acts_as_solr Tutorial: More Search Goodness in Rails
(photo credit: RBerteig)
A couple of months ago I posted about an acts_as_ferret tutorial, where Ferret is a Ruby port of Apache Lucene and acts_as_ferret provides almost automatic search features to any of your Rails models. It works great on a small scale but some people in the blogosphere pointed out that Ferret has a number of concurrency and stability issues (particularly on very large indexes).
Enter Solr. Solr is an open source 'server' based upon the actual Java version of Lucene which is well known for its stability. acts_as_solr therefore acts as a conduit between your Rails applications and a Solr/Lucene server meaning that you get full 'enterprise quality' search features based on proven software. Micha Wedemeyer has put together a great resource on how to install and setup Solr and acts_as_solr and the official acts_as_solr homepage has examples of how to use it within your own Rails applications. There's also a screencast called "Integrating Solr and the acts_as_solr plugin to any Rails app in less than 10 minutes" available to watch.