Open Bug 240454 Opened 21 years ago Updated 2 years ago

Add AND / OR searching to quick search


(Thunderbird :: Search, enhancement)



(Not tracked)

Thunderbird 3


(Reporter: mscott, Unassigned)




(Keywords: helpwanted, Whiteboard: [gs])

It might be fun for someone to improve our quick search code to add AND or OR
support to quick search typing.

This would allow a user to type in multiple quick search terms into the quick
search bar and get a set of nested results.


scott and mozilla

would show me all messages whose subject or sender contained scott AND the word
we'd have to pay particular attention to making it work with international
equivalents of and and or.

And of course we don't support mixing boolean operators together either so we'd
have to ignore attempts to do that.

Keywords: helpwanted
Target Milestone: --- → Thunderbird0.7
Target Milestone: Thunderbird0.7 → Thunderbird0.8
Target Milestone: Thunderbird0.8 → Thunderbird1.0
Target Milestone: Thunderbird1.0 → Thunderbird1.1
I'm a little worried about leaving exact string searches and going in to parsing
the string, are we sure we want this as a default?

People might not expect this (it differs from search strings in most other
programs) and my experience already is that it's not intuitive to use quotes to
circumvent this.

Anyway, it should at least use some visual feedback like (dotted-)underlining of
the operators (AND and OR) so people notices Thunderbird threats these words

(Please note that as a geek I think it's a nifty feature and I would also like
to see "NEAR" included.)
Target Milestone: Thunderbird1.1 → Thunderbird2.0
I was wondering whether to post this comment as a comment or create a new bug
(BTW, shouldn't the "severity" be changed to "enhancement"?). I'd like to
propose the following enhancement to the quick search bar in Thunderbird:

Currently, when you click on the drop-down arrow under the magnifying glass in
the quick search bar, you're presented with the following options:

Subject OR Sender
Entire Message
Find in Message
Save Search as a Folder

Why not add the following options: 

"Boolean Search Options"
This would bring up a window (or a submenu), allowing the user to choose from
among the following:
NONE (default search, returns results for exact matches)
search terms not contained within quotation marks would indicate the terms to
include in the boolean search, e.g., "scott mozilla" would search for "scott"
BOOLEAN "mozilla" (where "BOOLEAN" is the type of boolean search operator being
requested, e.g., AND or OR)

Would bring up a sub-menu allowing users to choose to enable/disable this
feature. This would allow the use of any character (?), any text (*), or NEAR
searches (e.g., ...3 would search for words within 3 of each other, ...5 would
do the same within 5 of each other, etc.)

To maximize efficiency, these options would, by default, be disabled (as
enabling any of the above obviously would result in a performance hit)
see also Bug 290616
Target Milestone: Thunderbird2.0 → Thunderbird 3
Severity: normal → enhancement
OS: Windows 2000 → All
Hardware: PC → All
QA Contact: front-end
Search bar improvements -> nominating wanted-thunderbird3. CC'ing Bryan Clark.
Flags: wanted-thunderbird3?
Andrew's blog is covering some of the new search toolbar improvements ( )  The new search system is allowing for google like search syntax -not wildcard*  It also assumes that each individual term is part of an AND.  I'm not sure if it supports the OR syntax but I would think it could be a good addition.  Exact matches are done with "quotes around terms", very similar to google again.

These search options are all done inline on the same search entry without selecting a type drop down (subject, sender, ...).  

I'm not sure what should be done with this bug, I don't know if we have a bug tracking the new search toolbar.
Wayne, thoughts on Bryan's comment #7?
Assignee: mscott → nobody
Flags: wanted-thunderbird3?
I think Andrew's demo does address this (minus wildcard, which iirc is also covered in another bug).  I'm sure Andrew would not omit OR capability. The question not yet addressed is, what happens to quick search in TB3?
The quick search entry would be replaced by the new search.  There are still many aspects to cover in replacing the quick search, but it is already very fast. :)
Component: Mail Window Front End → Search
QA Contact: front-end → search
Please see my proposal in bug 579148 which I think it is a
cleaner proposed implementation than the above ideas.
This bug should be flagged wanted-thunderbird+
The target milestone of this bug, TB 3.0, should be adjusted.

(In reply to comment #9)
> I think Andrew's demo does address this (minus wildcard, which iirc is also
> covered in another bug).  I'm sure Andrew would not omit OR capability. The
> question not yet addressed is, what happens to quick search in TB3?

All sorts of essential things are still omitted in TB3.1's search capabalities...

Bug 349085 - Can't search on negative terms in Thunderbird's Quick Search box with NOT or minus
Bug 586131 - Quickfilter bar has lost OR functionality using | (Pipe character)

and a new bug probably needs to be filed for the regression that we can no longer do global OR searches (aka "messages mentioning any of searchword1, searchword2").
See Also: → 349085, 586131
Severity: normal → S3
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