Search Definition Reference

This document lists the syntax and content of search definitions, document types and fields. This is a reference, read search definitions first for an overview. Find an example at the end.

There must be at least one search definition (.sd) file containing a search element in an application package.

Syntax

Throughout this document, a string in square brackets represents some argument. The whole string, including the brackets, is replaced by a concrete string in a search definition.

Constructs in search definitions have a regular syntax. Each element starts by the element identifier, possibly followed by the name of this particular occurrence of the element, possibly followed by a space-separated list of interleaved attribute names and attribute values, possibly followed by the element body. Thus, one will find elements of these varieties:

[element-identifier] : [element-body]
[element-identifier] [element-name] : [element-body]
[element-identifier] [element-name] [attribute-name] [attribute-value]
[element-identifier] [element-name] [attribute-name] [attribute-value] {
    [element-body]
}
One-line element values starts by a colon and ends by newline. Multiline values (for fields supporting them) are any block of text enclosed in curly brackets. Comments may be inserted anywhere and start with a hash (#). Names are identifiers: They must match ["a"-"z","A"-"Z", "_"]["a"-"z","A"-"Z","0"-"9","_"]*.

Elements

A search definition must contain no more than one search clause - elements:

search
    document
        struct
            field
                match
        field
            alias
            attribute
            bolding
            id
            index
            indexing
            indexing-rewrite
            match
            normalizing
            query-command
            rank
            rank-type
            sorting
            stemming
            struct-field
                indexing
                match
                query-command
                struct-fieldsummary
                summary-to
            summary
            summary-to
            weight
            weightedset
        compression
    index
    field
    fieldset
    rank-profile
        match-phase
            attribute
            order
            max-hits
            diversity
                attribute
                min-groups
        first-phase
            keep-rank-count
            rank-score-drop-limit
            expression
        ignore-default-rank-features
        num-threads-per-search
        rank
        rank-type
        rank-features
        constants
        rank-properties
        second-phase
            expression
            rerank-count
        summary-features
    constant
    stemming
    document-summary
        summary
    annotation
        field
    import field

The root element of search definitions. A search definition describes how some data should be stored, indexed, ranked and presented in results. A search definition must be defined in a file named [search-definition-name].sd.

search [name] {
    [body]
}
The body is mandatory and may contain:

NameDescriptionOccurrence
document A document defined in this search definition One
field A field not contained in the document. Use fields outside documents to derive new field values to be placed in the indexing structure from document fields Zero to many
fieldset Group document fields together for searching Zero to many
rank-profile An explicitly defined set of ranking settings Zero to many
constant A constant tensor located in a file used for ranking Zero to many
stemming The default stemming setting. Not applicable to streaming search Zero or one
document-summary An explicitly defined document summary Zero to many
annotation Defines an annotation type Zero to many
import field Import a field value from a global document Zero to many

document

Contained in search. Describes a document type. This can also be the root of the search definition, if the document is not to be searched directly. A document type may inherit the fields of one or more other document types. If no document types are explicitly inherited, the document inherits the generic document type.

document [name] inherits [name-list] {
    [body]
}
The document name is optional, it defaults to the containing search element's name. If there is no containing search element, the document name is required.

The inherits attribute is optional and has as value a comma-separated list of names of other document types.

The body of a document type is optional and may contain:

NameDescriptionOccurrence
struct A struct type definition for this document.Zero to many
fieldA field of this document. Zero to many
compression Specifies compression options for documents of this document type in storage. Zero to one

struct

Contained in document. Defines a composite type. A struct consists of zero or more fields that the user can access together as one. The struct has to be defined before it is used as a type in a field specification.

struct [name] {
    [body]
}
The struct name can not have underscores.

Note that struct types are supported differently in indexed search and streaming search mode. Take a look at struct type, struct array type and map type for more details.

The body of a struct is optional and may contain:

NameDescriptionOccurrence
fieldA field of this struct. Zero to many

field

Contained in search, document, struct or annotation. Defines a named value with a type and (optionally) how this field should be stored, indexed, searched, presented and how it should influence ranking.

field [name] type [type-name] {
    [body]
}
Do not use names that are used for other purposes in the indexing language or other places in the search definition file. Reserved names are:
  • attribute
  • body
  • case
  • context
  • documentid
  • else
  • header
  • hit
  • host
  • if
  • index
  • position
  • reference
  • relevancy
  • sddocname
  • summary
  • switch
  • tokenize
Other names not to use include any words that start with a number or includes special characters.

The type attribute is mandatory - see field type for details and indexing restrictions. Supported types:

NameSingular/MultiType
annotationreference<annotationtype> singlevalue Reference to a string annotation
array<type>multivalueArray of type
weightedset<element-type> multivalue Like array, but each element is also assigned an integer weight
boolsinglevaluetrue or false
bytesinglevalueSigned 8-bit integer
doublesinglevalue64-bit IEEE 754 floating point
floatsinglevalue32-bit IEEE 754 floating point
intsinglevalueSigned 32-bit integer
longsinglevalueSigned 64-bit integer
position singlevalue Position in geographical coordinates, e.g. latitude and longitude
predicate singlevalue Boolean expression in predicate logic
rawsinglevalueBinary data
stringsinglevalueText
structnamesinglevalueDeclares a field with a specific struct type, given by the struct name
map<key-type,value-type> multivalue Map using the given types as keys and values. Keys and values can be any type
tensor(dimension-1,...,dimension-N) multivalue Tensor with a set of named dimensions and a set of values located in the space of those dimensions
uri singlevalue Uniform Resource Identifier (a URL or any other unique string id)
reference<document-type> singlevalue Reference to an instance of a document-type used in a parent-child relationship

