Part 1. Meet Solr

Our primary focus in these first six chapters will be to explore Solr’s two most important functions: indexing data and executing queries. After reading part 1, you should have a solid understanding of Solr’s query and indexing capabilities, including how to perform analysis of text and other data types, and how to execute searches across that data.

As with every new subject, first we must start with the basics—learning how to install Solr and run it locally.

If you are new to the full-text search space, some of the terminology may be unfamiliar, so consider chapter 3 a dictionary of sorts. What are the key differentiators between a search engine and a database? What is an inverted index? What is relevancy ranking and how does Solr implement it?

With the basics out of the way, starting with chapter 4, we begin looking under the hood of the Solr engine to see how requests are executed and to get an idea of the configuration settings that govern request processing. The main configuration file in Solr, solrconfig.xml, contains numerous settings, some of which (such as cache management settings) are useful when just starting out, while others are intended for advanced users.

A search engine is not very interesting until it has some documents indexed. In chapters 5 and 6, we focus on how documents get indexed, covering document schema design, field types, and text analysis. Understanding these core aspects of indexing will help you throughout the rest of the book.