Skip to main content.
home | support | download

Back to List Archive


From: Roy Tennant <roy.tennant(at)>
Date: Thu Jan 04 2007 - 18:15:01 GMT
Forwarded by permission.

------ Forwarded Message
From: Prashant Iyengar <>
Date: Mon, 25 Dec 2006 09:44:02 +0530
To: <>
Subject: Swish-e

Dear Mr. Roy Tennant, I am an indpendent researcher in India and
currently a fellow of the Open Society Institute, Budapest. I've
recently finished implementing a database website of 22000 Indian
Supreme Court decisions from 1950 onwards (
for which I make use Swish-e.

I'd like to extend my heartfelt thanks to you and your team for
providing such a fabulous tool for free to the open source community.
My website certainly would not have been possible but for the Swish-e
search engine. Being my first such enterprise, I had started off
building my database without a thought to whether I would be able to
search such a bulky database quickly and comprehensively. I had rather
naively assumed that Mysql's fulltext search capabilities would be
adequate for my purposes. I discovered later, unfortunately, that Mysql
capitulates under the weight of 22000+ documents with an average size
of 27kb. Left in the lurch, I tried various other open source search
engine softwares like Perlfect, htdig etc which either didnt support
such a voluminous database - taking hours to index- or were difficult
to install on my webhost. At the point at which I experimented with
Swish-e, I was all but ready to give up the enterprise as lost.
Fortunately, swish-e turned out to be this marvellous tool that it is,
and from that point onwards everything just fell into place. It has
taken me about 5 days to configure swish-e to my liking - constantly
experimenting and adding new capabilities along the way - and I'm now
the "possessor" of an extremely robust search engine of Indian Supreme
Court cases that people are already thanking me for. But I know, and
will always make it known that the real "heroes" of this project are
the people who built Swish-e and gave it away for free. Hope you will
always continue to do so, so that the tribe of independent hackers like
me is maintained.

I dont know how I can give back for what I've got from swish-e. I'm
only a part-time coder and have little knowledge and no experience of
coding in Perl. If there is anything that strikes you as something i
could do to help, please do let me know.

Warm Regards
Prashant Iyengar.

Ps. Some facts about my database that might interest you
1) No of docs: 22070
2) Average size - 27 kb, Full size 530 MB
3) Time taken to index : 10 - 12 minutes
4) Size of index: 190Mb
5) Average search time: Doesnt exceed 1 second (average less than half
a second)

Some problems I encounter:
1) Sorting by dates doesnt work with dates prior to 1970 (since it is
stored as unsigned long). I got around this problem by creating a
pseudo date in each of my documents which was the actual date plus 20
years (since my documents begin from 1950). So swish-e sorts by the
pseudo date and displays the actual date. 2) Still trying to figure out
how to get one numeric property to "reverse sort" by default.

Prashant Iyengar
IPF Policy Fellow

------ End of Forwarded Message
Received on Thu Jan 4 10:15:02 2007