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Does anyone have some tips for displaying search results that come in batches and asynchronously from multiple locations? Is this a solved problem?

---Edit---

I mean from multiple devices and hence multiple databases.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Kayak does this when searching for flights; it queries a bunch of airlines in parallel and displays results as they come in, maintaining the sort you specified (by price, departure time, or whatever).

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Thanks! I'm doing something similar myself. I'm trying to not have the users wait like when using kayak or the other websites. The catch I think is (feel free to correct me) that in most scenarios users on kayak only want to care about the top few searches may be 2-3 if they don't like them they filter the searches as they want or search again. In my case they will look for one particular thing vs the best in a category. Hence I'm a little skeptical about continuously refreshing the screen, since the users will be reading a lot of the results that come in. Am I making sense? –  Viraj Sep 13 '11 at 15:48
    
Ah, yes that's a slightly different use case. Perhaps refresh + some visual discriminator (indentation, changebars, etc) for the newly-added items? I'm assuming order still matters to you else you'd just append to the bottom as stuff came in. –  Monica Cellio Sep 13 '11 at 21:57

well, ok, I guess you're meaning different databases. If the results all come in at different times you will not be able to produce a fair result set to the user.

You could scope the search. For each database create a separate scope and allow the user to select at time of submission.

examples of scoped search:

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I have to show results of all types from all locations and reorder the results as they come in (approximately). But I do have a filter in place to show specific results. :) –  Viraj Sep 13 '11 at 15:50

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