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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Solr in PHP/Drupal, Ruby/Sunspot and Python/Haystack

Adoption of Apache Solr is accelerating. Being accessible though HTTP makes it possible for Solr (a Java webapp) to be used with any language. All you need is support for making HTTP calls and parsing one of the many available formats such as XML or JSON.


Drupal is one of the most popular CMS available as open source. It is written in PHP and boasts of a huge user and developer base. Recently, the Drupal community has integrated Apache Solr into Drupal for vertical search. The integration is available as a Drupal module at There are some excellent tutorials available on how to get started with using this as well as a hosted solution by Acquia.


Ruby integration has been present in Solr since a long time. There is a module called solr-ruby as well as acts_as_solr. Solr even has a ruby response writer which outputs search results serialized in ruby. Blacklight is an open source project I know that uses Solr and is built in Ruby. Today, I came to know about SunSpot - A Solr powered search engine for Ruby. More details at this article in LinuxMag.


Solr has a python response writer as well as many clients. See for details. Reddit is one site that uses Solr with a python front-end application. There is also HayStack for Django which can use Solr among other engines such as Xapian and Whoosh.

Solr 1.4 is nearing release with a number of features and performance improvements. On the other hand, Lucene is getting ready for near real-time search as well. Things are getting interesting in the Solr world!

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Committer on Apache Solr. Principal Software Engineer at AOL.

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