Expressions in search

Manticore enables the use of arbitrary arithmetic expressions through both SQL and HTTP, incorporating attribute values, internal attributes (document ID and relevance weight), arithmetic operations, several built-in functions, and user-defined functions. Below is the complete reference list for quick access.

Arithmetic operators

+, -, *, /, %, DIV, MOD

Standard arithmetic operators are available. Arithmetic calculations involving these operators can be executed in three different modes:

  1. using single-precision, 32-bit IEEE 754 floating point values (default),
  2. using signed 32-bit integers,
  3. using 64-bit signed integers.

The expression parser automatically switches to integer mode if no operations result in a floating point value. Otherwise, it uses the default floating point mode. For example, a+b will be computed using 32-bit integers if both arguments are 32-bit integers; or using 64-bit integers if both arguments are integers but one of them is 64-bit; or in floats otherwise. However, a/b or sqrt(a) will always be computed in floats, as these operations return a non-integer result. To avoid this, you can use IDIV(a,b) or a DIV b form. Additionally, a*b will not automatically promote to 64-bit when arguments are 32-bit. To enforce 64-bit results, use BIGINT(), but note that if non-integer operations are present, BIGINT() will simply be ignored.

Comparison operators

<, > <=, >=, =, <>

The comparison operators return 1.0 when the condition is true and 0.0 otherwise. For example, (a=b)+3 evaluates to 4 when attribute a is equal to attribute b, and to 3 when a is not. Unlike MySQL, the equality comparisons (i.e., = and <> operators) include a small equality threshold (1e-6 by default). If the difference between the compared values is within the threshold, they are considered equal.

For string attributes, only the equality operator is supported, and using other operators will result in a syntax error.

The BETWEEN and IN operators, in the case of multi-value attributes, return true if at least one value matches the condition (similar to ANY()). The IN operator does not support JSON attributes. The IS (NOT) NULL operator is supported only for JSON attributes.

Boolean operators

AND, OR, NOT

Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) behave as expected. They are left-associative and have the lowest priority compared to other operators. NOT has higher priority than AND and OR but still less than any other operator. AND and OR share the same priority, so using parentheses is recommended to avoid confusion in complex expressions.

Bitwise operators

&, |

These operators perform bitwise AND and OR respectively. The operands must be of integer types.

Functions:

Expressions in HTTP JSON

In the HTTP JSON interface, expressions are supported via script_fields and expressions.

script_fields

{
    "index": "test",
    "query": {
        "match_all": {}
    }, "script_fields": {
        "add_all": {
            "script": {
                "inline": "( gid * 10 ) | crc32(title)"
            }
        },
        "title_len": {
            "script": {
                "inline": "crc32(title)"
            }
        }
    }
}

In this example, two expressions are created: add_all and title_len. The first expression calculates ( gid * 10 ) | crc32(title) and stores the result in the add_all attribute. The second expression calculates crc32(title) and stores the result in the title_len attribute.

Currently, only inline expressions are supported. The value of the inline property (the expression to compute) has the same syntax as SQL expressions.

The expression name can be utilized in filtering or sorting.

‹›
  • script_fields
script_fields
📋
{
    "index":"movies_rt",
    "script_fields":{
        "cond1":{
            "script":{
                "inline":"actor_2_facebook_likes =296 OR movie_facebook_likes =37000"
            }
        },
        "cond2":{
            "script":{
                "inline":"IF (IN (content_rating,'TV-PG','PG'),2, IF(IN(content_rating,'TV-14','PG-13'),1,0))"
            }
        }
    },
    "limit":10,
    "sort":[
        {
            "cond2":"desc"
        },
        {
            "actor_1_name":"asc"
        },
        {
            "actor_2_name":"desc"
        }
    ],
    "profile":true,
    "query":{
        "bool":{
            "must":[
                {
                    "match":{
                        "*":"star"
                    }
                },
                {
                    "equals":{
                        "cond1":1
                    }
                }
            ],
            "must_not":[
                {
                    "equals":{
                        "content_rating":"R"
                    }
                }
            ]
        }
    }
}

By default, expression values are included in the _source array of the result set. If the source is selective (see Source selection), the expression name can be added to the _source parameter in the request. Note, the names of the expressions must be in lowercase.

expressions

expressions is an alternative to script_fields with a simpler syntax. The example request adds two expressions and stores the results into add_all and title_len attributes. Note, the names of the expressions must be in lowercase.

‹›
  • expressions
expressions
📋
{
  "index": "test",
  "query": { "match_all": {} },
  "expressions":
  {
      "add_all": "( gid * 10 ) | crc32(title)",
      "title_len": "crc32(title)"
  }
}

Search options

The SQL SELECT clause and the HTTP /search endpoint support a number of options that can be used to fine-tune search behavior.

OPTION

General syntax

SQL:

SELECT ... [OPTION <optionname>=<value> [ , ... ]] [/*+ [NO_][ColumnarScan|DocidIndex|SecondaryIndex(<attribute>[,...])]] /*]

HTTP:

POST /search
{   
    "index" : "index_name",
    "options":   
    {
        "optionname": "value",
        "optionname2": <value2>
    }
}
‹›
  • SQL
  • JSON
📋
SELECT * FROM test WHERE MATCH('@title hello @body world')
OPTION ranker=bm25, max_matches=3000,
field_weights=(title=10, body=3), agent_query_timeout=10000
‹›
Response
+------+-------+-------+
| id   | title | body  |
+------+-------+-------+
|    1 | hello | world |
+------+-------+-------+
1 row in set (0.00 sec)

Supported options are:

accurate_aggregation

Integer. Enables or disables guaranteed aggregate accuracy when running groupby queries in multiple threads. Default is 0.

