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I'm trying to conduct a search for a specific class name (containing colons): e.g. search parameters [perl] Class::Data and am coming up empty: http://stackoverflow.com/search?q=%5Bperl%5D%20class%3A%3Adata&tab=relevance
are both redirected to

Is there any way of conducting such a search?

EDIT: I'm making this a feature request for the ability to search with colons. -Lance

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5 Answers 5

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Your best bet is to search for [perl] "Class Data" this will restrict to all terms with Class and Data as adjacent words - as colons are stripped out during analysis this should also match Class::Data, however it will also match Class-Data Class Data etc... - you're then going to have to search through the matches yourself (there are only 2 on StackOverflow)

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I agree... however, it would be nice if the SO search engine recognized this and rewrote the search parameter, rather than allowing google to strip one of the search terms. – Ether Dec 7 '09 at 22:58

The only search engine I know of that doesn't ignore special characters is SymbolHound. It's a search engine designed for programmers, so it indexes programming-related sites and does not strip symbols away like other search engines.

Here are the results for your example search for perl class::data.

Full disclosure: I am a co-founder and developer of SymbolHound. I also posted it on stackapps.

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The new search engine handles this much better, we'll no longer direct and give some decent results for [perl] Class::Data. That being said, I think we can do even better on those results - I'll keep this example in mind as we tune.

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Ok, it would seem that google strips colons from search terms. At least, http://www.google.ca/support/websearch/bin/answer.py?answer=136861#exceptions%5Fpunctuations does not list : as one of the exceptions, so it seems to be in the "ignored" class. :(

Edit: Note that it strips the colons, not stripping the search term entirely. It would at least be better to turn a search for [perl] Class::Data to [perl] "Class Data", rather than to [perl].

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You can try Google Code Search (google.com/codesearch?hl=en), but I'm not seeing any way to restrict the site to stackoverflow.com. – devuxer Dec 7 '09 at 20:13
Jeez, even quoting it Google decides to discard the colons. Thanks, Google! Bing behaves the same way, too. Think you might be hosed. :( – John Rudy Dec 7 '09 at 20:18
Stripping all symbols is a standard text processing technique. – John the Seagull Dec 7 '09 at 23:00
Don't bother with the codesearch recommended by @DanM. I assume it worked but it is no longer available. – Dennis Jaheruddin Aug 30 '13 at 7:10
duckduckgo.com worked for me with "Redis::Queue". – eebbesen Jun 9 at 16:10

Can you do it through Google?

If not, then the odds of us being able to do it are.. vanishingly slim.

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Google searches for "class" and "data" rather than simply invalidating the entire "Class::Data" search token. I don't know if that's any better, but it's at least something. – mmyers Dec 7 '09 at 19:59
+1 If Google can't do it, it must be impossible. :P – Will Bickford Dec 17 '09 at 20:21
@Jeff, we're programmers, we can do anything, Google just doesn't have the incentive to modify it's search for the programmer niche, but SO should certainly have the motivation. There's not much more frustrating as a programmer than not being able to search for symbols. – Lance Roberts Dec 17 '09 at 23:18
The worst explanation I've heard from Jeff... – Piotr Dobrogost Feb 9 '12 at 19:27

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