A little while ago I posted a piece examining some of the shortcomings in the way that search strategies are currently expressed; arguing that the approach essentially hasn’t changed in decades. Moreover, it is predicated on a rather primitive notation that owes much to first generation basic, relying on arbitrary concepts such as line numbers to convey structure and organisation.
Now longevity of course isn’t in itself isn’t a vice, especially given the degree of familiarity that it can generate. But that is precisely my point: I suggest that the notation we use to express search strategies is popular at best for reasons of convention, and at worst for reasons of monopoly: there is simply no other show in town. There is no Dyson to challenge this monolithic Hoover of a formalism.
The discrepancy becomes even more apparent when we consider the evolution of programming languages during this period: they also attempt to express complex logical expressions in a parsimonious and elegant manner, but the tools, techniques and languages offered by contemporary software development are unrecognisable from those of even two decades ago, let alone the days of 1st generation basic.
So you perhaps won’t be too surprised to learn that we’ve been working on an alternative. We’re building a prototype app which jettisons the baggage of forty years of convention and starts from a fresh slate. Like any prototype, it’s a work in progress and we need feedback from stakeholders to help us shape the initial concept and guide the embodiment in a direction that supports real user needs. So with that in mind, we’re inviting prospective users to join us in a private beta. To sign up, just point your browser to 2dsearch.com. The name itself should give you a hint toward our thinking; if not then I’ll let the blurb elaborate further:
“2DSearch is a patent pending, radical alternative to traditional search techniques. Instead of a one-dimensional search box, concepts are expressed and manipulated as objects on a two-dimensional canvas. So you spend less time worrying about Boolean strings, and more time creating effective search strategies.”
So if complex search is your thing, or you’d simply like to explore an alternative to the status quo, come and join us in thinking outside the search box.