Chapter 13 — Full-Text Searching

Robert Cain (Blog | Twitter) begins this chapter with a couple of statements that set the tone for the chapter… “Search is everywhere” is the first quote that comes as no surprise to most database folks out there… Even so, it’s suprising to realize how truly dependent we’ve become on the ability to search for things in not only our jobs but in our day-to-day life.  Just today I was looking at my bank account on-line and was frustrated that their search mechanism was, well shall we say, less than ideal.  I’ve been using the google for over a decade now and I honestly cannot remember how I found stuff prior to google!  Granted, I have a bookshelf full of technical references (the older ones are more worn than the new ones) and I can recall using sticky notes to “index” the pages that I thought were of the most importance.  Kinda funny looking back at it in that manner. 

The second statement that Robert makes in this chapter is “SQL Server provides a powerful text search engine that’s as easy to use as one-two-three!”  Indeed, it is that easy to set-up, configure and utilize.  As with the relational database engine, full text search also has a lot going on behind the scenes and under the covers that a simple set-up doesn’t lend itself towards.  

Over the course of this chapter, Robert does a great job of walking through how to create full-text catalogs, full-text indexes, populate them, query them and then manage them.  This is where full-text indexing isn’t as easy as one-two-three… at least, it’s not been that easy for me.

Over the years I’ve utilized full-text in a number of different databases and scenarios with varying levels of success.  I’ve learned much over the years about the relational database engine and I’ve also learned enough about full-text search that I’m confident in stating that its a great piece of technology that must be utilized in the proper situations.  I would not recommend designing a system around full-text search capabilities yet I would certainly keep them in mind as they can be very helpful with unstructured data such as word documents, large xml blobs etc…  In those scenarios, it’s critical to keep in mind *exactly* how you are going to be searching these documents.  In my experience, Full-Text search is at it’s most powerful and it’s efficiency is ideal when utilizing the thesaurus functionality, change tracking is set to a scheduled interval and the full-text catalog is either fully re-built or re-organized on a regular basis.

This is a great chapter that shows how easy it can be to get up and running with the power of a full-text search and yet it also provides some of the more important aspects of managing and working within full-text search.

The last item of note that I believe important to spell out is that this chapter covers full-text search in SQL Server 2008.  There have been a significant number of changes to full-text search which can largely be found here:  http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc721269.aspx

Look at that… no need to search for it!  heh


0 Responses to “Chapter 13 — Full-Text Searching”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 11 other followers