How do travel websites implement the sorting of search results?

For example you make a search for a hotel in London and get 250 hotels out of which 25 hotels are shown on first page. On each page user has an option to sort the hotels based on price, name, user-reviews etc. Now the intelligent thing to do will be to only get the first 25 hotels on the first page from the database. When user moves to page 2, make another database query for next 25 hotels and keep the previous results in cache.

Now consider this, user is on page 1 and sees 25 hotels sorted by price and now he sorts them based on user-ratings, in this case, we should keep the hotels we already got in cache and only request for additional hotels. How is that implemented? Is there something built in any language (preferably php) or we have to implement it from scratch using multiple queries?


This is usually done as follows:

The query is executed with order by the required field, and with a top (in some databases limit) set to (page_index + 1) * entries_per_page results. The query returns a random-access rowset (you might also hear of this referred to as a resultset or a recordset depending on the database library you are using) which supports methods such as MoveTo( row_index ) and MoveNext(). So, we execute MoveTo( page_index * entries_per_page ) and then we read and display entries_per_page results. The rowset generally also offers a Count property which we invoke to get the total number of rows that would be fetched by the query if we ever let it run to the end (which of course we don't) so that we can compute and show the user how many pages exist.

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