Build a complex search function from scratch or plugin?
I want to rebuild my 15-year old site from the ground up. I provide services to clients through freelancers who register their skills with the site. The search function will be the heart of it all so it has to be robust, but flexible enough to accept changes and additions after we find out what the client's needs are and how they are changing. It must be able to search the user info (profile text, projects info, etc. etc.) and make "decisions" about the relevant categories for each provider profile. If there is no search function such as this available as a site plugin, then I would want to develop it from scratch. I am surprised that I have not been able to find one already built as this is a common function for many sites. I have been told it will cost me an arm and a leg to develop it from scratch. Any hints or ideas on this would be appreciated.