December 14, 2007
Last night Paul Mrozowski did a presentation called "Lucene.NET as a Document Search Engine". He began by explaining that Lucene.NET is an open source indexing and search library written in C#. It is not a traditional application. Instead it is a tool developers can use to index and search documents, such as CHM, DOC, HLP, PDF, RTF, and TXT files.
Paul first demonstrated how easy it is to install Lucene.NET, some of the configuration settings, and how to set it up to run as a background service in Microsoft Windows. Next he showed us a COM wrapper class that he created in order to use Lucene.NET from Visual FoxPro.
The wrapper class could be used to index the source files and perform some pretty complex searches. I liked the way it could include the surrounding portions of text with the search results. For example, if you searched for the phrase "fox" in "Visual FoxPro Rocks", you could include a variable amount of the original characters found before and after the search phrase.
In addition to indexing document files, he also demonstrated how the wrapper class could be used to build your own index entries with meta data. For example, you could index the contents of a memo field and then store the table name and record identification in the meta data. Later, this information could be searched the same as document file.
Although the wrapper class did not have the complete functionality of Lucene.NET, it did fill the most basic needs. He mentioned the idea of either posting the sample code to his web site or better yet making it a VFPX project. All in all, it was a very cool presentation.
Paul Mrozowski http://www.rcs-solutions.com
December 9, 2007
Earlier this year Google launched a directory assistance service meant to replace the traditional 411. To use the service, simply dial 1-800-GOOG-411 (800-466-4411) from any telephone. You tell the system the city and state, followed by either a business name or category, such as pizza or movies. Once a match is found, you can automatically be connected to the number, get more details such as the address, or receive a SMS with the results. The best part, it's free!
Personally, I don't use telephone based directory assistance much anymore. However there are times when I don't have access to a web browser, and then Google's 411 is an excellent alternative. So, give it a try and if you like it add it to your cell phone's address book. And don't forget the less than tech savvy people in your lives, such as spouses, parents, and your favorite aunt.