When running a groupby query, it can be run in parallel on a plain index with several pseudo shards (if pseudo_sharding is on). A similar approach works on RT indexes. Each shard/chunk executes the query, but the number of groups is limited by max_matches. If the result sets from different shards/chunks have different groups, the group counts and aggregates may be inaccurate. Note that Manticore tries to increase max_matches up to max_matches_increase_threshold based on the number of unique values of the groupby attribute (retrieved from secondary indexes). If it succeeds, there will be no loss in accuracy.

However, if the number of unique values of the groupby attribute is high, further increasing max_matches may not be a good strategy because it can lead to a loss in performance and higher memory usage. Setting accurate_aggregation to 1 forces groupby searches to run in a single thread, which fixes the accuracy issue. Note that running in a single thread is only enforced when max_matches cannot be set high enough; otherwise, searches with accurate_aggregation=1 will still run in multiple threads.

Overall, setting accurate_aggregation to 1 ensures group count and aggregate accuracy in RT tables and plain tables with pseudo_sharding=1. The drawback is that searches will run slower since they will be forced to operate in a single thread.

However, if we have an RT table and a plain table containing the same data, and we run a query with accurate_aggregation=1, we might still receive different results. This occurs because the daemon might choose different max_matches settings for the RT and plain index due to the max_matches_increase_threshold setting.

agent_query_timeout

Integer. Max time in milliseconds to wait for remote queries to complete, see this section.

boolean_simplify

0 or 1 (0 by default). boolean_simplify=1 enables simplifying the query to speed it up.

comment

String, user comment that gets copied to a query log file.

cutoff

Integer. Max found matches threshold. The value is selected automatically if not specified.

  • N = 0 disables the threshold
  • N > 0: instructs Manticore to stop looking for results as soon as it finds N documents.
  • not set: Manticore will decide automatically what the value should be.

In case Manticore cannot calculate the exact matching documents count, you will see total_relation: gte in the query meta information, which means that the actual count is Greater Than or Equal to the total (total_found in SHOW META via SQL, hits.total in JSON via HTTP). If the total value is precise, you'll get total_relation: eq.

distinct_precision_threshold

Integer. Default is 3500. This option sets the threshold below which counts returned by count distinct are guaranteed to be exact within a plain index.

Accepted values range from 500 to 15500. Values outside this range will be clamped.

When this option is set to 0, it enables an algorithm that ensures exact counts. This algorithm collects {group, value} pairs, sorts them, and periodically eliminates duplicates. The result is precise counts within a plain table. However, this approach is not suitable for high-cardinality datasets due to its high memory consumption and slow query execution.

When distinct_precision_threshold is set to a value greater than 0, Manticore employs a different algorithm. It loads counts into a hash table and returns the size of the table. If the hash table becomes too large, its contents are moved into a HyperLogLog data structure. At this point, the counts become approximate because HyperLogLog is a probabilistic algorithm. This approach maintains a fixed maximum memory usage per group, but there is a tradeoff in count accuracy.

The accuracy of the HyperLogLog and the threshold for converting from the hash table to HyperLogLog are derived from the distinct_precision_threshold setting. It's important to use this option with caution since doubling its value will also double the maximum memory required to calculate counts. The maximum memory usage can be roughly estimated using this formula: 64 * max_matches * distinct_precision_threshold, although in practice, count calculations often use less memory than the worst-case scenario.

expand_keywords

0 or 1 (0 by default). Expands keywords with exact forms and/or stars when possible. Refer to expand_keywords for more details.

field_weights

Named integer list (per-field user weights for ranking).

Example:

SELECT ... OPTION field_weights=(title=10, body=3)

global_idf

Use global statistics (frequencies) from the global_idf file for IDF computations.

idf

Quoted, comma-separated list of IDF computation flags. Known flags are:

  • normalized: BM25 variant, idf = log((N-n+1)/n), as per Robertson et al
  • plain: plain variant, idf = log(N/n), as per Sparck-Jones
  • tfidf_normalized: additionally divide IDF by query word count, so that TF*IDF fits into [0, 1] range
  • tfidf_unnormalized: do not additionally divide IDF by query word count where N is the collection size and n is the number of matched documents

The historically default IDF (Inverse Document Frequency) in Manticore is equivalent to OPTION idf='normalized,tfidf_normalized', and those normalizations may cause several undesired effects.

First, idf=normalized causes keyword penalization. For instance, if you search for the | something and the occurs in more than 50% of the documents, then documents with both keywords the and something will get less weight than documents with just one keyword something. Using OPTION idf=plain avoids this. Plain IDF varies in [0, log(N)] range, and keywords are never penalized; while the normalized IDF varies in [-log(N), log(N)] range, and too frequent keywords are penalized.

