Boosts Considered Harmful – adventures with badly configured search

During a recent client visit we encountered a common problem in search - over-application of 'boosts', which can be used to weight the influence of matches in one particular field. For example, you might sensibly use this to make results that match a query on their title field come higher in search results. However in this case we saw huge boost values used (numbers in the hundreds) which were probably swamping everything else - and it wasn't at all clear where the values had come from, be it ex...Continue reading

Can we fix your Solr or Elasticsearch system in a single day?

Here at Flax, we're often called in to take a look at existing Apache Solr or Elasticsearch search applications, to suggest improvements, tune-ups or enhancements. It's impossible for us to know ahead of time what we might find - out-of-date versions of the software, slow performance on either (or both) the indexing or search side of the application ...Continue reading

Out with the old – and in with the new Lucene query parser?

Over the years we've dealt with quite a few migration projects where the query syntax of the client's existing search engine must be preserved. This might be because other systems (or users) depend on it, or a large number of stored expressions exist and it is difficult or uneconomic to translate them all by hand. Our usual approach is to write a query parser, which understands the current syntax but creates a Continue reading

Flax wins contract with NHS Wales to support Apache Solr for Welsh Clinical Portal


We're very pleased to announce that Flax has won a 3-year contract with the NHS Wales Informatics Service to support the Apache Lucene/Solr search engine used by the Welsh Clinical Portal, during which period we'll be backing up the in-house team with our deep experience of Solr. The Welsh Clinical Portal is a classic example of how a search engine ...Continue reading

Helping Bloomberg build a real-time news search engine with Luwak

Bloomberg is one of the world's leading providers of financial news via the Bloomberg Terminal, an almost ubiquitous presence on the desks of finance professionals. As you might expect their systems heavily depend on effective search and over the last few years they have become increasingly involved in the open source community, sponsoring events such as Lucene Revolution and also he...Continue reading