MediaWiki is a great resource for creating a dynamic training and information hub at my work but I’ve always wished the search function was better. I recently tried searching for “Video Server” forgetting that the page I was looking for was “Video Servers” and the MediaWiki search could not find the page.
I was able to go to another page I knew had the link I needed but this particular search brought up the lack of proximity search available on our current MediaWiki. I began to do some research into the options out there and came across Sphinx Search and its Mediawiki Extension. Sphinx Search is an open source search engine that runs on the server in the background and indexes the wiki.
I had some trouble getting it running the first couple of tries. I was able to install everything via the command line on our Windows 2008 Server R2 but whenever I started the Daemon it only said pending. When I ran a search in the wiki it returned no results at all. In the end I’m not sure what I did differently. Today when I got it working I deleted the service, then followed the installation instructions again. The only difference was when I started the Daemon and it said Pending I also checked the status of that service and it said it was running. I added the lines back into my localsettings and Bam! the search was running. I also added the “As You Type” suggesting box and I think the combination of the two will make our wiki a lot easier for people to use.