Solr is an open source search platform from Apache. It has a very powerful full-text search capability among other things.
Solr is written in Java. And it runs as a standalone search server within a servlet container like Tomcat. When you are working on a Ruby on Rails application you do not want to maintain Tomcat server. This is where websolr comes in picture. Websolr manages the index and the Rails application interacts with index using a gem called sunspot-rails .
1# Gemfile 2gem 'sunspot_rails', '= 1.3.3' # search feature
Here I am interested in searching products.
1class Product < ActiveRecord::Base 2 searchable do 3 text :name, boost: 1.5 4 text :description 5 end 6end
Using sunspot gem
1rails g sunspot_rails:install
Above command creates config/sunspot.yml file. By default this file looks like following.
1production: 2 solr: 3 hostname: localhost 4 port: 8983 5 log_level: WARNING 6 7development: 8 solr: 9 hostname: localhost 10 port: 8982 11 log_level: INFO 12 13test: 14 solr: 15 hostname: localhost 16 port: 8981 17 log_level: WARNING
The way sunspot works is that after every single web request it updates solr about the changes that took place in the request. This is not desirable. To turn that off add auto_commit_after_request option to false in the config/sunsunspot.yml file.
I would also change the log_level for development to DEBUG . The revised config/sunspot.yml file would look like
1production: 2 solr: 3 hostname: localhost 4 port: 8983 5 log_level: WARNING 6 auto_commit_after_request: false 7 8development: 9 solr: 10 hostname: localhost 11 port: 8980 12 log_level: DEBUG 13 auto_commit_after_request: false 14 15test: 16 solr: 17 hostname: localhost 18 port: 8981 19 log_level: DEBUG 20 auto_commit_after_request: false
Taking care of callbacks
In the above case anytime I create, update or destroy a product then as part of after_save callback solr commit commands are issued. Since after_save callbacks are part of ActiveRecord transaction, this slows up the create, update and destroy operation. I like all these operations to happen in background.
Here is how I handled it
1class Product < ActiveRecord::Base 2 searchable do 3 text :name, boost: 1.5 4 text :description 5 end 6 handle_asynchronously :solr_index, queue: 'indexing', priority: 50 7 handle_asynchronously :solr_index!, queue: 'indexing', priority: 50 8 handle_asynchronously :remove_from_index, queue: 'indexing', priority: 50 9end
In the above case I used Delayed Job but you can use any background job processing tool.
In case of Delayed Job the higher the priority value the less is the priority. By bumping the priority value to 50, I'm making sure that emails and other background jobs are processed before solr work is taken up.
Problem with remove_from_index
In the above case the call to remove_from_index has been deferred to Delayed Job. However the record has already been destroyed. So when Delayed Job takes up the work it first tries to retrieve the record. However the record is missing and the background job fails.
Here is how we solved this problem.
1class Product < ActiveRecord::Base 2 searchable do 3 text :name, boost: 1.5 4 text :description 5 end 6 handle_asynchronously :solr_index, queue: 'indexing', priority: 50 7 handle_asynchronously :solr_index!, queue: 'indexing', priority: 50 8 9 def remove_from_index_with_delayed 10 Delayed::Job.enqueue RemoveIndexJob.new(record_class: self.class.to_s, attributes: self.attributes), queue: 'indexing', priority: 50 11 end 12 alias_method_chain :remove_from_index, :delayed 13end
Add another worker named remove_index.rb .
1class RemoveIndexJob < Struct.new(:options) 2 def perform 3 return if options.nil? 4 options.symbolize_keys! 5 record = options[:record_class].constantize.new options[:attributes].except("id") 6 record.id = options[:attributes]["id"] 7 record.remove_from_index_without_delayed 8 end 9end
Connecting to websolr
From the websolr documentation it was not clear that the sunspot gem first looks for an environment variable called WEBSOLR_URL and if that environment variable has a value then sunspot assumes that the solr index is at that url. If no value is found then it assumes that it is dealing with local solr instance.
So if you are using websolr then make sure that your application has environment variable WEBSOLR_URL properly configured in staging and in production environment.