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

A fabulous FactHack for Full Fact

Last week we ran a hackday for Full Fact, hosted by Facebook in their London office. We had planned to gather a room full of search experts from our London Lucene/Solr Meetup and around twenty people attended from a range of companies including Bloomberg, Alfresc...Continue reading

Just the facts with Solr & Luwak

It won't have escaped your notice that factchecking is very much in the news recently due to last year's political upheavals in both the US and UK and the suspected influence of fake news on voters. Both traditional and social media organisations are making efforts in this area; examples include Channel 4 and Faceboo...Continue reading

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 It's impossible for us to know ahead of time what we might find - out-of-date versions of the software, slow performance on either (or both) the indexing or search side of the application ...Continue reading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