Archive for the ‘Sphinx’ Category
This is an engaging short introduction to Sphinx. At 146 pages, you shouldn’t expect it to go into every detail, and it doesn’t. There are major topics that it omits entirely or mentions only tangentially, such as distributed searching across a cluster of machines, real-time updating of indexes and attributes, and so on. But although the book doesn’t boil the ocean, it does a great job at covering an introductory subset of Sphinx. It’s just the book you need to get rid of MyISAM full-text indexes and return MySQL to proper performance again.
This book is about how to get started with Sphinx: getting it up and running, basic configuration, creating and maintaining indexes, and querying with the SphinxAPI and SphinxQL languages. It covers relevance and ranking, so you can understand how Sphinx is different from most relevance engines and why it produces better results.
If you haven’t explored Sphinx, you should start with this book. If you know Sphinx, it might be redundant to you.
Either way, it’s a fun book to read. Andrew is a great writer with a charming sense of geeky humor, and he makes a lot of jokes in his examples. These don’t interfere with the learning, but they do make it a lot less dull. (It isn’t forced or overdone, either, unlike a lot of books that have to make constant Beatles references at every opportunity.)
Sphinx is an amazing piece of software. Andrew Aksyonoff is an amazing guy, too. But aside from Andrew’s many talents, and Sphinx’s awesomeness, I wanted to list two related examples of how Sphinx makes the world a better place. Both examples are implemented as open-source software from Ivinco, a company founded by a group of people I used to work with.
The first is the Sphinx WordPress search plugin. I have repeatedly considered using it on my own blog, but I’m running on Pair’s shared hosting, so I don’t think I should do that. But we use it on the MySQL Performance Blog. It returns highly relevant and very fast search results, and has a number of other benefits that end up being very good for SEO, among other things.
The second is the Dokuwiki search plugin. I love Dokuwiki, but its built-in search is horrible; the results are anything but relevant. The Sphinx search plugin is excellent. So if you hate Dokuwiki’s search results, try this plugin and see what you think.
Both the WordPress plugin and the Dokuwiki plugin are available from Ivinco’s open-source software page.