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Order, ooorder! Sorting results in Hibernate Search 5.5

Posted by Gunnar Morling    |       |    Tagged as Hibernate Search

"Order, ooorder!" - Sometimes not only the honourable members of the House of Commons need to be called to order, but also the results of Hibernate Search queries need to be ordered in a specific way.

To do so, just pass a Sort object to your full-text query before executing it, specifying the field(s) to sort on:

FullTextSession session = ...;
QueryParser queryParser = ...;

FullTextQuery query = session.createFullTextQuery( queryParser.parse( "summary:lucene" ), Book.class );
Sort sort = new Sort( new SortField( "title", SortField.Type.STRING, false ) );
query.setSort( sort );
List<Book> result = query.list();

As of Lucene 5 (which is what Hibernate Search 5.5 is based on), there is a big performance gain if the fields to sort on are known up front. In this case these fields can be stored as so-called "doc value fields", which is much faster and less memory-consuming than the traditional approach of index un-inverting.

For that purpose, Hibernate Search provides the new annotation @SortableField (and it’s multi-valued companion, @SortableFields) for tagging those fields that should be available for sorting. The following example shows how do it:

@Entity
@Indexed(index = "Book")
public class Book {

    @Id
    private Integer id;

    @Field
    @SortableField
    @DateBridge(resolution = Resolution.DAY)
    private Date publicationDate;

    @Fields({
        @Field,
        @Field(name = "sortTitle", analyze = Analyze.NO, store = Store.NO, index = Index.NO)
    })
    @SortableField(forField = "sortTitle")
    private String title;

    @Field
    private String summary;

    // constructor, getters, setters ...
}

@SortableField is used next to the known @Field annotation. In case a single field exists for a given property (e.g. publicationDate) just specifying the @SortableField annotation is enough to make that field sortable. If several fields exist (see the title property), specify the field name via @SortableField#forField().

Note that sort fields must not be analyzed. In case you want to index a given property analyzed for searching purposes, just add another, un-analyzed field for sorting as it is shown for the title property. If the field is only needed for sorting and nothing else, you may configure it as un-indexed and un-stored, thus avoid unnecessary index growth.

For using the configured sort fields when querying nothing has changed. Just specify a Sort with the required field(s):

FullTextQuery query = ...;
Sort sort = new Sort(
    new SortField( "publicationDate", SortField.Type.LONG, false ),
    new SortField( "sortTitle", SortField.Type.STRING, false )
);
query.setSort( sort );

Now what happens if you sort on fields which you have not explicitly declared as sortable, e.g. when migrating an existing application over to Hibernate Search 5.5? The good news is that the sort will be applied as expected from a functional perspective. Hibernate Search detects the missing sort fields and transparently falls back to index-univerting.

But be aware that this comes with a performance penalty (also it is quite memory-intensive as uninverting is RAM-only operation) and it even might happen that this functionality will be removed from Lucene in a future version altogether. Thus watch out for messages like the following in your log files and follow the advice to declare the missing sort fields:

WARN ManagedMultiReader:142 - HSEARCH000289: Requested sort field(s) summary_forSort are not configured for entity \
type org.hibernate.search.test.query.Book mapped to index Book, thus an uninverting reader must be created. You \
should declare the missing sort fields using @SortField.

When migrating an existing application, be sure to rebuild the affected index(es) as described in the reference guide.

With all the required sort fields configured, your search results with be in order, just as the British parliament members after being called to order by Mr. Speaker.

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