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From Robert Watkins <>
Subject Re: wildcards within a phrase query
Date Wed, 12 Oct 2005 15:18:53 GMT
Having now looked at the test cases in SVN (specifically,, I cannot see any tests using simple
wildcards, only terms ending with *, and thus suitable for a
PrefixQuery. The examples do reveal how it could be done for wildcards,
but my concern turns to scalability.

I am only in the beginning stages of creating a prototype, so I don't
have a suitable test environment for this sort of thing yet, but when
it comes to fruition there will be 11 indexes, with anywhere from
5,000 to 600,000 documents in each index. Based on a test index with 90
short documents in it, I can easily expect upwards of 1,000 terms per
document. While there would likely be more repetition of terms as the
number of documents in an index increases, that's still a lot of terms.

Also, any given query will need to be able to search across any number
of those indexes. As such, to create a query for, say "bl?nd ambition"
it looks as if one would have to do something like:

   // search for "bl?nd ambition":
   MultiPhraseQuery query = new MultiPhraseQuery();
   String prefix, regex;
   LinkedList termsWithPrefix = new LinkedList();
   TermEnum te;
   while (queryTermEnum.hasNext()) {
       String queryTerm = (String);
       if (hasWildcard(queryTerm)) {
           // get "bl" from "bl?nd"
           prefix = getWildcardPrefix(queryTerm);
           // get "bl.nd" from "bl?nd"
           regex  = getWildcardRegex(queryTerm);
           for (int i = 0; i< openIndexReaders.length; i++) {
               te = openIndexReaders[i].terms(new Term("body", prefix));
               do {
                   if (te.term().text().matches(regex)) {
               } while (;
           query.add((Term[])termsWithPrefix.toArray(new Term[0]));
       else {
           query.add(new Term("body", queryTerm));

Does that sound reasonable -- and scalable -- to you?
-- Robert

PS -- Would it be possible to avoid going through _all_ the terms in the
TermEnum (that are greater than prefix, of course) by doing something

   } while ( && te.term().text().startsWith(prefix));

or would analysis possibly make that unwise?

On Wed, 12 Oct 2005, Daniel Naber wrote:

> On Mittwoch 12 Oktober 2005 00:15, Robert Watkins wrote:
>> Wonderful! But what about wildcards? I realised after I had sent the
>> last message that my pattern should have been written:
>>   ( term | term as prefix | wildcard term )+
> Have a look at the test cases: you need to expand the terms yourself, i.e.
> it doesn't matter if there's a prefix or wildcard term. There's no support
> for *direct* input of something like (a phrase query) "foo* bar".
> Regards
> Daniel

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