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The PostgreSQL 9.0 Reference Manual - Volume 1A - SQL Language Reference
by The PostgreSQL Global Development Group
Paperback (6"x9"), 454 pages
ISBN 9781906966041
RRP £14.95 ($19.95)

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10.3.4 Highlighting Results

To present search results it is ideal to show a part of each document and how it is related to the query. Usually, search engines show fragments of the document with marked search terms. PostgreSQL provides a function ts_headline that implements this functionality.

ts_headline([ config regconfig, ] document text, query
 tsquery [, options text ]) returns text

ts_headline accepts a document along with a query, and returns an excerpt from the document in which terms from the query are highlighted. The configuration to be used to parse the document can be specified by config; if config is omitted, the default_text_search_config configuration is used.

If an options string is specified it must consist of a comma-separated list of one or more option=value pairs. The available options are:

Any unspecified options receive these defaults:

StartSel=<b>, StopSel=</b>,
MaxWords=35, MinWords=15, ShortWord=3, HighlightAll=FALSE,
MaxFragments=0, FragmentDelimiter=" ... "

For example:

SELECT ts_headline('english',
  'The most common type of search
is to find all documents containing given query terms
and return them in order of their similarity to the
query.',
  to_tsquery('query & similarity'));
                        ts_headline
--------------------------------------------------
 containing given <b>query</b> terms
 and return them in order of their <b>similarity</b> to the
 <b>query</b>.

SELECT ts_headline('english',
  'The most common type of search
is to find all documents containing given query terms
and return them in order of their similarity to the
query.',
  to_tsquery('query & similarity'),
  'StartSel = <, StopSel = >');
                      ts_headline
--------------------------------------------------
 containing given <query> terms
 and return them in order of their <similarity> to the
 <query>.

ts_headline uses the original document, not a tsvector summary, so it can be slow and should be used with care. A typical mistake is to call ts_headline for every matching document when only ten documents are to be shown. SQL subqueries can help; here is an example:

SELECT id, ts_headline(body, q), rank
FROM (SELECT id, body, q, ts_rank_cd(ti, q) AS rank
      FROM apod, to_tsquery('stars') q
      WHERE ti @@ q
      ORDER BY rank DESC
      LIMIT 10) AS foo;
ISBN 9781906966041The PostgreSQL 9.0 Reference Manual - Volume 1A - SQL Language ReferenceSee the print edition