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From Brian Goetz <>
Subject RE: QueryParser should now support non-ASCII characters
Date Thu, 01 Nov 2001 22:10:06 GMT

>No.  I too have reservations about these and about fuzzy queries, both
>because they make the query syntax even more complicated, and because they
>make it easy for folks to compose really expensive queries.  What are your
>thoughts on the matter?

My general thoughts on this sort of thing, after having been through the 
same process many times in other O/S projects, is that there should be a 
mandatory one-month discussion period ("cooling-off period"?) before adding 
new syntax to the query language.  I realize that sounds a little silly, 
but the alternative is (a) a proliferation of syntax, which complicates the 
project and its use, and (b) a poor choice of syntax, as the "good" symbols 
get grabbed first, regardless of whether, for example, curly braces would 
be better and more intuitive for some other feature.

This has been a huge issue in the WebMacro group, and I've lately taken the 
"Read my lips, no new syntax" position, which, despite lots of moaning, has 
actually caused us to find much better solutions once the knee-jerk option 
is removed.

I don't want us to lose sight of the fact that the query language should be 
easy to use by beginners.  Any syntax that has the chance of being confused 
by a beginner is probably a bad syntax.  The +, -, and quote syntaxes are 
good; the ^ syntax is more confusing but less likely to be accidentally 
used; I'm less sanguine about the braces and brackets, and even less so 
about question marks.

That said, I wouldn't mind seeing a syntax for modifying the slop factor in 
a phrase query ("Lucene" within 10 words of "search") :)

Brian Goetz
Quiotix Corporation           Tel: 650-843-1300            Fax: 650-324-8032

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