What is Solr?
Solr is an Apache open source enterprise search project. In regards to Magento stores, Solr introduces the following search enhancing functionality: full-text search, attribute relevant search, drop-down suggestions, real-time indexing and multi-lingual support (including right-to-left languages).
What Magento editions are Solr compatible?
Currently, only Magento Enterprise edition is compatible with Solr. As for Magento Community there are several articles on the web on how one can implement Solr, however, these instructions have neither been confirmed, nor approved by Magento team, leaving the decision to the store owner's own risk.
Are there any Solr alternatives for Magento Community users?
There actually are. If you have tried search at our store ecommerce.aheadworks.com you might have noticed the drop-down suggestions as the search query being typed in. This particular functionality can be introduced to the Magento Community store with help of Search Autocomplete and Suggest (SAAS) extension.
SAAS can also enhance the search functionality of the store by implementing text product attribute relevant search queries. Meaning that customers will be suggested with the products which description matches the search query.
What about actual search results?
To increase actual search results relevance one may want to refer to the Advanced Search extension. The extension is powered by the Sphinx search engine featuring the following functionality: search indexing, lexical analyzer, wildcard search, morphology processing, right-to-left languages support.
To draw the line, Solr is a really powerful tool to look into, however, there are always alternatives that can make the searching experience of your customers better without heavy code customization.
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