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SQL count how many times a word exists in a text field or memo

Posted on 2004-10-06
Last Modified: 2008-02-01
I am trying to make a search box on a database driven website with dynamic content.

I would like to be able to search using keywords on a text field.

I would like to rank the search by the number of times that it exists in the field.

So if one row contained the word 2 times, it would be ordered higher than a row that had the keyword only once.

How would I do this?

Question by:jackjohnson44
LVL 19

Accepted Solution

peh803 earned 250 total points
ID: 12241424
To get the number of occurrences of a given word in a larger string, you could try something like this (where myTable is your table, Str is the field you're searching in the table, and 'Apple' is the word you're searching for):

SELECT (LEN(Str)-LEN(REPLACE(Str, 'Apple', '')))/(LEN(str)) FROM myTable

LVL 19

Expert Comment

ID: 12241449
Here's the logic behind how my last post works:

str = "Take me out to the ball game, take me out to the crowd"
len(str) = 54
len(replace(str, "take", "")) = 46
8/len("take") = 8/4 = 2

LVL 10

Expert Comment

ID: 12241550
    that's beautiful logic, I wish we had more people who could think outside the box like that.

    A truly overlooked method of SQL Statements is also the In() Method.  It can be so useful, just that most don't know about it.

Sorry for the hi-jack, it's just that you don't find many who can think outside the box.


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LVL 19

Expert Comment

ID: 12242273
thanks!  Glad you like it!  I hope it works for jackjohnson44.

LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 12242493
peh803, nice code! and unique. I enjoy see codes like this, easy and with explanation of logic, helps people understand better of what they are actually using......

Good job!
LVL 19

Expert Comment

ID: 12242587
Thanks!  Glad you like it!

I didn't know of a "built-in" function to do it, so I just kinda came up with it spur of the moment.

LVL 19

Expert Comment

ID: 12250489
I was thinking about this as I was laying in bed last night, and I thought of a potential flaw:

SELECT (LEN(Str)-LEN(REPLACE(Str, 'Apple', '')))/(LEN(str)) FROM myTable

str = "Take me to a basketball game, football game, or any other ballgame."

Searching this string for "ball" based on the above logic will produce a count of 3, while the word "ball" doesn't actually occur anywhere in the string (but rather it appears 3 times as a subset of other words).  To alleviate this, you might consider searching using leading and trailing spaces, like this:

str = "The pitcher threw the ball, and the baseball player hit the baseball."
SELECT (LEN(Str)-LEN(REPLACE(Str, ' ball', '')))/(LEN(' ball')) FROM myTable

Notice that I have used only a leading space, because I don't want to exclude the word "ball,".  Using a trailing space would cause the word " ball," to not be replaced because of the comma.  

At any rate, these are just a few other things to consider.

Any questions / comments about this solution?  

Please let me know how it's working for you.


Author Comment

ID: 12250797
Thanks for the advice peh803.  I haven't tried it, but I like your way of thinking.
It didn't occur to me to replace all words except the search term.
It is simple and very effective.

I think the "potential flaw" could work to my advantage, since it would allow
singular key words to match up with plurals.  At any rate, thanks for
both answers.
LVL 19

Expert Comment

ID: 12251078
you're welcome -- just wanted to point out the potential flaw incase it might pose a problem for you.  But if not, all the better!

Happy to help; perhaps others will find this useful as well.


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