The cutting-edge capabilities of Apache Lucene and Solr open source search technology have created rapidly growing interest in using them as alternatives to other commercial, proprietary search technologies. Solr is the Lucene Search Server; Lucene implements search technology as a set of standalone java libraries. Lucene and Solr are complementary, and offer very similar underlying capabilities: high speed, high-accuracy, highly-scalable, resource-efficient -- all for delivering users the information they need quickly and efficiently across a rich variety of content types and data stores. Solr is versatile and powerful, a full featured, highly-scalable production-ready search application server requiring relatively less formal software programming. It includes hit highlighting, faceting, rich document handling, RDBMS integration, and runs on a lightweight platform-independent Java server. Lucene presents search through a collection of directly callable Java libraries, offering fine-grained control of machine functions and independence from higher-level protocols.
Lucene/Solr provides near-real-time search and strong relevance ranking to deliver contextually relevant and accurate results very quickly. Tailor-made coding for relevancy ranking and sophisticated search capabilities like faceted search help users in sorting, organizing, classifying, and structuring retrieved information to ensure that search delivers desired results. Search with Lucene/Solr also provides proximity operators, wildcards, fielded searching, term/field/document weights, find-similar functions, spell checking, multilingual search, and much more.
Lucene/Solr reduces recurring and nonrecurring costs, lowering your TCO. As open source software, it does not require purchase of a license and is freely available for use. The open source code can be used as is, modified, customized, and updated as appropriate to your needs. Solr is easily embedded in your enterprise’s existing infrastructure, reducing costs of installation, configuration, and management.
Because Lucene/Solr is an open-source software solution, it is based on open standards and community-driven development processes. It is highly portable and can run on any platform that supports Java. For instance, you can build an index on Linux and copy it to a Microsoft Windows machine and search there. This unsurpassed portability enables you to keep your search application and your company’s evolving infrastructure in tandem. Lucene, in turn, has been implemented in other environments, including C#, C, Python, and PHP. At deployment time, Solr offers very flexible options; it can be easily deployed on a single server as well as on distributed, multiserver systems.
Lucene/Solr is the most widely used open source search system and is installed in around 4,000 organizations worldwide. Publicly visible search sites that use Lucene/Solr include CNET, LinkedIn, Monster, Digg, Zappos, MySpace, Netflix, and Wikipedia. Lucene/Solr is also in use at Apple, HP, IBM, Iron Mountain, and Los Alamos National Laboratories.
As community developed software, Lucene/Solr provides transparent development and easy access to updates and releases. Developers can work with open source code and customize the software according to business-specific needs and objectives. Its open source paradigm lets Lucene/Solr provide developers with the freedom and flexibility to evolve the software with changing requirements, liberating them from the constraints of commercial vendors.
How will you build innovative new search solutions in order to beat the competition, generate new revenue streams, and deploy new business models?
With Lucene and Solr you can:
Lucene and Solr provide strong relevance ranking to deliver contextually relevant and accurate results very quickly. Tailor-made coding for relevancy ranking and sophisticated search capabilities like faceted search can help your users sort, organize, classify, and structure retrieved information to ensure that their searches deliver the results they want.
Inevitably, you will want to refine your search relevancy and findability. This will help drive the ROI on your information. For example, if you're an online retailer, you need to match the right product to user searches, improving site-stickiness and customer loyalty. Sales revenue will be directly impacted if the search technology streamlines and simplifies the shopping experience with relevant results.
With Lucene/Solr, search parameters can be tuned in a variety of powerful ways, with features such as proximity operators, wildcards, fielded searching, term/field/document weights, find-similar functions, spell checking, multilingual search, and much more.
Since Lucene/Solr offer full transparency and access to source code, you can make changes to search algorithms, and you have the flexibility to try different approaches to test their effectiveness. You can boost results to prioritize based on factors such as recency, add spatial search, or feature key products with elevated results. With Solr’s text-match scoring system, you can use a variety to boost relevant documents at index or query time.
Your needs, and the ways that you want to implement search, will change over time.
Flexibility is key.
Need to get under the covers? With Lucene and Solr you have complete access to source code and full control of all aspects of search including relevancy. This means that you can adapt the codebase to your unique company needs, processes, and applications.
With open APIs, protocols, formats and search algorithms, there is full transparency of the code, so you are not locked out of a proprietary black box. Modifications can be made, and extensions added.
There is complete portability as well, since Lucene/Solr runs on any platform supporting Java, and indexes are portable across platforms – for example, you can build an index on Linux and copy it to a Microsoft Windows machine and search it there. There are countless plug-ins available so that the architecture is fully extensible.