Book Review: Lucene in Action 2nd Edition

Lucene in Action 2nd Edition

Author(s)

Erik Hatcher, Otis Gospodnetic, Michael McCandless


My Rating

star star star star star

Lucene in Action 2nd Edition is a 5 star book that not only contains essential information for people using Lucene-based applications like Solr and Elasticsearch, but presents this information in a well-explained, easy-to-follow and coherent manner.

 

As I worked my way through this book, I continued to take in critical information about topics such as Lucene's inverted index format whilst simultaneously enjoying the flow from sentence to sentence and section to section. This book is incredibly well written.

 

 

 

Make Sure to Read....

Whilst the whole book contains information that will help you build, maintain and tune your Lucene-based applications, if you're going to skip sections of the book then it is critical that you read chapters 1 – 4 and also chapter 11.

Chapters 1 – 4 get you right to the heart of Lucene – how it stores data as inverted indexes in segment files. You need to understand how words and phrases are tokenised during analysis, and you absolutely need to understand that how you index data affects how you query data.

Chapter 11 is important for a different reason; it contains tips and techniques to help you maintain your Lucene index, and also to tune it for performance taking into consideration the trade-offs that are present.

Believe me, I've seen Solr going wrong in production a lot, Chapter 11 could have alleviated many of those issues.

Other Good Things

Apart from – ALL OF IT – there's a cool section on some tools around Lucene that help you work with it. Also, as this is an “in action” book, there are lots of code samples that you can follow along with. The authors did a great job here of providing data sets, and everything you need, all in one place, to be coding along at home happily absorbing knowledge of how to use Lucene.

At the end of the book there are some case studies on companies who've built their own applications on top of Lucene. A little bit dated when you hear people getting excited about 1.5GB in memory indexes, but still incredibly relevant in most aspects and enjoyable to read.

I pity the fool... 

...who's working with Solr or Elasticsearch and has not read this book.

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