My Secret Search Shortcuts for the New Adobe Forums

June 11, 2009 - 2:00am ||| 0 Comments | Add new
Adobe totally re-jiggered their User-to-User forums a few weeks ago, the public bulletin boards where thousands of end users help each other out with questions about Adobe programs.

Adobe Forums
http://forums.adobe.com

They're using new forum software called Jivespace (http://jivesoftware.com) that brings the Adobe forums into the 21st century. For example, users can now upload and include files in their posts, format messages with HTML controls, show an avatar (a thumbnail headshot) next to their name, and even award points to fellow users who post an answer to their question. I assume the points can be traded in for candy necklaces or Hot Wheels cars at the Adobe store in San Jose.

Side note: I know I'm not the only end user who enjoyed a little karmic satisfaction seeing the corporate entity that is Adobe get the tables turned by having to deal with tech support on the Jivespace support forums. For example in this post (http://tr.im/adobejive) to the Jivespace support forum, an Adobe forum admin describes a frustration he had with a procedure. He asks, "Is this as designed or a bug?"and a Jivespace rep replies, "That would be more of a documentation bug than a bug in implementation." HA! "Documentation bug." Classic.

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The Search Problem
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One aspect about the new forums that's really aggravating is the Forum Search feature. When you're browsing or reading a thread in a forum, you often want to quickly search on a keyword or phrase to see if the topic has already been discussed in that program's forum.

But when you enter something in the ever-present Search field at the upper right of all the forum pages, the Jivespace software defaults to searching every single Adobe forum known to man. So the Search Results listing goes on forever, with hits to all sorts of irrelevant posts from other forums.

To restrict your search to a particular forum, you have to do an advanced search; but that page is hard to find, and once there, you have to select the forum from the worlds' longest scrolling form field. (Seriously, there are over five hundred forums in the list, and only 20 or so appear at a time.)

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The Search Fix
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So here's my secret: Learn the forum's ID number (I'll tell you how to do this in a minute), construct a URL search query that includes that ID, and save it as a bookmark or favorite in your browser. Now whenever you want to search that forum, just click the saved bookmark.

For example, the Community ID for the InDesign forum is 3359. Including that in the URL, as below, will get you immediately to the secret "Search the InDesign Forum" page:
http://forums.adobe.com/search.jspa?&resultTypes=MESSAGE&communityID=3359

Now, the web page it brings you to doesn't say "Search the InDesign Forum" (though it should); but trust me. It will. Enter something in the search field and hit the Search button, you'll see that all the resulting hits come from the InDesign forum. We have lift-off!

This one will jump you to the search field for the Photoshop (Windows) forum:
http://forums.adobe.com/search.jspa?&resultTypes=MESSAGE&communityID=3340

What if you want to search a few forums at once? Just string them together at the end of the URL. The forum ID for the Photoshop (Macintosh) forum is 3341, so to search both the Mac and Windows forums for Photoshop, include both IDs, like so:
http://forums.adobe.com/search.jspa?&resultTypes=MESSAGE&communityID=3340&communityID=3341

It's simple to find the community ID of any Adobe forum. Go to that forum's main page (where it lists all the discussions in the forum) and look at the Notifications area at the top of the right sidebar. Hover over or click the "View Feeds" link under the Notifications header; and the last bit of URLs for that RSS feed reveal that forum's community ID.

When you click the View Feeds link on the Dreamweaver forum, for example, you can see from the RSS feed URLs that the community ID is 2240:
http://forums.adobe.com/community/feeds/allcontent?community=2240
http://forums.adobe.com/community/feeds/announcements?community=2240
http://forums.adobe.com/community/feeds/messages?community=2240

So to create a URL that will search the Dreamweaver forum, use one of your existing search URLs (from above), but replace the ID number at the end with 2240:
http://forums.adobe.com/search.jspa?&resultTypes=MESSAGE&communityID=2240

Save it as a new bookmark (naming it "Search Dreamweaver forum" perhaps) and use as necessary.

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