I'm in the process of migrating a medium-sized on-line magazine to Drupal.

I do not know much of Drupal's internal search engine capabilities, but I'm aware of the Apache Solr Search Integration module, which integrates the java-based search engine from Apache. Unfortunately, Solr is something new to me too.

So my questions are:

  • When should I use Apache Solr instead of the Drupal core search? In what type of websites core functionality is not enough? Should I care about the performance gains of using Solr if my visitors only do hundreds of searches per day?
  • Will learning how to use and integrate Apache Solr cost me lots of weeks/months?
  • Looks very similar yes, I did not find it before writing this. But I don't think it's an exact duplicate – Pere Feb 17 '13 at 8:36
  • They look pretty alike to me. Can you explain why they are not duplicates? – Letharion Feb 17 '13 at 10:44
  • This is definitely a duplicate of the other question, bearing in mind it's a bit too subjective to ask how long it will take to set up. It makes sense to ask that obviously, and if I can draw from my own experience - it took me about half a day to successfully set up a SOLR server and connection to Drupal having never done it before, just following instructions from the module and others found on Google. SOLR has an examples folder included to get you going, and it's just a matter of copying the Drupal config files into there to get a basic setup running... – Clive Feb 17 '13 at 13:05
  • 1
    If you use the FacetAPI module and some other extension modules you'll get a really powerful search that can be set up through the GUI, you won't need to write a single line of code unless you want to customise the search results, add non-field APi data to the index, implement a custom handler, etc. Getting it running reliably on a production server will need you to put on your sysadmin hat for a time, as you'll want to set up Tomcat/Jetty and perhaps write an Upstart service to control SOLR – Clive Feb 17 '13 at 13:06

Learning and integrating solr could take no more than a couple days. There is ton of documentation on the API and a wealth of resources on Drupal.org.

Your use case sounds like a great candidate. Here are three good reasons I would use it on a particular site.

  • You have a significant amount of searches being made from the site and limited server resources, Solr will increase efficiency.

  • You need specific search control beyond core, core search really is just search content inside of nodes, It will ignore block, pane, etc. content. (There are other options that dont require non-php based environments).

  • Search is a major part of your site. It is common that users are finding content through google and other major search engines so search is not as important as it once was. However, some sites encourage or even require the user to search the content of the site. For anything like this, I would suggest solr, in addition to the other listed items, SOLR offers more control and search power (facets and related content) and less limitations.

  • Thanks, definitely I'll have a look into it. I'm curious about the other options that don't require non-php based solutions – Pere Feb 17 '13 at 14:06

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