There are two basic components to the query syntax of Search CVS, a phrase (consisting of one or more words), and a set of zero or more parameters. These both need a little more explanation to understand their full power.
Search CVS searches through the messages of each commit, looking for matching words in commit messages. Only the message field is matched against the phrase, if you would like to narrow down the search further, use one or more parameters (see below). The syntax for the phrase is simply a set of one or more words.
Matching the phrase is done using MySQL's fulltext indexing. This splits the phrase into words and then searches for occurances of each word, assigning a relevance value based on the number of matches. Once a set of results is found, the results are sorted according to the relevance value and then in chronological order.
MySQL's fulltext indexing is relatively sophisticated, but most of the details aren't essential to know, with one exception. That exception is the fact that MySQL's fulltext indexing does not index words that are shorter than a set number of characters (4 by default), thus if you attempt to search for a word that is shorter than that set number of characters, you won't get any results. In other words, using the default settings, both of these queries:
would return the same results, and a query of
would return no results.
There is one other option for the phrase, and that is a quoted phrase. If you search for
only results with exactly the word 'hello' immediately followed by a space and then 'world' will be returned (technical note: this kicks the entire match into boolean mode), whereas searching for
would return results with both words as well as just one of the words. When searching for quoted phrases, the relevance value becomes a boolean and only indicates if a match was found or not, saying nothing about the quality of the match. Effectively, this means that the results will only be sorted chronologically for quoted phrases. Also note that the minimum character length also applies to quoted phrases, such that
will return no results, but
will return the expected results.
There is one exception to the above, if you enter only a bug number (with or without square braces, but nothing else), you will only be presented with the changes associated with that bug.
Parameters can be used to further narrow down the set of results, their syntax consists of a keyword followed by a colon, followed by the search term (with an optional space between the colon and search term), for example:
Different keywords can be combined provided that they are separated by whitespace. For example:
days: 200 author: emerks
will find all commits by 'emerks' within the last 200 days.
In the case of duplicate parameters, only the last parameter will be used. For example:
author: emerks author: nickb
will only search for commits made by 'nickb'.
With the exception of the days and project/module keywords, the search terms are treated as substrings, meaning that a query of
will find all commits by 'emerks' as well as anyone else with 'merks' in their committer name.
A complete list of parameters along with an example and brief description follows:
|author||author: merks||restrict search to only this author (will match partial names)|
|branch||branch: R2_1_||restrict search to commits from this branch (will match partial names)|
|days||days: 7||restrict search to commits made in the last N days|
|file||file: org.eclipse.emf/||restrict search to files matching this substring|
|project or module||project: org.eclipse.xsd||restrict search to commits in this cvs module (or project)|
At least one word or parameter must be entered to perform a search, otherwise there are no arbitrary restrictions or limits.