Friday, November 4, 2011

Going Solr

Over the last couple of weeks, we whipped-up an enterprise search site using Apache Solr. It was a fantastic experience. Solr is impressive. My first proper exposure to full text search (FTS) technology was via its inclusion in a recent version of PostgreSQL (see earlier post). I quickly learned that incorporating FTS does wonders for user satisfaction. So upon discovering the large number of public websites that are Solr Powered, we had to take Solr for a spin ourselves. We were not disappointed.

Some interesting notes about our experience:
  • Solr is not a turn-key solution; it's a search engine for a solution you create.
  • Doing the tutorial was critical to understanding Solr.
  • XSLT worked great for rendering Solr's XML results.
  • Some helpful documentation sources we found:
    o Apache Solr (tutorial and presentations);
    o Lucid Imagination (lucidworks ref guide); and
    o (xslt tutorial).
  • Solr is lightning fast.
  • Solr is packed with enterprise features. However, like most open source tools, you must have an adventurous spirit to realize them.
  • Jetty makes deploying web / app servers simple. Launching the Solr example app was literally a one-liner. Incredible.
Tip: If you're implementing an enterprise search engine, consider using Apache Solr.

20 Jan 2012 Update - Posted the detailed 'how-to' for indexing office documents with Solr (source code and all). Enjoy.