I'm implementing a custom search engine not unlike the Yahoo BOSS module (except targeting a different content provider). This content provider has images associated with each link and metadata that goes beyond 'snippet', 'link', 'author', 'date', and 'size'. As near as I can determine, past versions of Drupal included a hook_search_item hook that allowed module writers to change the appearance of result items. Another user's investigation found that particular hook was removed in February 2006. Later in the same thread, another user notes that there is a theme_search_item, but that doesn't work because I need the change to happen regardless of the theme. And near the end of that thread, a user suggests hook_view or hook_nodeapi('view') but documentation on that is sparse and I can't even tell if those hooks are being called.

So I seem to be stuck with implementing hook_search_page and duplicating Drupal's existing effort in putting together and applying things to search results (running a foreach loop around the individual results and implementing a results paging function). Before I go through all of that effort, could someone advise me on whether I'm headed down the right path?