I have seen a number of posts on the web about the ‘Smart Search’ feature, most of which are about using it and configuring it. My experience had found one peculiarity of using the feature on Joomla 2.5 which I am sure cannot just be me.
The peculiarity I refer to is the fact that it is ‘always’ necessary to create a menu item for the ‘Smart search’, otherwise the search just directs one to the usual (old) search page. It doesn’t matter if one disables the ‘old’ search plugin, one is still directed to the ‘old’ search result. This is something I first noticed with the initial release of Joomla 2.5, and put it down to a ‘quirk’, it being a ‘new’ feature, but it is still present even with the recent updates.
I have been unable to find any reference to this peculiarity anywhere, despite extensive searching (pun intended). There is a brief reference to a menu item being required IF a search filter is used, but I have found it necessary even if a filter is not being used.
The only way in which I have managed to get it working every time is as follows:
Create a Menu Item from the "Smart Search" category. NOTE: there is a category of Menu Item called "Search" and a different Category of Menu Item called "Smart Search". Be sure you are in the category called "Smart Search." (To make it more confusing, the item itself is called "Search" but just be sure you are in the "Smart Search" category.)
After selecting this item type, in the Required Settings, choose your (optional) Search Filter and Save.
This menu item can be placed in a hidden menu if you do not desire a specific search page displayed on the site. The page doesn't have to exist on its own but it has to be there for the ‘smart search’ to operate properly within a module.
Note that I have not seen this peculiarity on Joomla 3.1 which doesn’t require the menu item to be present.