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I am working as Sysadmin / code maintainer / part time developer of Norways second-largest website (as of February 2002). We are primarily a "startpage" and like to differentiate from the typical "portals". Our aim is to direct people away from the site as efficiently as possible, with good links to Norwegian and international content.
After October 2001 we also expanded our catalogue of links, to become the preferred Norwegian Web Directory service (lycos has a very small marketshare, Yahoo also, and MSN is very small here in Norway).
In the past, we have used ht://Dig as our site indexer and search script, however we had long since outgrown that, and saw we needed to find a replacement search engine. During the development of our new directory, we chose to standardize on PostgreSQL for our RDBMS needs, and also funded another Norwegian open source project (eZ publish CMS system http://www.ez.no) in porting their system to use PostgreSQL. (Before switching to PostgreSQL we were running an Informix server.)
As our RDBMS was chosen and we had defined a set of requirements for our new search, I stumbled across OpenFTS (actually the week I focussed on looking for solutions, OpenFTS had just appeared a couple of days earlier). We got some PostgreSQL hackers from a norwegian company called Linpro (www.linpro.no) to look into OpenFTS for us, and assist in the implementation of this into our catalogue. A PHP interface was quickly hacked together, and voila we had a new and improved search facility.
After having tuned the performance parameters of PostgreSQL and also ironed out quite a few bugs in our CMS system, we were ready to go live with the search on our front page (which obviously increased the load on the OpenFTS search / PostgreSQL backend). The average searches pr day is now about 20.000, and thanks to OpenFTS the average search time is around 1.4 - 1.8 seconds, quite allright in our opinion.
Thanks to the people involved in this effort, it is running remarkably well here!
-- Denis Braekhus