A cool'n'simple search page using Google AJAX Search API, and some DHTML


In this article I'll demonstrate how easy it is, to create a usable webpage with some advanced technologies (such as fast asynchronous web search) in a very simple way, using a public API.


I've created this page since I wanted:

1. A search oriented homepage that uses google as it's engine
2. To be able to search and re-search without needing to point the cursor to the search field, nor use a lot of tab keystrokes
3. A simple way to search my blog
4. A cool root for my personal website

Using the code
Step 1: Initialization

The first thing we are going to do, is to create a minimal webpage markup:

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" 
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
    <meta http-equiv="content-type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8"/>
    <title>My Cool'n'Simple Search Page</title>
    <h1>My Cool'n'Simple Search Page</h1>

Step 2: Make room

Now we will add a search field, and make room for the search results:
<div id="queryContainer">
    <input type="text" name="query" id="query" />
<div id="searchcontrol"></div><br />
<div id="branding">Powered by Google</div>

The query input field is wrapped in a div for styling purposes

Step 3: Style it up a little

We will add some css rules in order to make our page look a little bit nicer. We'd want a readable font, some space between the input query and the results, a clean look for the input, and make it all at the centered in the page

<style type="text/css">
    font-family: verdana;
    text-align: center;
    width: 80%;
    border:1px solid silver;
    width: 100%;
    width: 100%; 
We have also set the gsc-control class to maximum width. The current version of Google AJAX Search creates the results in a html element with width=300px. We want it to occupy the whole width of its container so we override Google's default setting

Step 4: Applying Google's Magic

This step was assembled with the help of the Google AJAX Search API documentation, at http://code.google.com/apis/ajaxsearch/documentation/
So we will add the next declaration to our page's section:

<link href="http://www.google.com/uds/css/gsearch.css" type="text/css" 
      rel="stylesheet" />
<script type="text/javascript" 
Please note that "YOUR_KEY" should be replaced by a key that you can get at http://code.google.com/apis/ajaxsearch/signup.html
Now we'd add the next javascript code to the section:

var searchControl window.onload = function() {
function onLoad() {
    // Create a search control

    searchControl = new GSearchControl();

    // add a regular web search, with a custom label 'web'

    var webSrearch = new GwebSearch();

    // add a site-limited web search, with a custom label

    var siteSearch = new GwebSearch();
    // add a blog search, with a custom label

    var blogsSrearch = new GblogSearch();

    // setting the draw mode for the Google search

    var drawOptions = new GdrawOptions();
    // use tabbed view

    // set the input field (instead of the default one)

    // actually write the needed markup to the page

    searchControl.draw(document.getElementById("searchcontrol"), drawOptions);
    // set the google logo container

And we're almost done

Step 5: Adding a little DHTML Mojo

Now we'll add the ability to type anywhere on the page and get the search field updated. We'll achieve that by adding this simple javascript to the previous block:

var query = null;
document.onkeydown = function(event) { kd(event); };
function kd(e) {
    // make it work on FF and IE

    if (!e) e = event;
    // use ESC to clear the search results

    if (e.keyCode == 27)
    // get the input field

    if (query == null)
        query = document.getElementById('query');
    // and move the focus in there