Upcoming releases for Apache Solr for TYPO3

As for every release we set a focus in which fields we want to improve Apache Solr for TYPO3 with the next releases. In the previous release (8.0.x) our goal was to improve the user experience in the frontend and in the backend. For this release, our focus was to provide tools for integrators that help with automation and debugging in multiple ways.

EXT:solr 8.1.0

For EXT:solr this means that we mainly extend the API to be able to ship the other tools as add-ons. Beside these API extensions, several bugfixes have been merged.

As mentions before we will provide two new add-ons for our EB partners. In the following paragraphs, I want to explain what they do and how you can benefit from them.

EXT:solrconsole 1.0.0 - (EB only)

The goal of EXT:solrconsole is to provide a powerful console interface for EXT:solr. Therefore we started with a Team (Jens Jacobsen - https://www.ueberbit.de/, Benni Mack - https://www.b13.de/, and me) to define tasks that we want to provide for EXT:solr.

We ended up with the following commands, that you are now able to use with the release of EXT:solrconsole 1.0.0:

E.g. in deployment scenarios this can be useful, to Re-Queue and re-index certain records.

Several filters for the commands should help to apply them only on a reduced set of items. E.g. you can use this to delete only documents of a certain type from a certain core:

With the release of solrconsole 1.0.0 we will provide a documentation that explains all commands and filters that solrconsole provides.

Outlook: The initial plan was to implement commands for solrfal as well, but this will be done in a later release.

EXT:solrdebugtools 1.0.0 - (EB only)

The most important part when we integrate a search is to provide good search results.

There are several options in EXT:solr and Apache Solr that allow to influence the score e.g.:

Many of these parameters can be configured with EXT:solr in TypoScript in the query section.

The hard part is to compare the impact with or without one of these settings and to find out which combination is the best.

By now you needed to:

  • debug the executed query
  • run the query directly on the solr server with debugging mode
  • read and understand the explain result
  • ...

To assist with that EXT:solrdebugtools provide a ViewHelper, that:

  • Creates a pie chart with the impact for every field. This chart is calculated by parsing the explain result for the current document
  • Shows the Apache Solr raw explain for the search result

Analyze Scoring with solrdebugtools

This allows you to:

  • Play with the relevancy settings
  • Check the impact in the frontend

In addition to the explain ViewHelper, the extension provides a ViewHelper to output the Apache Solr Query in the frontend to speed up the debugging.

Outlook: The current state provides powerful tools to optimize the scoring. There are several ideas how to extends it. One idea is to add those ViewHelpers by default and only show them for admins or to integrate this stuff into the new admin panel of TYPO3. Any help and feedback are welcome.

Other add-ons

Since in the other add-ons only a few changes have been made I'll shortly summarize them here:

  • solrfal 5.1.0 (EB-only): Attachment fields for pages, besides that only bugfixes
  • solrfluidgrouping 1.1.0 (EB-only): Bugfixes only
  • tika 3.1.0 (public): Extraction preview in FAL backend, besides that only bugfixes
  • solrmlt 2.0.0 (public): TYPO3 8 compatibility (sponsored by redkiwi)

What's planned next?

As mentioned in an earlier post this year the planned next step is to support the latest Apache Solr version and get rid of the old SolrPHPClient.

Beside that we evaluated private packagist, to deliver our addon's as composer packages. By now we made very good experiences with private packagist and we will come up we a pricing model in the next weeks.

Thanks

Thanks to our sponsors (https://www.typo3-solr.com/en/sponsors/our-sponsors/) and especially to our premium sponsors:

How to get involved

The further development is financed by our partners. If you want to support the development in 2018 and help us to reach these goals, it would be nice when you become an EB partner:

Call dkd +49 (0)69 - 247 52 18-0 to sign up for a partnership

von Timo Hund

Timo Hund works as a senior developer at dkd Internet Service GmbH. Over the last year he collected a lot of experiences with Apache Solr and Lucene in several IT projects.