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From Jimi Hullegård <>
Subject Number to printable sortable string, including floating point numbers and negatives
Date Thu, 11 Sep 2008 04:54:14 GMT

I'm was sure this discussion has come up before, but after looking around alot I haven't found
a suitable answer.

I have a need to index number fields that can be used for sorting and range queries, however
the various solutions that I have seen does all have some kind of downside. First of all,
I want it to support floating point numbers and negative numbers, and when it comes to negative
numbers a simple padding of zeros doesn't do it. Also, I would like the resulting string to
only contain printable characters, or at the very least not some special meaning character
like the null character. And ofcourse I would like to be able to use the full range of the
number type (ie Integer.MIN_VALUE to Integer.MAX_VALUE, and the same for Float and Double).

I have seen a few people refering to some Solr code that supposedly solves the problem with
negative numbers:

However, the resulting string contains non-printable characters for most numbers, including
the null character. This has given me two problems:

1. When printing out debug messages containing the query, the range query looks like something
like this: "field:[€   TO € d]", and I get problems when I try to copy this text from
textpad for example, since it complains about the null character.

2. The special case characters are being ignored/removed by most tokenizers so I can't parse
the query-string using the regular analyzer that we normally use.

Do you have any suggestions on how to solve this in a "neat" way? And is the interest in this
really that low (judging from the poor search result I got when searching for "lucene sorting
negative numbers" and similar)? I would have thought that the need for this functionallity
was quite fundamental, and that it was already part of Lucene core.


mogul | jimi hullegård | system developer | hudiksvallsgatan 4, 113 30 stockholm sweden |
+46 8 506 66 172 | +46 765 27 19 55 | |
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