Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Google Queries
One of the things the tracker reports is the set of Google queries used to find this page. Most of them are obvious, but some are unusual. They seem even more unusual when you consider that the searcher actually bothered to follow the link to this seemingly unrelated page.

One that caught my eye was the following query: "write a class to represent Roman numerals. the class should have two constructors". I found it interesting for 3 reasons.

Firstly, it was written in natural english. I don't believe that Google handles this, but it is nonetheless interesting to see that it returns useful results. I've noticed that Google can return documents which don't always include all the given words, particularly when a large number of words are provided. In fact, I've found that to be a frustrating feature when I've attempted to use extra words as filters on large result sets. But I see it being quite useful for natural language queries like this.

Secondly, my page has nothing to do with this request. I wonder what inspired them to follow the link?

Finally, I find it ironic, because a couple of months ago I wrote a class that converts integers to roman numerals! It even used unicode for ↂ (the character for 10000) and ↁ (5000). It was in C++ rather than Java, but it would be trivial to port as it was only 81 lines, including comments and whitespace.

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