Apache Solr Beginner's Guide Paperback – 26 Dec 2013
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About the Author
Alfredo Serafini is a freelance software consultant, currently living in Rome, Italy. He has a mixed background. He has a bachelor's degree in Computer Science Engineering (2003, with a thesis on Music Information Retrieval), and he has completed a professional master's course in Sound Engineering (2007, with a thesis on gestural interface to MAX/MSP platform).
From 2003 to 2006, he had been involved as a consultant and developer at Artificial Intelligence Research at Tor Vergata (ART) group. During this experience, he got his first chance to play with the Lucene library. Since then he has been working as a freelancer, alternating between working as a teacher of programming languages, a mentor for small companies on topics like Information Retrieval and Linked Data, and (not surprisingly) as a software engineer.He is currently a Linked Open Data enthusiast. He has also had a lot of interaction with the Scala language as well as graph and network databases.
You can find more information about his activities on his website, titled designed to be unfinished, at http://www.seralf.it/.
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Top Customer Reviews
It maybe an excellent book for Solr 4 but not for what I wanted.
As usual Amazon's excellent customer service prevailed and I returned it for a credit.
This book is so much more that that, it quickly takes up a "Hand-On" approach and will gradually make you test out all the chapters one by one. Things to be mentioned as followed:
Indexing with Local PDF Files
indexing an example document with cURL
playing with spell-checks
prototyping an auto-suggester with facets
Working with Multiple Entities, Multicores, and Distributed Search
It basically has a bit of everything and combines them so well that no matter if you come from PHP or any other programming languages you will have a easy time understanding this book and going throw its examples with a breeze in the same time expanding your knowledge base.
Apache Solr Beginner's Guide: bit.ly/1lYX0ij
The book is a very good partner for starting with Solr. It's extremely readable and I can thoroughly recommend this book.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The book is structured very well in a clear and concise manner. Each chapter starts with a practical problem like 'Indexing with local PDF files' or 'Using faceted search' it then first discusses the problem and the Solr way of solving it. After that the author walks you through the commands so you can test the solution immediately yourself. I highly recommend reading this book next to a computer so you can fire up your terminal any time and get the most out of its 'learning by doing' approach. Because of the book's example based structure it has also been a good resource for me to go back to at work - the Solr documentation lacks examples almost entirely, which makes this book a great desk companion.
The author asserts that no prior programming experience is required. In my opinion, prior programming knowledge is a necessity to follow along.On page 68 of the book the author states that "both XML and json are widely used on Internet applications and mashups, so I suggest you become familiar with both of them." One can only be fully familiar with these afore-mentioned technologies only when one has some sort of programming knowledge. Knowledge of using the command prompt is also important.
Other than that I think this is an awesome book that demonstrates the limitless possibilities one can venture into using Apache Solr. Even after completing this book I find myself going through it again so as to familiarize myself more with Apache Solr. There are a lot of topics covered in this book. These include among others:
- How to install Apache Solr
- Using faceted search
- Working with Multiple Entities, Multicores, and Distributed Search
- Collecting the paintings data from DBpedia
- Indexing with Local PDF Files
The positive to take away from this book is that it is written in a manner that is easy to understand. So there is no need to have a dictionary close by. It is written in a practical manner. You get to see how covered concepts are applied. If you are focused enough you will be just fine in following along.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who needs to incorporate a full-text search engine to their application. In terms of rating this book I give it a 4/5 rating.
Coming from PHP I wasn't too keen to introduce any Java components in my deployments as I wasn't sure how they would integrate and whether they'd play nicely, but they sure do. This book covers Solr 4.5.0 and works quite well also for the most recent 4.7.0 release. At least I couldn't find any situations where it was wrong.
You will learn from this book how to create your own searches, index/import data from different sources (web, pdf and cdv files, databases), configuring tokenizers and tweaking search to suit your needs, geolocalization, and much more. This book goes beyond the simple beginner's topics and also addresses deployments with multiple instances (SolrCloud) and how to integrate with other systems such as Alfresco or even Wordpress.
The only downside I found is that the examples used in the book (and provided in full as a download) are a bit complex so you have to spend a little bit of time to replicate the environment to fully follow the book. On the other hand it provides an even better understanding of how things work together. Since many of the code examples are using XML it is very hard to read in the printed version of the book. Unfortunately the epub version does not support syntax highlighting so I suggest you go through code examples directly in an editor that supports syntax coloring.
I'd suggest the Apache Solr Beginner's Guide to anyone considering to use advanced search technology in general or Solr in specific and want to get a good and broad overview of its capabilities. It is as much hands-on as it covers all relevant areas.
I suppose that in a way, this can be an unintended virtue. I learned exactly what the minimum components are for schema.xml and solrconfig.xml, because the book's examples in some places provide totally empty files, and I had to add things in until things worked. You can look at the examples provided with the book as a sort of landmine, and if you can navigate the landmine and get things to work, then you've learned some things about Solr.
On top of that, the book has frequent pronouncements that are completely confusing. As a single example, there is this:
"Running an optimization is very common to find out the number of segment file changes."
You run an optimization in order to collapse all existing segments down to just one; you don't run an optimization to "find out the number of segment file changes." So I simply don't know what to make of this sentence. I have to decide here, as in many other places, that the author completely bungled whatever he was trying to say.
There is much good content in this book. In spite of the errors and incomprehensible statements, you can learn much. But if you are truly an absolute Solr beginner, this book will probably just frustrate you.