Second, idf=tfidf_normalized leads to IDF drift across queries. Historically, IDF was also divided by the query keyword count, ensuring the entire sum(tf*idf) across all keywords remained within the [0,1] range. However, this meant that queries like word1 and word1 | nonmatchingword2 would assign different weights to the exact same result set, as the IDFs for both word1 and nonmatchingword2 would be divided by 2. Using OPTION idf='tfidf_unnormalized' resolves this issue. Keep in mind that BM25, BM25A, BM25F() ranking factors will be adjusted accordingly when you disable this normalization.

IDF flags can be combined; plain and normalized are mutually exclusive; tfidf_unnormalized and tfidf_normalized are also mutually exclusive; and unspecified flags in such mutually exclusive groups default to their original settings. This means OPTION idf=plain is the same as specifying OPTION idf='plain,tfidf_normalized' in its entirety.

index_weights

Named integer list. Per-table user weights for ranking.

local_df

0 or 1, automatically sum DFs over all local parts of a distributed table, ensuring consistent (and accurate) IDF across a locally sharded table. Enabled dy default for disk chunks of the RT table.

low_priority

0 or 1 (0 by default). Setting low_priority=1 executes the query with a lower priority in terms of Linux CPU scheduling. You may also consider using the threads=1 option instead, or combine it with low_priority=1, as it could be more effective in certain scenarios.

max_matches

Integer. Per-query max matches value.

The maximum number of matches that the server retains in RAM for each table and can return to the client. The default is 1000.

Introduced to control and limit RAM usage, the max_matches setting determines how many matches will be kept in RAM while searching each table. Every match found is still processed, but only the best N of them will be retained in memory and returned to the client in the end. For example, suppose a table contains 2,000,000 matches for a query. It's rare that you would need to retrieve all of them. Instead, you need to scan all of them but only choose the "best" 500, for instance, based on some criteria (e.g., sorted by relevance, price, or other factors) and display those 500 matches to the end user in pages of 20 to 100 matches. Tracking only the best 500 matches is much more RAM and CPU efficient than keeping all 2,000,000 matches, sorting them, and then discarding everything but the first 20 needed for the search results page. max_matches controls the N in that "best N" amount.

This parameter significantly impacts per-query RAM and CPU usage. Values of 1,000 to 10,000 are generally acceptable, but higher limits should be used with caution. Carelessly increasing max_matches to 1,000,000 means that searchd will have to allocate and initialize a 1-million-entry matches buffer for every query. This will inevitably increase per-query RAM usage and, in some cases, can noticeably affect performance.

Refer to max_matches_increase_threshold for additional information on how it can influence the behavior of the max_matches option.

max_matches_increase_threshold

Integer. Sets the threshold that max_matches can be increased to. Default is 16384.

Manticore may increase max_matches to enhance groupby and/or aggregation accuracy when pseudo_sharding is enabled, and if it detects that the number of unique values of the groupby attribute is less than this threshold. Loss of accuracy may occur when pseudo-sharding executes the query in multiple threads or when an RT table conducts parallel searches in disk chunks.

If the number of unique values of the groupby attribute is less than the threshold, max_matches will be set to this number. Otherwise, the default max_matches will be used.

If max_matches was explicitly set in query options, this threshold has no effect.

Keep in mind that if this threshold is set too high, it will result in increased memory consumption and general performance degradation.

You can also enforce a guaranteed groupby/aggregate accuracy mode using the accurate_aggregation option.

max_query_time

Sets the maximum search query time in milliseconds. Must be a non-negative integer. The default value is 0, which means "do not limit." Local search queries will be stopped once the specified time has elapsed. Note that if you're performing a search that queries multiple local tables, this limit applies to each table separately. Be aware that this may slightly increase the query's response time due to the overhead caused by constantly tracking whether it's time to stop the query.

max_predicted_time

Integer. Maximum predicted search time; see predicted_time_costs.

morphology

none allows replacing all query terms with their exact forms if the table was built with index_exact_words enabled. This is useful for preventing stemming or lemmatizing query terms.

not_terms_only_allowed

0 or 1 allows standalone negation for the query. The default is 0. See also the corresponding global setting.

‹›
  • SQL
SQL
📋
MySQL [(none)]> select * from tbl where match('-donald');
ERROR 1064 (42000): index t: query error: query is non-computable (single NOT operator)
MySQL [(none)]> select * from t where match('-donald') option not_terms_only_allowed=1;
+---------------------+-----------+
| id                  | field     |
+---------------------+-----------+
| 1658178727135150081 | smth else |
+---------------------+-----------+

ranker

Choose from the following options:

  • proximity_bm25
  • bm25
  • none
  • wordcount
  • proximity
  • matchany
  • fieldmask
  • sph04
  • expr
  • export

For more details on each ranker, refer to Search results ranking.

rand_seed

Allows you to specify a specific integer seed value for an ORDER BY RAND() query, for example: ... OPTION rand_seed=1234. By default, a new and different seed value is autogenerated for every query.

retry_count

Integer. Distributed retries count.

retry_delay

Integer. Distributed retry delay, in milliseconds.

sort_method

  • pq - priority queue, set by default
  • kbuffer - provides faster sorting for already pre-sorted data, e.g., table data sorted by id The result set is the same in both cases; choosing one option or the other may simply improve (or worsen) performance.

threads

Limits the max number of threads used for current query processing. Default - no limit (the query can occupy all threads as defined globally). For a batch of queries, the option must be attached to the very first query in the batch, and it is then applied when the working queue is created and is effective for the entire batch. This option has the same meaning as the option max_threads_per_query, but is applied only to the current query or batch of queries.

token_filter

Quoted, colon-separated string of library name:plugin name:optional string of settings. A query-time token filter is created for each search when full-text is invoked by every table involved, allowing you to implement a custom tokenizer that generates tokens according to custom rules.

