigned or under obligation of assignment to the same entity as this application, from which application priority is claimed, and which application is incorporated by reference herein; and to the subject matter of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/440,035 entitled “System and Method for Filtering and Organizing Items Based on Common Elements” filed May 16, 2003, which is in tum a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/403, 341 entitled “System and Method for Filtering and Organizing Items Based on Common Elements” filed Mar. 27, 2003, each of which applications is assigned or under obligation of assigmnent to the same entity as this application, and each of which applications is incorporated by reference herein.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The invention relates to the field of computing, and more particularly to a platform for automatically generating a selectable search as a user inputs search terms, for instance matching file attributes or content to files in a file system, which search may be presented in Word-Wheel style and expand the level of directories or other point or level in file hierarchies in which the search may be performed.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
In the realm of operating system, application design and other fields, the need for a powerful and flexible search facility to search a user’s storage frequently arises. A user may wish, for example, to search his or her hard drive to locate all files of a certain type or extension, such as “.doc”, “.jpg”, “.memo”, “.report” or others to pull up documents to edit, print other manipulate in other ways. A user may likewise Wish to search for files based on associated metadata, such as file size, or date created or modified. A user may at times also choose to search for files based on intemal file content, such as desired text or numbers. The need to efliciently initiate and carry out these searches becomes particularly acute when the user is attempting to look through a large quantity of files or data. That situation may apply for example when a user is examining a national customer list in a CRM package, or updating contacts files or shared documents within a large corporation or other organization. In other cases, a user may Wish to sort or search through a collection or catalogue of musical, video or other media or file material. Some search tools and facilities have evolved in response to large-scale file search and other requirements.
For example, some applications and other packages may present the user with an input box type of search interface, where the user may enter search terms such as file extensions
or other attributes, or in-file characters or text. As the search, for example through a local hard drive and associated file system, progresses, files which partly or fully match the entered attributes or text may be displayed to the user to select or manipulate.
However, existing search tools may be constrained by certain limitations in usability or functionality. For instance, even such search tools as exist merely present the results gathered from searching the client or other file system at the current level or point in the file system hierarchy. So if no results are found in a given directory or folder, the user may be required to restart and reenter another search in another directory or folder, even when using the same search terms. LikeWise, existing search tools do not permit the concurrent execution of searches on both file attributes (extension, name etc.) as Well as deep or internal file searching, for instance to match text strings. Other problems in file management and search technology exist.
The invention overcoming these and other problems in the art relates in one regard to a system and method for dynamically generating a selectable search extension, in which a user may initiate a search through a file system based on file attributes or content at a current level or point in a file system hierarchy. In embodiments, the inventive platform may automatically generate on-the-fly results reflecting matches with files within the current level or point of the file system hierarchy. For example the platform may display a rumiing total of files whose name, date, size, author or other attributes or textual or other content match the input search term or terms as the user enters those terms. According to embodiments of the invention in another regard, when the immediate results to the user’s input search terms displays no or too few matches to any files in the current level or point in the file system hierarchy, or based on other conditions, a selectable search box may be automatically generated and presented. In embodiments the search box may dynamically suggest autocomplete strings for suggested or candidate search terms. The selectable search box may in embodiments be presented to the user in highlighted form, and permit the user to extend the search using the same search input or criteria to other levels by clicking or otherwise selecting a different level or point in the file system hierarchy, which may be highlighted or presented in a menu interface for quick activation.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 illustrates a platform in which a system and method for dynamically generating a selectable search based on input search terms may operate, according to embodiments of the invention.
FIG. 2 illustrates a search facility or interface including an input search box, according to embodiments of the invention.
FIG. 3 illustrates a search facility or interface according to embodiments of the invention in another regard, including multi-level searching.
FIG. 4 illustrates a flowchart of overall search extension processing, according to embodiments of the invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS
FIG. 1 illustrates an architecture in which a system and method for may operate, according to an embodiment of the invention. As illustrated in that figure, a user may use a manipulate a user interface 104 on a client 102 under control