What is Solr?

What Is Solr?

Solr is an open source enterprise search server based on the Lucene Java search library, with XML/HTTP and JSON APIs, hit highlighting, faceted search, caching, replication, a web administration interface and many more features. It runs in a Java servlet container such as Tomcat.

Solr is the Search Engine for:

  • AOL
  • Netflix
  • Zappos
  • StubHub
  • NASA
  • MTV
  • Reddit
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • CNET
  • Digg

It has the following features:

  • Advanced Full-Text Search Capabilities
  • Optimized for High Volume Web Traffic
  • Standards Based Open Interfaces – XML and HTTP
  • Comprehensive HTML Administration Interfaces
  • Server statistics exposed over JMX for monitoring
  • Scalability – Efficient Replication to other Solr Search Servers
  • Flexible and Adaptable with XML configuration
  • Extensible Plugin Architecture

Solr allows for not only the federation of search, but also for the faceting of search results. This means that the results for a given search could be filtered with only a couple of clicks. An example of output of a search is shown below for Sears Holdings’ ManageMyLife application, http://www.managemylife.com, developed in coordination with OSC.

Figure 1: Initial Search Results for "Dishwasher" on Sears ManageMyLife Application, Developed With OSC Assistance

Figure 1: Initial Search Results for "Dishwasher" on Sears ManageMyLife Application, Developed With OSC Assistance

Figure 2: Filtering On Content Type For Food & Grocery Narrows Down the List of Results

Figure 2: Filtering On Content Type For Food & Grocery Narrows Down the List of Results

Solr supports the ability to conduct inclusive and exclusive fielded, or faceted, queries. Solr can support multiple facets as well. Thus, a user has the ability to drill down on specific facets that they wish to browse deeper within. See Figure 3 through Figure 6 for an example of how Solr achieves faceted searching.

Figure 3: Initial Search Results for Cancer on Newswise’s Solr Search Engine, Developed by OpenSource Connections

Figure 3: Initial Search Results for Cancer on Newswise’s Solr Search Engine, Developed by OpenSource Connections

Figure 4: Clicking on the American Medical Association Reduces the Number of Results AND Fields, as Some Are No Longer Valid

Figure 4: Clicking on the American Medical Association Reduces the Number of Results AND Fields, as Some Are No Longer Valid

Figure 5: Clicking on Blood Narrows the Results Again While Maintaining the Original Cancer Filter

Figure 5: Clicking on Blood Narrows the Results Again While Maintaining the Original Cancer Filter

Figure 6: Using Navigation Tabs in the Search Results Shows the Next Set of Results

Figure 6: Using Navigation Tabs in the Search Results Shows the Next Set of Results

Why OSC for Your Solr Project

OpenSource Connections has extensive experience and industry expertise in consulting for, deployment of, and development in the Solr search engine.

Solr Book Cover We have been a involved in the Solr project since 2007, and OSC principal Eric Pugh is co-author of the only two published books on Solr, Apache Solr 3 Enterprise Search Server (ISBN 978-1-84951-606-8, Publisher: Packt Publishing, Publication Date: November, 2011) and Solr 1.4 Enterprise Search Server (ISBN 978-1-847195-88-3, Publisher: Packt Publishing, Publication Date: August, 2009), which explicitly cover Solr development and deployment.

OSC experts have presented at Uberconf, BeTech, the Software Test and Performance Conference, and Agile2010. We have worked on Solr projects for clients including NATO, SAIC, the U.S. Department of State, Sears, as well as smaller commercial clients – we are familiar with Solr implementations of all sizes and in a variety of deployment environments.

What does a Solr project with OSC look like?

There are several ways our team can benefit your Solr implementation, based on your needs, in-house expertise, and how far you have already gone with Solr:

  1. Full Implementation – OSC can provide full time development support and consulting from day 1 of your implementation. This is best for larger implementations or when you don’t have any in house expertise with Solr or its underlying technologies, or you desire to have experts pair programming with your team to ensure a smooth roll out.
    • Work mode: Full time for weeks or months, with a combination of on-site and remote work, based on your needs.
  2. Training/Guidance – If your team needs a kick start to make sure your Solr project is headed in the right direction, then OSC can provide the training and best practices your team needs. We will visit your team to understand your specific needs and project requirements. We can then provide a training session on the setup, feeding, and caring of Solr for your staff, or provide guidance to your existing implementation plans.
    • Work mode: 1-3 days of on-site visits and training sessions. Can be followed up with hourly consultation calls.
  3. Hourly Consultations – Are you already well down the path of your implementation, but running into questions or hurdles? OSC can setup an agreement for a “bucket of hours” for your project where we help you drill into specific issues with your team. This is best done after a training/guidance session so that we are already familiar with your unique needs.
    • Work mode: Pre-purchased number of hours which you can use with our team on the phone, by email, or desktop-sharing sessions.

Not sure which option you need yet? That’s fine too, our team is happy to schedule a call to learn more about your unique needs.

Download OSC Solr Practice PDF version.

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