SELECT * FROM index WHERE MATCH ('yes@no') OPTION token_filter='mylib.so:blend:@'

expansion_limit

Restricts the maximum number of expanded keywords for a single wildcard, with a default value of 0 indicating no limit. For additional details, refer to expansion_limit.

Query optimizer hints

In rare cases, Manticore's built-in query analyzer may be incorrect in understanding a query and determining whether a docid index, secondary indexes, or columnar scan should be used. To override the query optimizer's decisions, you can use the following hints in your query:

  • /*+ DocidIndex(id) */ to force the use of a docid index, /*+ NO_DocidIndex(id) */ to tell the optimizer to ignore it
  • /*+ SecondaryIndex(<attr_name1>[, <attr_nameN>]) */ to force the use of a secondary index (if available), /*+ NO_SecondaryIndex(id) */ to tell the optimizer to ignore it
  • /*+ ColumnarScan(<attr_name1>[, <attr_nameN>]) */ to force the use of a columnar scan (if the attribute is columnar), /*+ NO_ColumnarScan(id) */ to tell the optimizer to ignore it

Note that when executing a full-text query with filters, the query optimizer decides between intersecting the results of the full-text tree with the filter results or using a standard match-then-filter approach. Specifying any hint will force the daemon to use the code path that performs the intersection of the full-text tree results with the filter results.

For more information on how the query optimizer works, refer to the Cost based optimizer page.

‹›
  • SQL
SQL
📋
SELECT * FROM students where age > 21 /*+ SecondaryIndex(age) */

When using a MySQL/MariaDB client, make sure to include the --comments flag to enable the hints in your queries.

‹›
  • mysql
mysql
📋
mysql -P9306 -h0 --comments

Highlighting

Highlighting enables you to obtain highlighted text fragments (referred to as snippets) from documents containing matching keywords.

The SQL HIGHLIGHT() function, the "highlight" property in JSON queries via HTTP, and the highlight() function in the PHP client all utilize the built-in document storage to retrieve the original field contents (enabled by default).

‹›
  • SQL
  • JSON
  • PHP
  • Python
  • Javascript
  • Java
  • C#
📋
SELECT HIGHLIGHT() FROM books WHERE MATCH('try');
‹›
Response
+----------------------------------------------------------+
| highlight()                                              |
+----------------------------------------------------------+
| Don`t <strong>try</strong> to compete in childishness, said Bliss. |
+----------------------------------------------------------+
1 row in set (0.00 sec)

When using SQL for highlighting search results, you will receive snippets from various fields combined into a single string due to the limitations of the MySQL protocol. You can adjust the concatenation separators with the field_separator and snippet_separator options, as detailed below.

When executing JSON queries through HTTP or using the PHP client, there are no such constraints, and the result set includes an array of fields containing arrays of snippets (without separators).

Keep in mind that snippet generation options like limit, limit_words, and limit_snippets apply to each field individually by default. You can alter this behavior using the limits_per_field option, but it could lead to unwanted results. For example, one field may have matching keywords, but no snippets from that field are included in the result set because they didn't rank as high as snippets from other fields in the highlighting engine.

The highlighting algorithm currently prioritizes better snippets (with closer phrase matches) and then snippets with keywords not yet included in the result. Generally, it aims to highlight the best match for the query and to highlight all query keywords, as allowed by the limits. If no matches are found in the current field, the beginning of the document will be trimmed according to the limits and returned by default. To return an empty string instead, set the allow_empty option to 1.

Highlighting is performed during the so-called post limit stage, which means that snippet generation is deferred not only until the entire final result set is prepared but also after the LIMIT clause is applied. For instance, with a LIMIT 20,10 clause, the HIGHLIGHT() function will be called a maximum of 10 times.

Highlighting options

There are several optional highlighting options that can be used to fine-tune snippet generation, which are common to SQL, HTTP, and PHP clients.

before_match

A string to insert before a keyword match. The %SNIPPET_ID% macro can be used in this string. The first occurrence of the macro is replaced with an incrementing snippet number within the current snippet. Numbering starts at 1 by default but can be overridden with the start_snippet_id option. %SNIPPET_ID% restarts at the beginning of each new document. The default is <strong>.

after_match

A string to insert after a keyword match. The default is </strong>.

limit

The maximum snippet size, in symbols (codepoints). The default is 256. This is applied per-field by default, see limits_per_field.

limit_words

Limits the maximum number of words that can be included in the result. Note that this limit applies to all words, not just the matched keywords to highlight. For example, if highlighting Mary and a snippet Mary had a little lamb is selected, it contributes 5 words to this limit, not just 1. The default is 0 (no limit). This is applied per-field by default, see limits_per_field.

limit_snippets

Limits the maximum number of snippets that can be included in the result. The default is 0 (no limit). This is applied per-field by default, see limits_per_field.

