Not one, but three Lucene hackdays coming soon!

We're always keen to get more people involved in the Lucene search community - there's always lots to do, from deep hacking of the core code, to testing with different frameworks and clients, to creating documentation and examples. It's also just over fifteen years since Tom Mortimer and I founded Flax and we thought we should mark this birthday with some kind of event! So I'm thus very happy to announce we'll be involved in three Lucene hackday events over the next two months: Firstly, 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

Setting up your first Quepid test case

Quepid is an innovative tool from our partners Open Source Connections, which allows you to bridge the gap between content owners (who really know what's in your search index and how people might search for it) and search developers (who can tweak the search engine to improve relevance, given some examples of 'good' and 'bad' results for a query). We're increasingly using it in...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 It's impossible for us to know ahead of time what we might find - out-of-date versions of the software, slow performance on either (or both) the indexing or search side of the application ...Continue reading

Flax announces partnership with Apache Kafka creators Confluent

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We're very happy to announce our partnership with Confluent, which was founded by the creators of Apache Kafka, a stream data platform and the central component of their Confluent Platform. Flax has been aware of Kafka since its inception at LinkedIn, where it is used as the messaging backb...Continue reading

Elasticsearch London Meetup – Exploring the Graph API & SearchKit UI components

This month's Elasticsearch Meetup was hosted by Argos at their Victoria Digital Hub with a relatively small crowd this time - I suspect quite a few who registered didn't actually turn up or release their tickets, which is a shame as there was a waiting list. Mark Harwood of Elastic was first with a talk about the new Graph API and visua...Continue reading

Choosing between Elasticsearch and Solr

One of the questions we're asked all the time is which of the two most popular open source search engines is best for a particular use case - and the answer is always 'it depends'. Broadly speaking, Apache Lucene/Solr and Elasticsearch are very similar in terms of features and performance. If you've already chosen one of them, there's very few reasons to incur the inevitable extra work of switching to the other. However if you're still not sure which to choose, read on. Solr,...Continue reading

Working with Hadoop, Kafka, Samza and the wider Big Data ecosystem

We've been working on a number of projects recently involving open source software often quoted as 'Big Data' solutions - here's a quick overview of them. The grandfather of them all of course is Apache Hadoop, now not so much a single project as an ecosystem including storage and processing for potentially huge amounts of data, spread across clusters of machines. Interestingly Hadoop was originally created by Doug Cutting, who also wrot...Continue reading