With the world turning digital, massive amounts of data are being generated and churned into the Web every minute. As a result, data professionals are always on the lookout for dynamic platforms that can offer improved search engine features. Apache Solr is one of the most trending web server applications that facilitates searching web content in major search engines. The platform is claimed to notably improve and speed up the search engine.
Talking about Solr and Lucene, both are Apache projects that have been made to work together. However, Apache Solr is considered to be a standalone server and is a bit advanced. Whereas, Apache Lucene is a Java library-based solution used to index (store) and search data. You can easily build a running search server using Solr within minutes without the need for any coding. But, in the case of Lucene, you will need non-trivial Java programming to build a full-text search function.
Solr (spelled as solar) is nothing but an open-source web application that implements Lucene-based search aptitudes. Basically, it uses the Lucene search library but additionally provides a lot of other tools and extends some of its features. Also, it is considerably more flexible and adaptable because of the XML configuration. Here’s a more detailed comparison between Apache Lucene and Apache Solr.
Comparing the core features:
- Indexing: What ‘indexing’ allows is, instead of going and scanning the entire database table; users can go and pre-process the table to be optimized for searching. For optimized speed in the recovery of data, indexing is the most crucial step involved. For instance, in the case of an enterprising site, both can be seen designating. As we know Apache Lucene involves basic programming, it gives search results using JAVA API. Thus, non-trivial Java programming is needed to build full-text search. Whereas in the case of Apache Solr, the pre-configured search server, a search server can be built in just a snap of time by altering an XML file without the need for any programming. Hence, it saves a lot of time and money.
- Installation: As stated above, Apache Solr is flexible and can be downloaded by any non-programmer. Whereas Apache Lucene can be used only by proficient search engineers or programmers or anyone who has sufficient knowledge of Java programming and the internals of Apache Lucene software.
- Interdependence: Lucene has always been a guideline to Apache Solr as it cannot create its own indexes and relies on the indexes created by Apache Lucene. Ironically, there is no such thing as an Apache Solr index in the programming world.
- Compatibility and ease: Apache Solr is more compatible as it offers some crucial technological features such as clustering, scaling, metrics, management consoles, language examining, etc. The high volume of traffic can be easily handled using Apache Solr whereas search-based sites use Apache Lucene for reverse indexing and such related issues.
- Query patterns: Once the query parser that converts your search words into specific instructions for search engines is customized in Apache Lucene syntax, it will always be the same until another query parser is fed. Also, search boundaries are limited. Apache Solr is optimized for extensible plugin architectures such as typeahead search, spell check, etc. Range queries, prefix queries, and wildcard queries have the same outcomes in Apache Solr.
- Geospatial search: Taking advantage of spectacular search, Apache Solr is considered to be a boom by geospatial companies. Location-based search sites prefer to use Apache Solr technology over Apache Lucene.
In short, Solr embeds all the best practices of Lucene, along with offering easier integration and distribution than the latter. It also offers an easy debugging interface.