Recently we released a new version of Minerva knowledge base, and I’d like to write about some features in details. Version 1.3.6 was mainly focused on fixes and theme compatibility improvements, as well as code refactor, but we added one important feature – dedicated search results page. This feature was requested by many customers and finally it’s ready. But first I’ll list the whole change log.
Release notes for 1.3.6
- Dedicated search results page added
- Desktop/mobile/tablet device detection added
- Custom css option added
- Added possibility to disable live search by platform. For example, you can keep live search on desktop and tablet, but disable it on mobile and use dedicated search results page instead
- Container and sidebar width settings added
- Added content hooks for tag and archive page templates
- Generic text strings moved to localization tab
- Pagination layout and styles added. Now you can choose between plugin and theme pagination
- Added theme compatibility settings (include/exclude header and footer)
- Fixed bug with notice about is_tax called incorrectly
- Fixed width issues for themes that use flexbox display mode and/or content-box CSS model
- Major code cleanup and refactor
- Public hooks API rewritten
- Search results now returned by relevance
- Login form width fixed on mobile
- Added table of contents scroll offset option
- Twenty Seventeen theme CSS fixes
- Eduma theme compatibility fixed
Now let’s describe some features in more detail.
Dedicated search results page
Initially we planned not to add dedicated search results page and focus on live search instead. The idea was that the user wants to get to the article as quickly and easily as possible, without the extra step of search results page. While this is true and we’ll continue to improve ajax live search results, what we found is very often users don’t even wait for live search response and hit Enter right away. And nothing happens, which is confusing, of course.
Another important issue is search on devices. While desktop has plenty of space to show search results dropdown with any amount of details, tablets and especially mobile usually don’t.
Last but not the least, search results page has unique URL, that can me added to bookmarks or shared via any medium.
So now, since version 1.3.6, Minerva KB has all these benefits added to it. Here’s how search results page looks with default settings:
The results page is customisable, of course: you can remove likes, dislikes, views, topic meta, add background colour to search term match and change the length of the excerpt.
As you can see, search results are ordered by relevance: articles with match in title are ranked higher, for example. Also, we display excerpt with the first match found centered, so the user sees right away why this article is shown to him.
Also, search results page has its own sidebar.
And here’s how the URL looks for this search:
As you can see, we add extra query parameter to the request, source=kb. This way we can differentiate between knowledge base search and normal WordPress search and customise only our search, leaving the default unchanged. Also, it adds the ability to use KB search from any other plugins or from within your theme with no extra coding or any APIs, just plain old HTTP GET request.
Live knowledge base search by platform
One more thing we added in terms of search flexibility is ability to disable live search by platform. Now you can use both live search dropdown and results page on desktop, but disable ajax search on mobile and/or tablets.
You can try it on our demo – we disabled live search for mobile phones to show how it works. Devices detection uses user agent header, so you cannot test it with resizing the browser window, but you can use device emulation in Chrome devtools or real device.
Another feature request by our customers is ability to tweak pagination. Originally Minerva KB used theme pagination (if theme uses default WordPress layout and classes, of course). Now you can change this and use plugin pagination. Here’s the example:
You can change text and colors in settings, of course. And here’s how it looks with default pagination on Twenty Sixteen:
So if your theme adds styles to default WordPress pagination, you can use it here.
That were the most important features in this release. We’re already working on 1.3.7, which will make Minerva KB even better.
Stay tuned and don’t hesitate to send us your questions, change requests or ideas.