Recently I’ve had the chance of reviewing a new book about Solr: Instant Apache Solr for Indexing Data How-to thanks to the author Alexandre Rafalovitch for providing me the opportunity of doing this. It was a pleasant reading, really interesting so here are my impressions.
A remarkable point about this book is the the approach used with examples, basically the examples are first guaranteed to work and then explained in a great detail without overwhelming the reader. It’s fair to say that I was already familiar with Solr, so I knew several of the concepts explained in the first chapters, although I’ve been using a previous version (3.6) of Solr, so this book offers a very good perspective to dose seeking for a preliminary introduction into Solr 4. The author manages to expose some very complicated topics in a very fancy and yet simple form smoothly driving you from simpler topics into advanced ones.
The author provides a very understandable introduction into text search using Solr by stabilizing analogies between Solr and SQL sentences. Alexandre even takes this analogy as a starting point and bootstrap you into the true power of Solr; which is very usefull, given that a lot of people seek to add Solr (full text search capabilites) into an already preexistent architecture, so everyone with at least a basic understanding of what a RDBMs is will really appreciate it.
The book is not divided into chapters but instead the sections follows a very logical flow: starts with how “explain” to Solr what kind of data we want to put in it, then how to actually put data into Solr and lastly how to get it out. Each section have been labeled according to the difficulty in Simple, Intermediate or Advanced, which supply a very easy understanding on how hard a section will be for the reader.
About the example chosen: I must confess that from my point of view although the example selected by the author is really demonstrative of what can be accomplished with Solr, it requires the use of some advanced features of Solr. Initially I’ve thought that this was not an ideal way of introducing Solr, and certainly not a conventional one, but I’ve found my self pleasantly wrong and corrected by the end of the book. So summarizing the example chosen by the author proved to be a really efficient way of introducing new users into the complicated world of Solr. I really recommend this book to anyone interested into knowing what Solr is and how to work with this amazing piece of software.
I can’t finish this post without thank Alexandre for the possibility of reviewing his book, and the opportunity of enjoying his writing.