Lucene Hackdays in London & Montreal

We ran a couple of Lucene Hackdays over the last couple of weeks: a chance to get together with other people working on open source search, learn from each other and to try and improve both Lucene and associated software.

Our first Hackday was in London, hosted by Mimecast at their offices near Moorgate. Despite a fire alarm practice (during which we ended up under some flats at the Barbican, whose residents may have been a little surprised at quite how many people ended up milling around under their balconies) we had a busy day – we split into three groups to look at tools for inspecting Lucene indexes, various outstanding bugs and issues with Lucene and Solr and to review a well-known issue where different Solr replicas can provide slightly different result ordering. By 5.30 p.m. when we were scheduled to finish we were still frantically hacking on some last-minute Javascript to add a feature to our Marple index inspector – luckily a few minutes later to a collective sigh of relief we had it working and we repaired to a local pub for food and drink (kindly sponsored by Elastic).

The next week a number of us were in Montreal for the Activate conference (previously known as Lucene/Solr Revolution but now sprinkled with cutting-edge AI fairy dust!). Our second Hackday was hosted by Netgovern and we worked on various Lucene/Solr issues, some improvements to our Harahachibu proxy (which attempts to block Solr updates when disk space is low) and discussed in depth how to improve the Solr onboarded experience. Pizza (sponsored by OneMoreCloud) and coffee fueled the hacking and we also added some new features including a Query Parser for MinHash queries. Many Lucene/Solr committers attended and afterwards we met up for a drink & food nearby (thanks to Searchstax for sponsoring this!) where we were joined by a few others – including Yonik Seeley, creator of Solr.

Next it was time for Activate – of which more later! Thanks to everyone who attended – you can see some notes and links about what we worked on here. Work will be continuing on these issues I’m sure.

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