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From Brian Goetz <>
Subject Re: [Bug 12137] New: - Can '*' or '?' symbol be used as the first character of a search?
Date Thu, 29 Aug 2002 17:25:38 GMT
> However, it seems to lead to a bug report every few weeks....

Actually, there are very few bug reports for the query parser.  But
there are a LOT of "I want it to work this way, because that would be
more convenient for MY application."  I guess that means a lot of
people are using it :)  And a lot of feature enhancement requests, some
of which are sensible requests.

> Given the number of times the question is asked, something probably
> should be changed...

Yes, probably the FAQ!

> but I don't know which solution that has been given so far should be
> used (if any) since they all have significant downsides.  

There's a tremendous downside to having more than one query parser,
even those in "contributions", unless they are radically different
from each other.  (I would welcome a query parser that took a
different approach to query specification -- but I am pretty resistent
to those that look a lot like the one we have already.)  To name a few
risks, there is the confusion risk (new users picks the wrong one with
bad results, both for the user, and for the reputation of the project
as a whole), the support cost of maintaining more than one, the
obligation to document each and their differences, etc.

> As an app developer, I would have to lean toward "make it easy for
> me - aka make the query parser do the work".  

Understood.  Its always attractive to push your work onto someone
else, no doubt.  And as a project maintainer, I don't even mind this,
when I think that work is beneficial to rest of the community as well.
And in this particular case, its not even "work", as the modification
is trivial.  However, here's an example where we, as a group, thought
that this particular "benefit" is harmful to the community.  And, I
think if you hang out here long enough, you'll think that too.

What you're saying is "I'm comfortable taking the risks of using the
chainsaw."  And that's fine -- please be careful.  But as maintainers
(and stewards), we have to be a little more careful with tools that
are designed for use by users who know nothing about search engine
internals, which is what the query parser is.

So feel free to take the query parser and modify it for your needs,
and call it DansModifiedQueryParser.  But that doesn't make it
appropriate for calling it the default query parser.

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