limits_per_field

Determines whether limit, limit_words, and limit_snippets operate as individual limits in each field of the document being highlighted or as global limits for the entire document. Setting this option to 0 means that all combined highlighting results for one document must be within the specified limits. The downside is that you may have several snippets highlighted in one field and none in another if the highlighting engine decides they are more relevant. The default is 1 (use per-field limits).

around

The number of words to select around each matching keyword block. The default is 5.

use_boundaries

Determines whether to additionally break snippets by phrase boundary characters, as configured in table settings with the phrase_boundary directive. The default is 0 (don't use boundaries).

weight_order

Specifies whether to sort the extracted snippets in order of relevance (decreasing weight) or in order of appearance in the document (increasing position). The default is 0 (don't use weight order).

force_all_words

Ignores the length limit until the result includes all keywords. The default is 0 (don't force all keywords).

start_snippet_id

Sets the starting value of the %SNIPPET_ID% macro (which is detected and expanded in before_match, after_match strings). The default is 1.

html_strip_mode

Defines the HTML stripping mode setting. Defaults to index, meaning that table settings will be used. Other values include none and strip, which forcibly skip or apply stripping regardless of table settings; and retain, which retains HTML markup and protects it from highlighting. The retain mode can only be used when highlighting full documents and therefore requires that no snippet size limits are set. The allowed string values are none, strip, index, and retain.

allow_empty

Permits an empty string to be returned as the highlighting result when no snippets could be generated in the current field (no keyword match or no snippets fit the limit). By default, the beginning of the original text would be returned instead of an empty string. The default is 0 (don't allow an empty result).

snippet_boundary

Ensures that snippets do not cross a sentence, paragraph, or zone boundary (when used with a table that has the respective indexing settings enabled). The allowed values are sentence, paragraph, and zone.

emit_zones

Emits an HTML tag with the enclosing zone name before each snippet. The default is 0 (don't emit zone names).

force_snippets

Determines whether to force snippet generation even if limits allow highlighting the entire text. The default is 0 (don't force snippet generation).

‹›
  • SQL
  • JSON
  • PHP
  • Python
  • Javascript
  • Java
  • C#
📋
SELECT HIGHLIGHT({limit=50}) FROM books WHERE MATCH('try|gets|down|said');
‹›
Response
+---------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| highlight({limit=50})                                                     |
+---------------------------------------------------------------------------+
|  ... , "It <strong>gets</strong> infantile pleasure  ...  to knock it <strong>down</strong>." |
| Don`t <strong>try</strong> to compete in childishness, <strong>said</strong> Bliss.           |
|  ...  a small room. Bander <strong>said</strong>, "Come, half-humans, I ...         |
+---------------------------------------------------------------------------+
3 rows in set (0.00 sec)

Highlighting via SQL

The HIGHLIGHT() function can be used to highlight search results. Here's the syntax:

HIGHLIGHT([options], [field_list], [query] )

By default, it works with no arguments.

‹›
  • SQL
SQL
📋
SELECT HIGHLIGHT() FROM books WHERE MATCH('before');
‹›
Response
+-----------------------------------------------------------+
| highlight()                                               |
+-----------------------------------------------------------+
| A door opened <strong>before</strong> them, revealing a small room. |
+-----------------------------------------------------------+
1 row in set (0.00 sec)

HIGHLIGHT() retrieves all available full-text fields from document storage and highlights them against the provided query. Field syntax in queries is supported. Field text is separated by field_separator, which can be modified in the options.

‹›
  • SQL
SQL
📋
SELECT HIGHLIGHT() FROM books WHERE MATCH('@title one');
‹›
Response
+-----------------+
| highlight()     |
+-----------------+
| Book <strong>one</strong> |
+-----------------+
1 row in set (0.00 sec)

Optional first argument in HIGHLIGHT() is the list of options.

‹›
  • SQL
SQL
📋
SELECT HIGHLIGHT({before_match='[match]',after_match='[/match]'}) FROM books WHERE MATCH('@title one');
‹›
Response
+------------------------------------------------------------+
| highlight({before_match='[match]',after_match='[/match]'}) |
+------------------------------------------------------------+
| Book [match]one[/match]                                    |
+------------------------------------------------------------+
1 row in set (0.00 sec)

The optional second argument is a string containing a single field or a comma-separated list of fields. If this argument is present, only the specified fields will be fetched from document storage and highlighted. An empty string as the second argument signifies "fetch all available fields."

‹›
  • SQL
SQL
📋
SELECT HIGHLIGHT({},'title,content') FROM books WHERE MATCH('one|robots');
‹›
Response
+---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| highlight({},'title,content')                                                                                                                                                         |
+---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| Book <strong>one</strong> | They followed Bander. The <strong>robots</strong> remained at a polite distance, but their presence was a constantly felt threat.                                             |
| Bander ushered all three into the room. <strong>One</strong> of the <strong>robots</strong> followed as well. Bander gestured the other <strong>robots</strong> away and entered itself. The door closed behind it. |
+---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
2 rows in set (0.00 sec)

Alternatively, you can use the second argument to specify a string attribute or field name without quotes. In this case, the supplied string will be highlighted against the provided query, but field syntax will be ignored.

