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Sunspot: A Solr-Powered Search Engine for Ruby

May 28, 2009, 16:33 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Martin Streicher)

[ Thanks to An Anonymous Reader for this link. ]

"As your site amasses content -- be it stories, SKUs, or statistics -- a tailored, effective, and exacting search engine becomes increasingly vital. Imagine a bookstore that doesn't index its tomes by title or author, or a clothing retailer that doesn't index garments by size. Without search, each site is useless. In general, the quality and relevance of search results makes or breaks a site.

"Typically, at least some search results are generated by the site's underlying database. A database can maintain and catalog enormous volumes of data. Thus, an inquiry for an obscure piece of content would likely fall to the database since it's the canonical repository. Complex, multi-variate queries may also fall to the database as it's designed specifically for the purpose.

"However, a database query can be slow. Like any engineering feat, a database has strengths and weaknesses and one size rarely fits all. Hence, it's also typical for other actors to provide search results. For instance, a content management application might use an entirely separate engine to index the prose and respond to keyword, phrase, and proximate searches."

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