What Should An Enterprise Search Engine Have

Simple question, here is my list, in no particular order

  • Cost-Effective
  • Faceted Search
  • SEO Friendly URLs
  • Logging
  • Easy Installation
  • Easy Deployment
  • Java Based
  • ‘Smart’ AJAXy Suggestions
  • Result Snippets
  • Security/Privacy
  • Plug-able Architecture (with default popular searches)
  • Automatic Sorting
  • Automatic Pagination
  • Number of Results Per Page Selection


There are many search engines out there, both commercial and open source. The main driver is something which is cost-effective, either you buy something expensive which comes attached with expensive consultants, or you build something based on open source which takes time and therefore your own expense.

I need a search engine which is cheap (free is good).

Faceted Search

Faceted search is the name of the game these days, keyword matching relevance just won’t cut it.

SEO Friendly URLs

This is a must, allows Google to spider your site more effectively.


Who is doing what, when, where.

Easy Installation

No complex configuration please.

Easy Deployment

No complex deployment please.

Java Based

I like JavaLand

‘Smart’ AJAXy Suggestions

This is Web 2.0 after all

Result Snippets

It is good to be able to run a query and get just a small part of the results back. For example on a real estate site it is useful to have on the home page the number of houses for sale in each state/country with a nice clickable drill down for further searches


Although not always required, security and privacy need to be built in. If you are indexing a document server for example, there may be some documents that you wouldn’t want non-authorised people to see.

Plug-able Architecture (with default popular searches)

Rather than coding all of the standard searches, can’t we just have a list of default indexers?

Sure they may not be perfect, but they will be a great starting point to then extend.

  • Images
  • RSS
  • WebSites
  • Documents
  • Local Drives
  • Databases
  • WordPress Blogs

Automatic Sorting

Being able to sort between ‘Most Relevant’, Size, Date, Cost etc, all with the touch of a link.

Automatic Pagination

Pagination, no more do I want to write pagination code, it is simple, it is easy, I want it built in. Furthermore, I want to be able to style the results without having to delve into the codebase.

Number of Results Per Page Selection

Maybe users wish to customise the number of results per page easily, perhaps you don’t want to allow them to do this…

Of course this will all tie in seamlessly with the pagination…

Welcome To Solr Panl

synapticloop Panl is based on the Apache Solr project and includes almost all of the above. The ones that I am tapping away madly at are the AJAXy suggestions and Logging. Not too shabby really. This list is the one that I originally worked from so all of the architecture is there to support everything that is needed and there are some super-secret features waiting in the wings…

Stay tuned…

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