The Solr Start website has been out for a little while in the alpha form. However, it has now been formally relaunched (into beta) and I wanted to introduce and clarify reasons for it.
Doing the research for my first Solr book, I realized how powerful Solr was. Yet, I was also frustrated that this power was hard to discover. I would read about a configurable aspect of Solr, such as UpdateRequestProcessor factories and the official wiki would have a couple of them mentioned. But going to the Javadoc would show that there was quite a number of those factories available, if one would just spend 30 minutes clicking around the multi-level inheritance hierarchy. Which I did the first time I discovered the power.
But then, with each new version of Solr, other factories would be added and I would miss them. And, as was obvious from the mailing list and Stack Overflow discussions, so would many other people. Even some quite advanced ones. And, even if one could navigate JavaDocs, it would not always help. Lucene and Solr’s documentation is split into several modules and classes such as UIMAUpdateRequestProcessorFactory (in solr-uima module) link to the parent class (in solr-core module) but are not linked back to.
It wasn’t that the information was not available. It was just hard to find and even harder to comprehend quickly. Between classes browsing, bad Solr Javadoc SEO on the web and obscure jars for non-core modules, it was clear that people were missing useful Solr functionality.
This problem was even more noticeable for beginner Solr users who were trying to up-skill to the intermediate level. Solr is very easy to start with, but there is a noticeable jump in effort required to get much beyond the collection1 level of understanding.
I tried to address that problem with my book and now also with the Solr Start website. Currently, it has two comprehensive collections of resources, bringing together their names, direct links to their JavaDocs and even the module jars they can be found in:
- UpdateRequestProcessor factories that are used in the chains for document indexing
- Analyzers, Tokenizers and Filters that are used to compose indexing and query chains for the text field types
There are more resources like that and they will be added to the site soon.
Importantly, these collections are not the only examples of what Solr Start will have. I have accumulated quite a large ToDo list of diverse things that could be useful for beginner and intermediate Solr users. And I hope Solr Start will become a very prominent resource for users to quickly discover exactly what’s available and to save the unnecessary digging around.
There is also an associated mailing list on the home and the resources pages. I will be announcing new resources on that list. But I will also be doing some early previews well before the general audience will see the final version. And there will be rewards to the subscribers on my next commercial Solr project (a book of sorts).
So, please visit the website, join the mailing list and use and share the resource links to help making the Solr mastery an easier goal to achieve for everyone.