Lucene.Net ultra fast search for MVC or WebForms site => made easy!

March 7, 2012 § Leave a comment

Introduction

Have you ever heard of Lucene.Net? If not, let me introduce it briefly.

Lucene.Net is a line-by-line port of popular Apache Lucene, which is a high-performance, full-featured text search engine library written entirely in Java. It is a technology suitable for nearly any application that requires full-text search. Especially, an application where you want to achieve something close to Google search results, and no just search results, but very fast search results, or may be just insanely fast search results, but only in your app and on your terms!

So, while technically possibly, though somewhat challenging, you can integrate original Apache Lucene into your .NET application, and it will give you insanely fast search. But it will take quite a while, and will probably force to cut corners here and there, thus making your site way too complex and error prone. So, unless you absolutely have to have the fastest search on the planet (and beat Google along the way), you shouldn’t go this way, as for majority of .NET applications Lucene.Net will be madly fast anyway.

Main purpose of Lucene.Net is to be easy to integrate into any .NET application and provide most of the speed and flexibility of the original Java-based library. And it does it pretty good! You will learn that in this article. Even original Apache Lucene documentation applies to Lucene.Net 99% of the time!

You might ask: “why bother with Lucene.Net? My SQL Server returns search results pretty fast anyway…”. Yeah I thought that too, until I tried Lucene.Net.

First of all, I discovered that Lucene is still faster than SQL query. And it is absolutely fast when searching for some text or pharase, no matter how many words are in your search. For example, when you search for a sentence of five different words in some text or description and want results to be in an order of relevance, in a same way that major web search engines do. How would you do it in SQL? Or .NET?… Your code might get very complex, and search queries long and complicated… That may become equivalent to slow-turtlish kind of search…

Good news are that Lucene.Net solves most of those problems for you! No need to write complicated search logic anymore! All you need to do is to correctly integrate it into you application! And that is what this article is about!

So, if you are interested in trying Lucene.Net for you .NET web site or application, continue reading, and prepare to embrace some love for Lucene!

Small disclaimer, sort of)):

I am not an expert in Lucene, and this article is not only about Lucene, it is rather about how to make it work in you .NET app/site. Hence, there will not be any advanced Lucene topics covered (at least initially), only what is needed to get it working.

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