There is significant progress in the project since last week. I reflected my initial ideas and conceptual work in Bug 195455 . The support for lightweight Find/Replace enhancement was great. Thank you for all the great ideas and responses. Discussion about this feature is continuing in Bug 99294 now.
Currently, I'm implementing (3a) from Kevin McGuire's comment which is:
As of today, remaining work is showing Options group and Scope group in the Find/Replace dialog in a good style, adding shortcuts, making sure of good performance.3) Have it take up space in the layout somewhere,
3a) current option is within the text editor itself ala Firefox
I've converted Direction group in the dialog having "Forward" and "Backward" radio buttons in it, to a compact button that switches the search direction. This saves a significant amount of space on the Find/Replace bar and will be far more functional than having 2 radio buttons for this task IMHO.
An issue that may arise when I'm implementing (3a) approach is supporting search in ConsoleView etc. (anything other than the editor) in a good way. I think of carrying the same functionality ( offering Find/Replace in a bar ) in Toolbar of the ConsoleView. I expect to face a few issues about searching outside the editor.
This is it for now.
You can keep track of my progress in lightweight Find/Replace from https://bugs.eclipse.org/bugs/show_bug.cgi?id=99294 .
Thank you for all the ideas,interest and support.