Sparks from a sparkler

Is There Still a Benefit to Using

Web developers have choices in which search APIs or search platforms to integrate into web sites. With Solr and Elasticsearch now available, why would you even think to use Here’s why.

Solr and Elasticsearch are open source search platforms built on Apache Lucene. They provide a lot of functionality out of the box, and with minimal or no coding, can be integrated into a website or application to provide powerful search capabilities. Apache Lucene is a powerful open source search engine library or API, written in Java. Lucene.NET is a direct port of Apache Lucene into C# for use on the .NET platform.

So Why Use Lucene.Net?

As with many software products, it comes down to what your needs are. Solr and Elasticsearch are great platforms, but since they are more of a software package than just a search engine library or API, needs to be installed and configured on a server. This would likely also mean installing add-ons, like Java, that would be needed by the search platforms.

This should not be a problem, but there are times when there could be constraints on what can be installed on a production server due to internal or client IT restrictions or regulations. Lucene.Net, on the other hand, doesn’t need to be installed as a package. It is deployed as a library (dll) along with your code files.

Solr and Elasticsearch have specific hardware requirements to consider, such as memory, CPU’s, disk space, and more.

Lucene.Net is just an API. You have to write the code that references and interacts with the API to create the initial index of your content, maintain the index when content is added or removed, and retrieve the content or search results according to search queries. You don’t have to write a whole lot of code to accomplish basic search functionality, but it could grow depending on the search requirements.

A Lightweight API

If you plan to develop the next enterprise-level search platform, Lucene or Lucene.Net is the perfect place to start. Lucene.Net is a lightweight API with a small footprint and needs fewer resources since it doesn’t have the extra layer that Solr and Elasticsearch add.

You might have very specific search requirements that aren’t provided by Solr and Elasticsearch.

Lucene.Net provides low level access to the search API classes that will allow you to code for any customized search requirements that your application or website users might have.

There is still a benefit to using Lucene.Net, it just depends on your need. And if you have the time for it, using or learning will also help you better understand the search platforms built on Lucene.


  1. Thomas Higginbotham says:

    If you work with .NET content management systems — such as Sitecore or Episerver — then it’s also helpful to have a solid understanding of Lucene, since it’s often included as the default search provider.

  2. Peter says:

    Is Lucene.Net an API compatible port of the Java based Lucene, as Lucene.Net is supposed to be a line-by-line port from Java to C#?

    I’m asking for two reasons:
    #1. It seems that the .NET implementation is more efficient with reduced memory (RAM) footprint and greater performance. Is this true?
    #2. Can Solr and/or ElasticSearch (“ES”) use Lucene.Net instead of the Java based Lucene? If Solr and ES make direct Java calls to Lucene, that could be a show-stopper. Or is there a C# based port of Solr or ES in the works?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *