A way to translate Boolean Search logic into MySQL Fulltext Parameters
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The aim of this class is to take a Boolean Search and to convert it into something that can be used in a MySQL Fulltext Search.

The idea came about after recently working a lot with Boolean Search systems, and after reading this StackOverflow question, nothing really exists out there for MySQL.

Big thanks goes to PHP SQL Parser for having such a lovely Tokeniser and related methods, which made this easier.


  • To provide a good-enough conversion
  • To not try and correct mistakes with brackets and quotes etc.



$parser = new \DuncanOgle\BooleanSearchParser\Parser();

echo $parser->parse("ict OR (technology AND bob)");
// ict (+technology +bob)

Regarding order

Order and brackets are important, more often than not OR logic takes priority

sales OR finance AND manager will become sales finance +manager and not sales +finance +manager


  • Handle the * character
  • Turn into a package that can be pulled in via composer
  • Move tests over to PHP Unit
  • Add custom priority settings (currently its OR>AND>NOT)
  • Add optional word stemmer like the one used here

Simple Examples

Input Output
ict +ict
ict it +ict +it
ict OR it ict it
NOT ict -ict
it NOT ict +it -ict
web AND (ict OR it) +web +(ict it)
ict OR (it AND web) ict (+it +web)
ict NOT (ict AND it AND web) +ict -(+ict +it +web)
php OR (NOT web NOT embedded ict OR it) php (-web -embedded ict it)
(web OR embedded) (ict OR it) +(web embedded) +(ict it)
develop AND (web OR (ict AND php)) +develop +(web (+ict +php))
"ict null
"ict OR it" +"ict OR it"

Complex Examples

Input Output
"business development" or "it sales" and (danish or dutch or italian or denmark or holland or netherlands or italy) "business development" "it sales" +(danish dutch italian denmark holland netherlands italy)
(procurement or buying or purchasing) and (marine or sea) and (engineering or engineer) +(procurement buying purchasing) +(marine sea) +(engineering engineer)