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[bug#39258] [PATCH v2 0/3] Xapian for Guix package search

From: zimoun
Subject: [bug#39258] [PATCH v2 0/3] Xapian for Guix package search
Date: Mon, 9 Mar 2020 13:47:01 +0100

On Sun, 8 Mar 2020 at 12:33, Ludovic Courtès <address@hidden> wrote:
> Arun Isaac <address@hidden> skribis:

> > This is a problem, but I would see it as a necessary "compilation"
> > step. :-P In fact, this whole patchset speeds up `guix search` by doing
> > part of the work of `guix search` ahead of time. So, some such cost is
> > unavoidable.
> Yeah.  I think we need to take the whole user experience into account,
> not just ‘guix search’.  ‘guix pull’ already feels very slow, and it’s a
> fairly common operation.  Conversely, ‘guix search’ takes roughly
> between 0.5 and 2 seconds and is an uncommon operation on a “slow path”
> (in the sense that when you’re searching for software, you’ll probably
> have to spend more than a couple of seconds to find what you’re looking
> for.)

We could imagine something doing the job of indexing in the
background; using the daemon or whatever.

> >> What I like about the recutils format in this context is that it’s both
> >> human- and machine-readable.  The examples in the manual show how it can
> >> be useful to select the information displayed or to refine the search
> >> (info "(guix) Invoking guix package").
> >
> > Xapian's query language is much more natural (as in natural language)
> > than the regexp based techniques we need to use with recutils. I have
> > hardly ever used the regexp based search and I suspect many others
> > haven't either. Also, refining the search query should be easier to do
> > with Xapian. We could even use Xapian's query expansion feature to
> > suggest improved queries to the user.
> I’m not sufficiently familiar with Xapian’s query language.  The
> examples I had in mind were:
>   guix search malloc | recsel -p name,version,relevance
>   guix search | recsel -p name -e 'license ~ "LGPL 3"'
>   guix search crypto library | \
>     recsel -e '! (name ~ "^(ghc|perl|python|ruby)")' -p name,synopsis

I think these examples are good ones to benchmark the different approaches.
Because the speed is one thing, the accuracy is another one.

Let cut the "slow path" by providing a better experience when searching. ;-)

> It’s not so much about regexps than it is about selecting individual
> fields.

The regexp should be provided directly to "guix search" actually and
'recsel' is only a "filter" allowing to deal differently with the

> To me, adding 20–50 seconds on ‘guix pull’ would be undesirable.  :-/

Ok, at least it is clear. :-)
And computing in the background?

All the best,

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