Reading a Solr Schema

This is not the place for a full description of a Solr schema, but you need to understand certain concepts to use sunburnt.

For a better understanding of what’s going on, start with and

The examples in this documentation can be run against the example data and schema, though you will need to understand the concepts below.

You can find the example schema at “$SOLR_SOURCE_DIR/example/solr/conf/schema.xml”.

  • documents
A Solr index lets you search over multiple documents. Each document is composed of multiple fields, each field having a fieldtype. The list of available fieldtypes and fields defines what a document is for your purposes, and this is specified in the Solr schema.xml.
  • fieldtypes

A schema will define several fieldtypes, which for sunburnt’s purposes are roughly equivalent to data types - you can have booleans, numbers (of various precisions), dates, and strings. (As of Solr 3.1, you can also have geographical points and blobs). An important distinction should be made between

  • strings, which need not contain human-readable words, and where searching will mostly be exact; and
  • text, which largely will contain human-readable words, and where searching will usually be fuzzier.

Most of Solr’s cleverness is in making sense of text fields.

  • fields

A document schema consists of defining a number of fields, each of which has a name, a fieldtype, plus several options. In contrast to a traditional RDBMS schema, most fields in a document schema will be optional. Fields also may be indexed (ie, you can query on their contents) and/or stored (ie, when a document is returned from a search, a stored field will be part of the result). Fields can be any combination of these - eg you can have stored fields that aren’t queryable, or queryable fields which won’t be returned in the result.

Although the latter seems pointless, it’s very often used because you can have generated fields; fields that don’t exist in the original documents, but are useful for querying. Often you might have a default text field, composed of the title, subtitle, and contents of a document. You want to search on the combined field, but you don’t want to return it in the results - results should only have the fields available on the original document.

  • multivalued

    Fields can also be multivalued. A common pattern might be giving tags to a document. One document can have many tags, so the tags field is multivalued. When you query on tags, all the tags will be searched, and when the document is returned, all the tags will be in the result.

  • default

    A schema will usually define a default field for the document. This is the field which will be searched on if no other field is specified.

  • uniqueKey

    A schema will also usually define a uniqueKey - this acts as an ID field for the document. If this is defined, then every document in the index must have a unique value for this field.

  • dynamic

    A schema can define dynamic fields. These don’t have a set name, instead they are called, for example “\*_i”. This means that when Solr encounters a document which has any field ending in “_i”, it will use the fieldtype associated with the “\*_i” field.

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