Typepad - my blog hosts, and the school's website provider - have recently introduced a search facility to their suite of widgets. Previously, I had been using Freefind - a wonderful FREE service - to crawl my site and then host a search facility.
Freefind works well, the only downside of it is that as the service is held externally, it never seemed part of the website, and as hard as I tried to make it look like it was part of the website, it still looked wrong.
Typepad's new search widget can be added with just a few clicks to a standard theme designed website. I had it up and running on this very site in about one minute. When I came to test it, I was really impressed with how the search function is placed into the site design - it finally looks as I always wanted it to. It is part of the website now.
That said, it isn't so easy to add this search feature to a site built using advanced templates. The school website is built using advanced templates, and I tried to add Typepad search to it. The initial results were awful. The banner was cropped, the search results appeared in a small section in the middle of the screen, and there were no sidebars or footers at all.
It's taken me several hours to find a solution to it, but I did. And here it is (for others wanting to add Typepad search to their advanced templates).
(1) Go to Design --> Templates and then open the "Search results" template. Copy the entire contents of this template, and paste them into a word processor / text editing program.
(2) Now open the "Page" template and copy almost the entire contents (leave the first line) from <body> to </html>, then open the "Search results" template once again and paste the "Page" template code into it, replacing all the code between <body> and </html>.
(3) Return to the text pad with the code from the "Search Results" template. Find and highlight the search code between <!-- search result header --> and </MTSearchResultsIfPages></div></div> then copy it
(4) In the "Search Results" template, delete all the after <div id="alpha-inner" class="pkg">, down to <div id="beta"> and paste the search code into it.
(5) An optional extra, is that you can edit the text in the <MTNoSearchResults> section, and even add your own images too;
DId you follow all that?!