In concert with our new Flax website, we’ve decided to start blogging about development of Xapian and Flax, search technology in general, interesting open source projects and indeed anything else we can think of.
In this first post, I’ll try to explain a little about the motivation behind the Flax project. Here at Lemur Consulting we’ve worked with search engines for decades, starting with Muscat, then building a half-billion-page search for the Webtop project, to working with technologies such as Autonomy IDOL, Ultraseek and Lucene. We know a lot about the features customers need from search tools and how to build them. However, we’re also committed open source enthusiasts – and very few enterprise search engines are open source.
So, we feel the time is right for a complete open source enterprise search product. We’ve called this product Flax, and based it on the Xapian core (because we’re also heavily involved in Xapian, having helped develop it to support the aforementioned Webtop project). Flax is a combination of Xapian, various other programs we’ve developed over the years from spiders to indexers to content extractors, other complementary programs and our combined years of experience in the sector.
If you want to try Flax, right now, you can download Flax Basic, a free search tool for Windows. You could also see Flax in action searching millions of interior design items at mydeco or searching tens of millions of UK newspaper stories at NLA Clipsearch. If you want to know more about Flax and how it could help you build a powerful search tool, contact us.
We intend to develop Flax to rival or even surpass commercially available closed source search engines. Even at this early stage, the examples above prove this is a solid, scalable platform with a great future. It’s an exciting project and we’re glad to be able to share our story with you.