What is OpenSearch?

OpenSearch is a standard that defines formats for search requests and search results returned as HTML, RSS or Atom documents. It provides a standard URL format for querying compliant sources and supplying search query parameters such as:

  • Search terms;
  • Start index and count;
  • Language.

Here’s a simple example of a request URL (supplying only search terms): http://www.bing.com/search?q=opensearch&format=RSS.

Additional search response information is returned to compatible search clients, such as:

  • Results in a standard format (RSS or Atom);
  • The total number of results available for the search criteria;
  • Suggested alternative queries (e.g. corrections or related queries).

As OpenSearch defines a standard format for search results, search clients are free to build their own UIs and render those results any way they see fit. A search client can also aggregate results from multiple search sources.

The search functionality on www.clarience.com is built on OpenSearch. This gives us some advantages over using a solution like Google Custom Search, the main one being that we can fully control how the results are rendered to the end user and provide a more seamless user experience.

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