SQL for keyword Search

search keyword by Query Search options are common in web pages and we can give option to visitors to search for keywords to locate the article or data within a site. Here we will apply the search to an existing table. The visitors will enter one or more than one keywords in the search box and we have to develop a query based on the selection of the visitor. Here we will discuss how to create a sql query to apply to the database with multiple keywords. Basically we will focus on construction of sql using keywords and will not go into details of getting the result or displaying in proper format with page breaks.
Search for Pin code and other details of an Indian location by entering keywords and selecting matching suggestion using JQuery autocomplete with database as source.
Autocomplete Search
Here we will give the option to the visitor to search for exact match or any where match on the table. For this we will use our student table and apply the search to the name field of the MySQL table. Based on the selected type of search we will generate the sql. Here are the steps required to develop a keyword search.

Demo of Keyword Search

Once the form is submitted check if the visitor has asked for exact match or any where match using if condition. Before that we will remove the blank space from left and right of the search sting by using ltrim and rtrim functions.
If the visitor has asked for exact match then create the query using simple where condition. Else .. If the visitor has asked for any where matching of keywords then read the search term and break it into array of keywords using explode command. Then loop through all the element of the array of words and create the sql command using like command for each word or the element of the array. Here is the code for this.
$kt=explode(" ",$search_text);//Breaking the string to array of words
// Now let us generate the sql 
if($val<>" " and strlen($val) > 0){$q .= " name like '%$val%' or ";}
			}// end of while
You can see we have broken the search text using explode command and then looped through the keywords. Here using one if condition we have taken care that blank space are removed in formatting the sql string. This way we will be adding one sql like command with OR combination for each word used. We will be adding each like command to the string with an SQL OR command. This way we will end with an extra OR command. This extra OR command we can remove from the end by using substr and strlen string functions.
In the above line we have first calculated the length of the string by using strlen and then used that value inside the substr function after subtracting 3 from it. The 3 is subtracted as length of OR with one blank space is 3. This way we will get the string after removing 3 chars from the end. ( that is extra OR with a blank space )
Above code will replace first occurance of AND with WHERE We can remove extra char from the end of the string by using PHP rtrim function

Once this sql is formatted then we can print it to the screen to check the syntax of the sql to match our requirement. Beyond this point you can use any server side script to collect the results from the table. You can read the tutorial on how to display data from mysql using php. You can down load the PHP version of this tutorial in a zip file at the end of this page. Here is the code till now.
//ini_set('display_errors', true);
//Set this display to display  all erros while testing and developing the script
error_reporting(0);// With this no error reporting will be there
include "include/z_db.php";


if(strlen($serch_text) > 0){
echo "Data Error";
////////// Displaying the search box /////
echo "<table>
<tr><td colspan=2 align='center'>";

echo "<form method=post action=''><input type=hidden name=todo value=search>
<input type=text name=search_text value='$search_text'><input type=submit value=Search><br>
<input type=radio name=type value=any checked>Match any where 
<input type=radio name=type value=exact>Exact Match


echo "</td></tr>";

/////////// if form is submitted the data processing is  done here///////////////
echo "<tr><td width='600' valign=top>";

if(isset($todo) and $todo=="search"){



$query="select * from student where name='$search_text'";
$kt=explode(" ",$search_text);//Breaking the string to array of words
// Now let us generate the sql 
if($val<>" " and strlen($val) > 0){$q .= " name like '%$val%' or ";}

			}// end of while
// this will remove the last or from the string. 
$query="select * from student where $q ";
		} // end of if else based on type value
echo "<span style='background-color= #FFFF00'>$query</span><br>";
if($no > 0 ){echo " No of records = ".$no."<br><br>"; 
echo "<table><tr><th>ID</th><th>Name</th><th>Class</th><th>Mark</th><th>Sex</th></tr>";
foreach ($dbo->query($query) as $row){
echo "<tr><td>$row[id]</td><td>$row[name]</td><td>$row[class]</td>
echo "</table>";
}else {
echo " No records found ";

}// End if form submitted
echo "</td><td width='400' valign=top>";
echo " Full records here ";
$query="select * from student";

echo "<table><tr><th>ID</th><th>Name</th><th>Class</th><th>Mark</th><th>Sex</th></tr>";
foreach ($dbo->query($query) as $row){
echo "<tr><td>$row[id]</td><td>$row[name]</td><td>$row[class]</td>
echo "</table>";

echo "</td></tr></table>";

Generate SQL based on user inputs for searching a table

Ajax based Keyword search on MySQL table

download Keyword search script

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    P Biggs


    Thanks for your code on search-keyword.php. I've extended it to include an 'all' type for the search which is probably the most useful of the three, that returns results if all keywords are found in a record. If you want to use it or any part you're most welcome. It's on my site (see email address) in the miscellaneous section.


    Thanks for the code.. it saved my academic life
    A Marie


    Where do you put the "all" to search all tables?
    A Marie


    When I do a search the search string also shows up.. how do I hide this without damaging the code?


    There is a line saying echo $query; Remove this line or comment it like this //echo $query; This line is kept so before integrating the developer can know what is going to come
    ramesh dudala


    hai this is code is easly and good so thank u


    This is Great lesson. I was wondering also how I could add a message in case the return is false?


    Where do I put the connect??


    hey this is really good thanks dude


    how do i display the data which is not found?


    tnx plus2net!i have learned a lot.


    Excellent tutorial. Explained very clearly. All the best and keep it up.
    Lashan Jayawardhana


    Excellent code plus2net. It is very useful. Fantastic work and great explanation. Keep up the good work. All the best !!!
    Thajul Hussain


    its very usefull, working fine. thanks a lot.........


    thanks for sharing this script.


    how to match mysql database table vlaue whose given by user in php text..


    This is a great search engine. Thanks. my SQL table contains a field with key words such as: "apples fruits john doe car keys John Smith" How can I make the search engine search for "John Doe"? thanks!


    As your query has two words John
    Om Bahadur kc


    How to search from 2 or more table by one query without join Query,..


    hello dude its superv query...that u used...it realy works....realy thanks


    sir, this was a great code.
    I changed dbo to mysqli as :
    $dbo = mysqli_connect('localhost','root','','test');

    now all the records are there for view only but when I search the keyword its not working.
    how do I change the mail file to show search results


    To use MySQLI respective functions are to be changed. By just changing connection it is not going to work.


    Why do I receive Data Error?? Its not working for me..


    Your length of the variable $search_text is 0. You are not receiving the search text in your PHP script area.

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