Searching does not always work

Dear Zotero,

I might have created trouble for you by adding many entries. With just a little bit under 2000 entries I do have some problems with searching.

It takes a long time to enter a search text and sometimes characters at the end of the search text gets lost.

The main problem seems to me to be that there is no delay (or a too short delay?) after entering text before searching begins.

And this creates the second problem that characters get lost, probably rather deep in the input loops of the application. (I do not know how that is structured in your programming framework.)

This problem hits me all the time so I would be very glad for a solution.
  • I think the delay is a quarter-second. That makes for a better experience in a smaller library, but it's true that it's probably annoying in larger libraries where the penalty for not typing fast enough is great. (Maybe Zotero could automatically adjust based on how long the last search took.)

    But the general solution, if searches are taking too long, is to 1) make sure you're in the right mode — "Title, Creator, Year" is much faster than the other modes if you don't need full-text searching — and 2) to prefix the search with " (double-quotes), which will cause Zotero not to search until you press Return.
  • Thanks Dan, I will try the double quote thing.

    But should not Zotero stop searching as soon as I type a new character?
  • But should not Zotero stop searching as soon as I type a new character?
    It's not able to do that at the moment for technical reasons, but at some point, yes.
  • I see. Is the challenge in the framework or the Zotero code?
  • Originally the former, now the latter. When Zotero was created in 2006, asynchronous database access wasn't available in the Mozilla framework, so the majority of Zotero's code is synchronous (synchronous DB access and synchronous calling code), meaning it blocks the main thread, including the UI, when it runs. Asynchronous DB access is now available in the Mozilla framework, but switching to it requires rewriting most of Zotero. We're going to be doing a lot of that for Zotero 4.1.
  • That sounds promising! :-)
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