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It is a standalone search engine, meant to provide fast, size-efficient and relevant fulltext search functions to other applications. Sphinx was specially designed to integrate well with SQL databases and scripting languages. Currently built-in data sources support fetching data either via direct connection to MySQL or PostgreSQL, or using XML pipe mechanism (a pipe to indexer in special XML-based format which Sphinx recognizes). Official APIs for PHP, Python, Java, Ruby, pure C are included in Sphinx distribution.

Its feature includes:

  • high indexing speed (upto 10 MB/sec on modern CPUs);
  • high search speed (avg query is under 0.1 sec on 2-4 GB text collections);
  • high scalability (upto 100 GB of text, upto 100 M documents on a single CPU);
  • provides good relevance ranking through combination of phrase proximity ranking and statistical (BM25) ranking;
  • provides distributed searching capabilities;
  • provides document exceprts generation;
  • provides searching from within MySQL through pluggable storage engine;
  • supports boolean, phrase, and word proximity queries;
  • supports multiple full-text fields per document (upto 32 by default);
  • supports multiple additional attributes per document (ie. groups, timestamps, etc);
  • supports stopwords;
  • supports both single-byte encodings and UTF-8;
  • supports English stemming, Russian stemming, and Soundex for morphology;
  • supports MySQL natively (MyISAM and InnoDB tables are both supported);
  • supports PostgreSQL natively.




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