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From Erik Hatcher <>
Subject Re: SpanQuery parser? Update (ugly hack inside...)
Date Sat, 05 Nov 2005 00:29:48 GMT

On 4 Nov 2005, at 18:32, Sean O'Connor wrote:
> I'm posting this primarily hoping to give back a tiny bit to a very  
> helpful community. More likely however, someone else will open my  
> eyes to an easier approach than what I outline below...
> I've come up with a very ugly conversion approach from regular  
> Query objects into SpanQuery objects. I then use the converted  
> SpanQuery to get span positions (currently both token #, and start/ 
> end position). In effect, I have highlighting for simple queries  
> with a very inefficient approach (yea for me!).

As you and I have talked about on a couple of face to face occasions,  
this is the approach I am taking on a current consulting project.  My  
conversion code is slightly different than yours in that I don't  
rewrite the query, but translate it as-is into comparable SpanQuery  
subclasses - and this is because I have a RegexQuery and  
SpanRegexQuery that are comparable.  But rewriting is a good  
pragmatic way to go for general query types that don't have a  
comparable SpanQuery subclass.

> The goal(s) I am trying to accomplish is rather specific I think,  
> so I imagine the use of my hacking is rather limited (i.e. just to  
> me).
> At the moment my code:
>    * parses the search text (i.e. user entered query)

Are you using QueryParser?  If so, you'll also want to account for  
BooleanQuery, recursively.

>    * rewrites the resulting query to expand wildcards and such against
>      index
>    * calls a recursive conversion function with very basic conversion
>      understanding
>          o TermQuery -> SpanTerm
>          o PhraseQuery -> SpanNear
>          o others in progress as time permits
> Currently, I only process simple query strings like:
> "blue green yellow" => SpanOrQuery
> "luce* acti*" => SpanOrQuery with wild cards expanded
>    e.g.: lucene lucent action acting ... all or'ed together in a  
> braindead fashion
> "luce* acti* \"book rocks\"" => SpanOrQuery combining SpanTerms and  
> SpanNear (no slop)
>    er, hopefully you get the picture, I'm not up to showing a  
> vector of this one... :-)
> I would be happy to discuss my approach if there is anyone  
> interested. I assume I am pretty much alone in finding this  
> ineffecient approach useful. For me, it is the functionality that  
> overrides perfomance issues.

What is inefficient about it?   The rewrite stuff is the main  
difference, and perhaps that is the issue you're encountering.  Where  
do you see the performance issues?

Converting a query, for me at least, is fast - perhaps because there  
is no rewriting involved.

> I have something which can take user search strings and do hit  
> highlighting for the exact hit found. This is really only useful  
> for "termA near 'some phrase'" at the moment, but might become more  
> advanced in the next 2-3 months.

I'm basically implementing this very thing.  I will likely be  
enhancing the contrib/highlighter code in the next month to use  
SpanQuery for highlighting, as well as adding field-aware highlighting.


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