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on 20 May 2005
An excellent book if you are using or planning to use Lucene.
Although Lucene is very easy to use there are lots of techniques that can be used to get the most out of it. This book explains what, how and why without going too deep into the inner workings of Lucene.
The use of JUnit for worked examples is refreshing and works well. The layout is good and the example code is easy to read with examples kept short (always on a single page) with notes that describe API parameters and what is going on without the reader having to dive into the main text.
My only niggle. There is no detailed technical information about how Lucene does what it does nor is there any background to the theory or about keyword/full text searching but then as this is an "In Action" book an isn't what the book is about then I suppose I shouldn't really complain.
In summary - if you are using Lucene then I'd be surprised if you didn't benefit from reading this book.
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on 6 February 2005
A superb and comprehensive guide to lucene, full of tips and tricks to help you get the best from it. At first glance Lucene appears to be absurdly simple to use, but if you want to really harness it's power you need this book!
Well planned and layed out (and bigger than I expected), the book progresses smoothely through the lucene concepts and API's, and lends the reader an undertanding of the topic which could otherwise only be achieved through long experience.
The use of JUnit tests as code examples works particularly well - much better than contrived toy examples, and the case-studies in the second part of the book provide a good real-world grounding.
As a professional Java developer working with full-text search in RDBMS's for several years, I didn't think i'd get much from this book. Suffice to say I was wrong. The author's enthusiasm for their subject is obvious and contagious - I can't wait to write my first lucene based application!
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on 6 August 2011
If you ever need to write an indexing/search tool, Lucene is for you. It just makes all the hard stuff so easy, and it's fast too and handles very large data sets. I used it to develop such a product when the company standard, bazillions a year in fees, proprietary product just fell over at what it had to do.

This book also makes a very good job at explaining how to use Lucene, albeit from a Java standpoint, but those using C# will not find the transition much trouble.
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on 11 October 2008
Note this review was for the first edition... Amazon's deceptive this way.
The bulk of this book (Part 1:Chapters 1-6) is made up of JUnit tests to illustrate the ideosyncracies of the Lucene framework. Hence my review title! I suppose it's an interesting way to learn a framework, but it wasn't the book I was expecting.
I think this was really exacerbated by all the references back and forth. The first couple of paragraphs on P178 made my head hurt. I like to read a book linearly. You've got what I call a "chicken or egg" thing going on here. The material is so intertwined that early chapters are referencing things later in the book. There is a second edition in the pipeline (Due for May 2009 according to Manning website). I hope they improve on this in the next edition.

There was also chapter 9 on the ports which I found to be of no interest... The best chapter was chapter 7, then chapter 8. Chapter 10 on the case studies was a bit hit and miss for me. I found the jGuru and Nutch discussions more stimulating.
I would really have liked to seen more emphasis on accessing web pages rather than documents on your hard drive along with a much more detailed discussion on Nutch. The Lucene based search engine. Until new edition comes out, I guess I'll wait for Manning's Collective Intelligence to arrive. I think it'll be more my cup of tea. It's supposed to cover Nutch..
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