‹›
  • SQL
SQL
📋
SELECT HIGHLIGHT({}, title) FROM books WHERE MATCH('one');
‹›
Response
+---------------------+
| highlight({},title) |
+---------------------+
| Book <strong>one</strong>     |
| Book five           |
+---------------------+
2 rows in set (0.00 sec)

The optional third argument is the query. This is used to highlight search results against a query different from the one used for searching.

‹›
  • SQL
SQL
📋
SELECT HIGHLIGHT({},'title', 'five') FROM books WHERE MATCH('one');
‹›
Response
+-------------------------------+
| highlight({},'title', 'five') |
+-------------------------------+
| Book one                      |
| Book <strong>five</strong>              |
+-------------------------------+
2 rows in set (0.00 sec)

Although HIGHLIGHT() is designed to work with stored full-text fields and string attributes, it can also be used to highlight arbitrary text. Keep in mind that if the query contains any field search operators (e.g., @title hello @body world), the field part of them is ignored in this case.

‹›
  • SQL
SQL
📋
SELECT HIGHLIGHT({},TO_STRING('some text to highlight'), 'highlight') FROM books WHERE MATCH('@title one');
‹›
Response
+----------------------------------------------------------------+
| highlight({},TO_STRING('some text to highlight'), 'highlight') |
+----------------------------------------------------------------+
| some text to <strong>highlight</strong>                                  |
+----------------------------------------------------------------+
1 row in set (0.00 sec)

Several options are relevant only when generating a single string as a result (not an array of snippets). This applies exclusively to the SQL HIGHLIGHT() function:

snippet_separator

A string to insert between snippets. The default is ....

field_separator

A string to insert between fields. The default is |.

Another way to highlight text is to use the CALL SNIPPETS statement. This mostly duplicates the HIGHLIGHT() functionality but cannot use built-in document storage. However, it can load source text from files.

Highlighting via HTTP

To highlight full-text search results in JSON queries via HTTP, field contents must be stored in document storage (enabled by default). In the example, full-text fields content and title are fetched from document storage and highlighted against the query specified in the query clause.

Highlighted snippets are returned in the highlight property of the hits array.

‹›
  • JSON
  • PHP
  • Python
  • Javascript
  • Java
  • C#
📋
POST /search
{
  "index": "books",
  "query": { "match": { "*": "one|robots" } },
  "highlight":
  {
    "fields": ["content"]
  }
}
‹›
Response
{
  "took": 0,
  "timed_out": false,
  "hits": {
    "total": 1,
    "hits": [
      {
        "_id": "1",
        "_score": 2788,
        "_source": {
          "title": "Books one",
          "content": "They followed Bander. The robots remained at a polite distance, but their presence was a constantly felt threat. Bander ushered all three into the room. One of the robots followed as well. Bander gestured the other robots away and entered itself. The door closed behind it. "
        },
        "highlight": {
          "content": [
            "They followed Bander. The <strong>robots</strong> remained at a polite distance, ",
            " three into the room. <strong>One</strong> of the <strong>robots</strong> followed as well. Bander",
            " gestured the other <strong>robots</strong> away and entered itself. The"
          ]
        }
      }
    ]
  }
}

To highlight all possible fields, pass an empty object as the highlight property.

‹›
  • JSON
  • PHP
  • Python
  • Javascript
  • Java
  • C#
📋
POST /search
{
  "index": "books",
  "query": { "match": { "*": "one|robots" } },
  "highlight": {}
}
‹›
Response
{
  "took": 0,
  "timed_out": false,
  "hits": {
    "total": 1,
    "hits": [
      {
        "_id": "1",
        "_score": 2788,
        "_source": {
          "title": "Books one",
          "content": "They followed Bander. The robots remained at a polite distance, but their presence was a constantly felt threat. Bander ushered all three into the room. One of the robots followed as well. Bander gestured the other robots away and entered itself. The door closed behind it. "
        },
        "highlight": {
          "title": [
            "Books <strong>one</strong>"
          ],
          "content": [
            "They followed Bander. The <strong>robots</strong> remained at a polite distance, ",
            " three into the room. <strong>One</strong> of the <strong>robots</strong> followed as well. Bander",
            " gestured the other <strong>robots</strong> away and entered itself. The"
          ]
        }
      }
    ]
  }
}

In addition to common highlighting options, several synonyms are available for JSON queries via HTTP:

fields

The fields object contains attribute names with options. It can also be an array of field names (without any options).

Note that by default, highlighting attempts to highlight the results following the full-text query. In a general case, when you don't specify fields to highlight, the highlight is based on your full-text query. However, if you specify fields to highlight, it highlights only if the full-text query matches the selected fields.

encoder

The encoder can be set to default or html. When set to html, it retains HTML markup when highlighting. This works similarly to the html_strip_mode=retain option.

highlight_query

The highlight_query option allows you to highlight against a query other than your search query. The syntax is the same as in the main query.

