Asking the right questions in a Search Audit

We're often asked to review how our clients use search technology, both open and closed source (although we specialise in the former, we've also encountered most of the commercial search engines over the last 16 years). One common mistake is to assume that search is purely a technical problem, and that all issues can be resolved by writing software and changing configurations, or worse by throwing away the old engine and replacing it with a new one at huge expense. As Continue reading

London Lucene/Solr Meetup – Java 9 & 1 Beeelion Documents with Alfresco

This time Pivotal were our kind hosts for the London Lucene/Solr Meetup, providing a range of goodies including some frankly enormous pizzas - thanks Costas and colleagues, we couldn't have done it without you! Our first talk was from Uwe Schindler, Lucene committer, who started with...Continue reading

Inspiring students to work in Open Source Search

I've recently been asked to join the Industrial Advisory Board for the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering at the University of Essex and will be talking to students there on Monday 5th February, repeating a similar talk I did last year. The subject is 'Working in Open Source Search' and I'll describe how we founded Flax back in 2001, how we've built, tuned and implemented open source search engines and some of the client projects we've worked on. It's been a fascinating journe...Continue reading

Search Solutions 2017 review

Search Solutions is one of my favourite search events of the year - small, focused and varied, with presentations from both the largest and smallest players in the world of search, drawn from both industry and academia. This year's event started with Edgar Meij of Bloomberg, who Flax have helped in the past with their larg...Continue reading

Elastic acquires Swiftype and broadens its offering to include enterprise search

The news today that Elastic (the company behind the open source Elasticsearch software) has acquired Swiftype will have surprised a few people, even though Elastic has already acquired a good number of other companies. Swiftype have a couple of products that deliver cloud-based site and enterprise search and under the hood, all of this is built on Elasticsearch.  Swiftype are part of a new ...Continue reading

It’s not just about technology – training for search managers is vital

A few weeks ago I sat in on a workshop in London at the Taxonomy Boot Camp conference, run by Jeff Fried of BA Insight. I've known Jeff for many years from various events and we share some views on how search systems should be built and managed - using best-of-breed technology and effective management processes. He was kind enough to ask me to join a recent podcast. During the podcast, we had a great conversation about open source search, enterprise...Continue reading

Worth the wait – Apache Kafka hits 1.0 release

We've known about Apache Kafka for several years now - we first encountered it when we developed a prototype streaming Boolean search engine for media monitoring with our own library Luwak. Kafka is a distributed streaming platform with some simple but powerful concepts - everything it deals with is a stream ...Continue reading

Elastic London Meetup: Rightmove & Signal Media and a new free security plugin for Elasticsearch

I finally made it to a London Elastic Meetup again after missing a few of the recent events: this time Rightmove were the hosts and the first speakers. They described how they had used Elasticsearch Percolator to run 3.5 million stored searches on new property listings as part of an overall migration from the Exalead search engine and Oracle database to a new stack bas...Continue reading