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From Paul Elschot <>
Subject Re: Does lucene support greater than/less than on strings
Date Mon, 30 Aug 2004 18:42:11 GMT
On Monday 30 August 2004 19:50, Kipping, Peter wrote:
> I'm guessing the answer to this is no.  However I am looking at inverted
> indexes and there may be a way to support this.  What if you replaced
> the Hashtable of terms(assuming that lucene uses a hashtable) with a
> tree.  Since a tree is an ordered data structure, it would be possible
> to return all elements of a tree that were less than (or greater than)
> your query.  Do you think this is possible, if so how difficult would it
> be?

Lucene uses a tree like data structure to store the search terms
(by field, as a Lucene Term).

One can walk this tree using IndexReader.terms().
For each term, one can get the documents that contain the term
by IndexReader.termDocs().
From these doc nrs, one can set bits in a Filter, and use this
filter to limit the results of another query via,Filter).
Some example code to create a Filter is below.

The difference between this and a Query with all the terms is that
this uses the results of IndexReader.termDocs() one by one,
whereas a query search would have to
use all Term's in parallel leading to a high clause count.

> Thanks,
> Peter
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Kipping, Peter
> Sent: Thursday, August 26, 2004 10:20 AM
> To:
> Subject: Does lucene support greater than/less than on strings
> I'm converting numbers into strings (0001, 0013, etc) but users will
> want to search using the < and >.  I've been using the range query for
> this ([0 TO 0013] if a user does < 13).  But my index is quite large and
> I get a ToManyBooleanClauses Exception or an out of memory exception if
> I increase the boolean clause count.  It seems that a simpler/better
> solution would be to have lucene be able to do < > on strings.  Is that
> possible now, if not how hard would it be to implement?
> Thanks,
> Peter
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Paul Elschot

From, easily adapted for
anything that supports compareTo():

   * Returns a BitSet with true for documents which should be
   * permitted in search results, and false for those that should
   * not.
  public BitSet bits(IndexReader reader) throws IOException {
    BitSet bits = new BitSet(reader.maxDoc());
    TermEnum enumerator = reader.terms(new Term(field, start));
    TermDocs termDocs = reader.termDocs();
    if (enumerator.term() == null) {
      return bits;

    try {
      Term stop = new Term(field, end);
      while (enumerator.term().compareTo(stop) <= 0) {;
        while ( {
        if (! {
    } finally {
    return bits;

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