Web Software Architecture and Engineering – Life on the Bleeding Edge

Previously, in Part 2 of this series, I blogged about some difficulties in working with Solr. I am following up with some more lessons learned.
This one deals with wildcards. If you look on page 359 of the 2nd WACK book, it states: “A search for ?ar?et would find both Carpet and Target, but not Learjet.”
Thanks for Ray Camden for confirming this would actually NOT work. I believe he said it would go in the Errata. Why?
Well, starting with a wildcard value, either * (star) or ? (question mark) will fail with Solr. You will get this nice error: “Error executing query : orgapachelucenequeryParserParseException_Cannot_parse_XXX__or__not_allowed_as_first_character_in_WildcardQuery”.
So although it would nice to search for “*ing”, it would be impractical according to the Solr folks. Is there a way around this? Well, theoretically yes.
Lets say in column1 you wanted to search for ?ar?et just like in the example. Do the following:

  1. When you build your SQL query, add a column and do a REVERSE. For example: SELECT column1, column2, REVERSE(column1) AS reverseColumn1..
  2. Index the results.
  3. Then when searching, do a reverse of the term if it starts with a wildcard. In this example: “te?ra?”



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