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On Lucene.Net: Becoming a Top-level Apache Project and Its Future

by Abel Avram on Aug 18, 2012 |

Lucene.Net, a C# port of the Lucene text search index library, has graduated the Incubator and has become a top-level Apache project. This article contains an interview with Prescott Nasser on the future of the project and Solr.Net.

Lucene.Net, a verbatim port of the Java Lucene text search engine library, started as an Apache Incubator project back in 2006 but its development stalled at some point, especially in 2010 when the svn had few commits. The project was revigorated in 2011, and 2.9.2, 2.9.4 and 2.9.4g were released. The latest news is that Lucene.Net has graduated the incubator, becoming a top Apache project, and is to receive a new website in the following weeks. The graduation shows that Lucene.Net is active and the Apache board is confident the project is healthy.

The Lucene.Net team is preparing to release 3.0.3 soon, each version being on par with its corresponding Lucene/Java version, according to Prescott Nasser, committer on the project, interviewed by InfoQ:

3.0.3 will be feature parity with Java Lucene 3.0.3. There is a relationship - our numbers will match theirs. Our Lucene.Net.Contrib packages will likely not have feature parity, because our community is smaller and keeping that up to date is a bit harder

Currently, the team has two .NET releases, one including support for generics, but that will probably change in the future:

We've talked a lot about how to make the API conform to closer to .NET conventions (rather than Java conventions). The generics branch (2.9.4g) was really using a lot more of those conventions than 2.9.4. I think going forward we are trying to first get up to speed with Java Lucene, and secondarily focus on making it more .NET like. These will probably merge - or more likely 2.9.4g will die on the vine and the trunk will incorporate these features.

The project’s roadmap outlines the intention to catch up with Lucene/Java, but there is no deadline, as Nasser acknowledged: “We have a hazy road map to catch up - no timeline though. Next up for us is currently scheduled to be 3.6, and we're hoping that we can get to 4.0 without too much delay.”

Regarding the opportunity to have a Solr.Net project, Nasser commented:

We've talked about Solr.NET, but the reality is we don't have the resources to accomplish it. We absolutely recognize the benefits, and we know there is demand among our community. We'd also like to get something like the tiki project for .NET.

In the meantime, Apache has announced Java Lucene & Solr 4.0 Beta, with new features: Pluggable Codec Architecture, Flexible Scoring, Document Values API, Field API, optimizations, and others, as described in more detail in this post by Mike McCandless, a Lucene committer and PMC member.

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