As an aid to getting over the first (and hopefully last) seasonal cold, I’ve been implementing Xapian as a search engine, using the Python bindings. I did look at Solr as an alternative but the set up costs outweighed the fact that Xapian is already installed on the server as part of Python. Unlike OpenMilton, the first site that I worked on the for the OKF, I’ve extracted part of the text that the search terms appears in so that we do not show the full text every time but just the relevant line.
The page is not live yet as we are thinking of moving the site onto a new server but I see it as the last part of the 0.1 build of Open Correspondence. I’ve started developing some tools to begin using the data from different languages as well as Python which I hope to start putting on my BitBucket account. Once I do that I’ll be able to really test how the project’s first Python version has come on and how successful that some of the work I’ve been doing is. Once these bugs have been identified, they and the already existing ones can be dealt with and fixed.
The blog post at Invisible Roads was very useful where a City University of New York research department uses Xapian for searching across mail boxes. I’m thinking of using Solr for other projects but whether they will ever turn into any larger is anyone’s guess.