Search sessions and history

The Modern UI supports search sessions, the ability to establish a session that persists with the search user across multiple queries. This capability allows Funnelback to record the search and click history for a user, as well as provide a result shopping basket for the user to retain a set of selected search results.

The user session is established through HTTP cookies. History and result selection are saved in a database. There is one database for a given Funnelback installation, but the data is saved on a per-collection basis, meaning that each collection will have separate search and click history, and separate results selection for a given user.

When sessions are enabled, users are automatically assigned a unique ID which is transmitted with every search query.

This feature relies on the URL of search results being valid URLs, and identical to their URL in the index. If the URL is rewritten in any way (using a hook script for example) you will need to ensure that the search results URLs passed to the session API calls are the indexed URLs, not the rewritten ones.

Enabling and configuring search sessions

Sessions are enabled with the ui.modern.session parameter. Once enabled, Funnelback will immediately start recording searches and clicks, and allow users to select results.

Enabling this parameter will also record unique user IDs in the query and click logs.

Configuration options

Various parameters can be used to configure the session features. Please consult their individual documentation for more details:

Cookies and identifiers

Enabling sessions will provide each user with a unique ID stored in a cookie.

Performance impacts

To record search history Funnelback needs to contact the session database for every query and this impacts the query response time. The time spent contacting and querying the database will depend on the server configuration, the type of database used and the size of the database. For example, on a standard Linux server with the built-in database engine and a fresh database the overhead is around 20ms per query.

For this reason it’s preferable to not enable the session features until you decide to make use of them in your search results page.

User interface and API