Monthly Archives: May 2009

Solr for WordPress 0.2.0 Released

I just released Solr for WordPress 0.2.0. This release completely replaces the default WordPress search without any special setup. I have also added i18n support so people can translate it into different languages, integrated it into the default WordPress theme, and added support to enable or disable specific facets. This release should make it much easier for people to get setup and working correctly. As usual, please let me know of any bugs you might find by opening a report at

Download here.

Solr AutoSuggest with TermsComponent and jQuery

I needed to implement an autosuggest/autocomplete search box for use with Solr. After a little research, I found the new TermsComponent feature in Solr 1.4. To use TermsComponent for suggestions, you need to provide set the prefix and lower bound to the input term and make the lower bound exclusive. Use the terms.fl parameter to set the source field. This means:

  • Set terms.lower to the input term
  • Set terms.prefix to the input term
  • Set terms.lower.incl to false
  • Set terms.fl to the name of the source field

Your resulting query should look something like this:


Note: This assumes you are using the default solrconfig.xml for Solr 1.4

In the example above I used “py” for my input term. You will then get output that looks similar to this:


Now that we have TermsComponent setup and working correctly its time to create the autosuggest/autocomplete search box. Since I am not one to reinvent the wheel, I did a quick search and found a jQuery UI plugin for autocomplete. The search frontend I was developing was already using jQuery, so this plugin was a perfect fit.

This autocomplete plugin is not in the current release of jQuery UI so I needed to grab it from their subversion repository. You can find instructions where to get it here.

The plugin supports AJAX calls for the data source. It expects the data source to return each suggestion on it’s own line, for example:


As you saw above, this is not what direct output from Solr looks like. On top of this, it is not a good idea to expose your backend server via your frontend code. Time to write a java servlet.

Unfortunately the java client for Solr, SolrJ, didn’t support TermsComponent yet. I decided to add this support, so please see this post for information on my patch.

Assuming you are using a version of SolrJ with my patch, here is a simple servlet that provides the functionality we need:

protected void doGet(HttpServletRequest req, HttpServletResponse res) throws ServletException, IOException {
        String q = req.getParameter("q");
        String limit = req.getParameter("limit");
	PrintWriter writer = res.getWriter();
	List<Term> terms = query(q, Integer.parseInt(limit));

	if (terms != null) {
		for (Term t : terms) {

And the query method:

private List<Term> query(String q, int limit) {
    List<Term> items = null;
    CommonsHttpSolrServer server = null;

     try {
         server = new CommonsHttpSolrServer("http://localhost:8983/solr");
     } catch(Exception e) { e.printStackTrace(); }

     // escape special characters
     SolrQuery query = new SolrQuery();

     try {
         QueryResponse qr = server.query(query);
         TermsResponse resp = qr.getTermsResponse();
         items = resp.getTerms("spell");
     } catch (SolrServerException e) {
      	items = null;

     return items;

Now you may be wondering why I used the “q” and “limit” parameters. I use these because this is what the jQuery autocomplete plugin sends to the servlet. “q” is the input term, and “limit” is the max number of suggestions to return.

Now to hook everything together. Insert the following javascript into the head of your search page and replace “#searchbox” with the id of the input box you want to use for autocompletion. Also insert the correct url to your servlet.

        	$(document).ready(function() {

        		$("#searchbox").autocomplete({ url: 'completion',
        			 max: 5,

Update your css file with required jQuery UI css:

/* Autocomplete
.ui-autocomplete {}
.ui-autocomplete-results { overflow: hidden; z-index: 99999; padding: 1px; position: absolute; }
.ui-autocomplete-results ul { width: 100%; list-style-position: outside; list-style: none; padding: 0; margin: 0; } 

/* if  the width: 100%, a horizontal scrollbar will appear when scroll: true. */
/* !important! if line-height is not set, or is set to a relative unit, scroll will be broken in firefox */
.ui-autocomplete-results li { margin: 0px; padding: 2px 5px; cursor: default; display: block; font: menu; font-size: 12px; line-height: 16px; overflow: hidden; border-collapse: collapse; }
.ui-autocomplete-results li.ui-autocomplete-even { background-color: #fff; }
.ui-autocomplete-results li.ui-autocomplete-odd { background-color: #eee; }

.ui-autocomplete-results li.ui-autocomplete-state-default { background-color: #fff; border: 1px solid #fff; color: #212121; }
.ui-autocomplete-results li.ui-autocomplete-state-active { color: #000; background:#E6E6E6 url(images/ui-bg_glass_75_e6e6e6_1x400.png) repeat-x; border:1px solid #D3D3D3; }

.ui-autocomplete-loading { background: white url('images/ui-anim.basic.16x16.gif') right center no-repeat; }
.ui-autocomplete-over { background-color: #0A246A; color: white; }

Congratulations! You should now have a working Solr-based autocomple search box!
Solr AutoCompletion