‹›
  • JSON
  • PHP
  • Python
  • Javascript
  • Java
  • C#
📋
POST /search
{
  "index": "books",
  "query": { "match": { "content": "one|robots" } },
  "highlight":
  {
    "fields": [ "content"],
    "highlight_query": { "match": { "*":"polite distance" } }
   }
}
‹›
Response
{'aggregations': None,
 'hits': {'hits': [{u'_id': u'1',
                    u'_score': 1788,
                    u'_source': {u'content': u'They followed Bander. The robots remained at a polite distance, but their presence was a constantly felt threat. Bander ushered all three into the room. One of the robots followed as well. Bander gestured the other robots away and entered itself. The door closed behind it. ',
                                 u'title': u'Books one'},
                    u'highlight': {u'content': [u'. The robots remained at a <strong>polite distance</strong>, but their presence was a']}}],
          'max_score': None,
          'total': 1},
 'profile': None,
 'timed_out': False,
 'took': 0}

pre_tags and post_tags

pre_tags and post_tags set the opening and closing tags for highlighted text snippets. They function similarly to the before_match and after_match options. These are optional, with default values of <strong> and </strong>.

‹›
  • JSON
  • PHP
  • Python
  • Javascript
  • Java
  • C#
📋
POST /search
{
  "index": "books",
  "query": { "match": { "*": "one|robots" } },
  "highlight":
  {
    "fields": [ "content", "title" ],
    "pre_tags": "before_",
    "post_tags": "_after"
   }
}
‹›
Response
Document: 1
title : Books one
content : They followed Bander. The robots remained at a polite distance, but their presence was a constantly felt threat. Bander ushered all three into the room. One of the robots followed as well. Bander gestured the other robots away and entered itself. The door closed behind it.
Highlight for content:
- They followed Bander. The before_robots_after remained at a polite distance,
-  three into the room. before_One_after of the before_robots_after followed as well. Bander
-  gestured the other before_robots_after away and entered itself. The
Highlight for title:
- Books before_one_after

no_match_size

no_match_size functions similarly to the allow_empty option. If set to 0, it acts as allow_empty=1, allowing an empty string to be returned as a highlighting result when a snippet could not be generated. Otherwise, the beginning of the field will be returned. This is optional, with a default value of 1.

‹›
  • JSON
  • PHP
  • Python
  • Javascript
  • Java
  • C#
📋
POST /search
{
  "index": "books",
  "query": { "match": { "*": "one|robots" } },
  "highlight":
  {
    "fields": [ "content", "title" ],
    "no_match_size": 0
  }
}
‹›
Response
Document: 1
title : Books one
content : They followed Bander. The robots remained at a polite distance, but their presence was a constantly felt threat. Bander ushered all three into the room. One of the robots followed as well. Bander gestured the other robots away and entered itself. The door closed behind it.
Highlight for content:
- They followed Bander. The <strong>robots</strong> remained at a polite distance,
-  three into the room. <strong>One</strong> of the <strong>robots</strong> followed as well. Bander
-  gestured the other <strong>robots</strong> away and entered itself. The
Highlight for title:
- Books <strong>one</strong>

order

order sets the sorting order of extracted snippets. If set to "score", it sorts the extracted snippets in order of relevance. This is optional and works similarly to the weight_order option.

‹›
  • JSON
  • PHP
  • Python
  • Javascript
  • Java
  • C#
📋
POST /search
{
  "index": "books",
  "query": { "match": { "*": "one|robots" } },
  "highlight":
  {
    "fields": [ "content", "title" ],
    "order": "score"
  }
}
‹›
Response
Document: 1
title : Books one
content : They followed Bander. The robots remained at a polite distance, but their presence was a constantly felt threat. Bander ushered all three into the room. One of the robots followed as well. Bander gestured the other robots away and entered itself. The door closed behind it.
Highlight for content:
-  three into the room. <strong>One</strong> of the <strong>robots</strong> followed as well. Bander
-  gestured the other <strong>robots</strong> away and entered itself. The
- They followed Bander. The <strong>robots</strong> remained at a polite distance,
Highlight for title:
- Books <strong>one</strong>

fragment_size

fragment_size sets the maximum snippet size in symbols. It can be global or per-field. Per-field options override global options. This is optional, with a default value of 256. It works similarly to the limit option.

‹›
  • JSON
  • PHP
  • Python
  • Javascript
  • Java
  • C#
📋
POST /search
{
  "index": "books",
  "query": { "match": { "*": "one|robots" } },
  "highlight":
  {
    "fields": [ "content", "title" ],
    "fragment_size": 100
  }
}
‹›
Response
Document: 1
title : Books one
content : They followed Bander. The robots remained at a polite distance, but their presence was a constantly felt threat. Bander ushered all three into the room. One of the robots followed as well. Bander gestured the other robots away and entered itself. The door closed behind it.
Highlight for content:
-  the room. <strong>One</strong> of the <strong>robots</strong> followed as well
- Bander gestured the other <strong>robots</strong> away and entered
Highlight for title:
- Books <strong>one</strong>

number_of_fragments

number_of_fragments limits the maximum number of snippets in the result. Like fragment_size, it can be global or per-field. This is optional, with a default value of 0 (no limit). It works similarly to the limit_snippets option.

