The exciting GOV.UK project is getting close to its first release date of October 17th and we were asked by them to help with some search tuning as they migrate from Apache Solr to elasticsearch. Although elasticsearch has some great features there are still some areas where it lags Solr, such as the lack of spelling suggestion and proximity boost features. Alan from Flax spent a couple of days working with the GDS team and has blogged about how proximity boosting in particular can be implemented – at least for terms that are relatively close to each other rather than being separated by a page or so.
If you’re interested in more details of how we fixed this and a few other elasticsearch issues, you may want to take a look at the code we worked on – one of the best things about working with the GOV.UK team is that it was already up as open source software within a day (yes, you read that right – code paid for by the taxpayer is open source, as it should be!). We’re looking forward to launch day!
Update: changed ‘proximity search’ to ‘proximity boost’ – thanks Alan!