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Tech Note: Optimizing Fuzzy Searches
Published On: April 19, 2007
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Web-based search engines such as Google have changed user expectations about how database queries should perform. Increasingly, users want searches to be simple to perform and tolerant of imprecise input. For example, it should be possible to find a contact named Jon Smithe using the search string John Smith. Using the built in QUERY tool, there is no straightforward way to perform fuzzy queries that, for example, recognize that Jon and John and Smithe and Smith are very similar word pairs. Fortunately, fuzzy queries are easy to add to 4th Dimension systems using the FuzzyTools Component described in 4D Technical Notes 06-18, Fuzzy Matching in 4th Dimension and 06-19, The FuzzyTools Component. This Technical Note documents a query optimization for fuzzy searches based on the edit distance and longest common subsequence (LCS) algorithms. A sample database and an updated version of the FuzzyTools component accompany are included.

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