‹›
  • JSON
  • PHP
  • Python
  • Javascript
  • Java
  • C#
📋
POST /search
{
  "index": "books",
  "query": { "match": { "*": "one|robots"  } },
  "highlight":
  {
    "fields": [ "content", "title" ],
    "number_of_fragments": 10
  }
}
‹›
Response
Document: 1
title : Books one
content : They followed Bander. The robots remained at a polite distance, but their presence was a constantly felt threat. Bander ushered all three into the room. One of the robots followed as well. Bander gestured the other robots away and entered itself. The door closed behind it.
Highlight for content:
- They followed Bander. The <strong>robots</strong> remained at a polite distance,
-  three into the room. <strong>One</strong> of the <strong>robots</strong> followed as well. Bander
-  gestured the other <strong>robots</strong> away and entered itself. The
Highlight for title:
- Books <strong>one</strong>

limit, limit_words, limit_snippets

Options like limit, limit_words, and limit_snippets can be set as global or per-field options. Global options are used as per-field limits unless per-field options override them. In the example, the title field is highlighted with default limit settings, while the content field uses a different limit.

‹›
  • JSON
  • PHP
  • Python
  • Javascript
  • Java
  • C#
📋
POST /search
{
  "index": "books",
  "query": { "match": { "*": "one|robots"  } },
      "highlight":
      {
        "fields":
        {
            "title": {},
            "content" : { "limit": 50 }
        }
      }
}
‹›
Response
Document: 1
title : Books one
content : They followed Bander. The robots remained at a polite distance, but their presence was a constantly felt threat. Bander ushered all three into the room. One of the robots followed as well. Bander gestured the other robots away and entered itself. The door closed behind it.
Highlight for content:
-  into the room. <strong>One</strong> of the <strong>robots</strong> followed as well
Highlight for title:
- Books <strong>one</strong>

limits_per_field

Global limits can also be enforced by specifying limits_per_field=0. Setting this option means that all combined highlighting results must be within the specified limits. The downside is that you may get several snippets highlighted in one field and none in another if the highlighting engine decides that they are more relevant.

‹›
  • JSON
  • PHP
  • Python
  • Javascript
  • Java
  • C#
📋
POST /search
{
  "index": "books",
  "query": { "match": { "content": "and first" } },
      "highlight":
      {
        "limits_per_field": false,
        "fields":
        {
            "content" : { "limit": 50 }
        }
      }
}
‹›
Response
Document: 1
title : Books one
content : They followed Bander. The robots remained at a polite distance, but their presence was a constantly felt threat. Bander ushered all three into the room. One of the robots followed as well. Bander gestured the other robots away and entered itself. The door closed behind it.
Highlight for content:
-  gestured the other robots away <strong>and</strong> entered itself. The door closed

CALL SNIPPETS

The CALL SNIPPETS statement builds a snippet from provided data and query using specified table settings. It can't access built-in document storage, which is why it's recommended to use the HIGHLIGHT() function instead.

The syntax is:

CALL SNIPPETS(data, table, query[, opt_value AS opt_name[, ...]])

data

data serves as the source from which a snippet is extracted. It can either be a single string or a list of strings enclosed in curly brackets.

table

table refers to the name of the table that provides the text processing settings for snippet generation.

query

query is the full-text query used to build the snippets.

opt_value and opt_name

opt_value and opt_name represent the snippet generation options.

‹›
  • SQL
SQL
📋
CALL SNIPPETS(('this is my document text','this is my another text'), 'forum', 'is text', 5 AS around, 200 AS limit);
‹›
Response
+----------------------------------------+
| snippet                                |
+----------------------------------------+
| this <strong>is</strong> my document <strong>text</strong> |
| this <strong>is</strong> my another <strong>text</strong>  |
+----------------------------------------+
2 rows in set (0.02 sec)

Most options are the same as in the HIGHLIGHT() function. There are, however, several options that can only be used with CALL SNIPPETS.

The following options can be used to highlight text stored in separate files:

load_files

This option, when enabled, treats the first argument as file names instead of data to extract snippets from. The specified files on the server side will be loaded for data. Up to max_threads_per_query worker threads per request will be used to parallelize the work when this flag is enabled. Default is 0 (no limit). To distribute snippet generation between remote agents, invoke snippets generation in a distributed table containing only one(!) local agent and several remotes. The snippets_file_prefix option is used to generate the final file name. For example, when searchd is configured with snippets_file_prefix = /var/data_ and text.txt is provided as a file name, snippets will be generated from the content of /var/data_text.txt.

load_files_scattered

This option only works with distributed snippets generation with remote agents. Source files for snippet generation can be distributed among different agents, and the main server will merge all non-erroneous results. For example, if one agent of the distributed table has file1.txt, another agent has file2.txt, and you use CALL SNIPPETS with both of these files, searchd will merge agent results, so you will get results from both file1.txt and file2.txt. Default is 0.

If the load_files option is also enabled, the request will return an error if any of the files is not available anywhere. Otherwise (if load_files is not enabled), it will return empty strings for all absent files. Searchd does not pass this flag to agents, so agents do not generate a critical error if the file does not exist. If you want to be sure that all source files are loaded, set both load_files_scattered and load_files to 1. If the absence of some source files on some agent is not critical, set only load_files_scattered to 1.

‹›
  • SQL
SQL
📋
CALL SNIPPETS(('data/doc1.txt','data/doc2.txt'), 'forum', 'is text', 1 AS load_files);
‹›
Response
+----------------------------------------+
| snippet                                |
+----------------------------------------+
| this <strong>is</strong> my document <strong>text</strong> |
| this <strong>is</strong> my another <strong>text</strong>  |
+----------------------------------------+
2 rows in set (0.02 sec)