The body of a field is optional for search, document and struct, and disallowed for annotation. It may contain the following elements:

NameDescriptionOccurrence
alias Make an index or attribute available in searches under an additional name Zero to many
attribute Specify an attribute setting. Zero to many
bolding Specifies whether content of this field should be bolded. Zero to one
id Explicitly decide the numerical id of this field. Is normally not necessary, but can be used to save some disk space. Zero to one
index Specify a parameter of an index. Not applicable to streaming search Zero to many
indexing The indexing statements used to create index structure additions from this field. Zero to one
indexing-rewrite Determines the rewriting Vespa is allowed to do on the indexing statements of this field.Not applicable to streaming search Zero to one
match Set the matching type to use for this field. Zero to one
normalizing Specifies the kind of spelling normalizing to do on this field. Zero or one.
query-command Specifies a command which can be received by a plugin searcher in the Search Container. Zero to many
rank The high level ranking method to use for the field Zero or one
rank-type Selects the set of low-level rank settings to be used for this field when using default nativeRank. Zero to one
sorting The sort specification for this field. Zero or one.
stemming Specifies the kind of stemming to use for this field. Not applicable to streaming search Zero or one.
struct-field A subfield of a field of type struct. The struct must have been defined to contain this subfield in the struct definition. If you want the subfield to be handled differently from the rest of the struct, you may specify it within the body of the struct-field. Zero to many.
summary Sets a summary setting of this field, set to dynamic to make a dynamic summary. Zero to many
summary-to The list of document summary names this should be included in. Not applicable to streaming search, instead declare non-standard summaries in a document-summary tag outside of the document declaration Zero to one
weight The importance of a term boost field, a positive integer. Zero to one
weightedset Attributes of a weighted set type. Zero to one

If the field is part of a struct definition, i.e. contained in the struct element, only match may be specified.

If the field is of type struct, only indexing, match and query-command may be specified.

A field declared outside of a document tag (i.e. immediately within a search tag) is referred to as an extra-field. Such fields may not be set directly, not programmatically and not through a feed - doing so will cause the document to be rejected by the indexer. Extra-field may only be populated using indexing statements that input the value of proper fields (e.g. indexing: input my_document_field | normalize | summary | index).

struct-field

Contained in field or struct-field. Defines how this struct field (a subfield of a struct) should be stored, indexed, searched, presented and how it should influence ranking. The field in which this struct field is contained must be of type struct or a collection of type struct. Note that struct fields are supported differently in indexed search and streaming search:

struct-field [name] {
    [body]
}
The body of a struct field is optional and may contain the following elements:
NameDescriptionSupported inOccurrence
indexing The indexing statements used to create index structure additions from this field. For indexed search only attribute is supported, which makes the struct field a searchable in-memory attribute. For streaming search only index and summary is supported. Indexed and streaming Zero to one
attribute Specifies an attribute setting. Indexed Zero to many
match Set the matching type to use for this field. Streaming Zero to one
query-command Specifies a command which can be received by a plugin searcher in the Search Container. Streaming Zero to many
struct-field A subfield of a field of type struct. The struct must have been defined to contain this subfield in the struct definition. If you want the subfield to be handled differently from the rest of the struct, you may specify it within the body of the struct-field. Streaming Zero to many.
summary Sets a summary setting of this field, set to dynamic to make a dynamic summary. Streaming Zero to many
summary-to The list of document summary names this should be included in. Streaming Zero to one
If this struct field is of type struct (i.e. a nested struct), only indexing, match and query-command may be specified.

fieldset

Contained in search. Note: this is not related to the Document fieldset.

Fieldsets provide a way to group fields together for searching, to search multiple fields - example:

fieldset myfieldset {
  fields: a,b,c
}
Using the query yql=select+*+from+sources+*+where+myfieldset+contains+"foo"%3B will return all the documents for which one or more of the fields a, b or c contain "foo". By naming the field set 'default', those fields are searched without specifying the field set in unstructured queries: query=foo.

The fields making up the field set should be as similar as possible in terms of indexing clause, matching etc. If they are not, test the application thoroughly. For example, it will work for a mix of attributes and indexes, but the matching for attribute fields will always be exact unless in streaming mode.

If specific match settings for the field set is needed, such as exact, specify it using a match clause:

fieldset myfieldset {
  fields: a,b,c
  match {
    exact
  }
}
Use query-commands in the field set to set search settings. Example:
fieldset myfieldset {
  fields: a,b,c
  query-command:"exact @@"
}

compression

DEPRECATED - DO NOT USE - see deprecations.

Contained in document. If a compression level is set within this element, lz4 compression is enabled for whole documents.

compression {
    [body]
}
The body of a compression specification is optional and may contain:
NameDescriptionOccurrence
type LZ4 is the only valid compression method. Zero to one
level Enable compression. LZ4 is linear and 9 means HC(high compression) Zero to one
threshold A percentage (multiplied by 100) giving the maximum size that compressed data can have to keep the compressed value. If the resulting compressed data is higher than this, the document will be stored uncompressed. Default value is 95. Zero to one

rank-profile

Contained in search. A rank profile is a named set of rank settings which can be specified during queries (see the ranking parameter in the search API).

Rank profiles are used to specify an alternative ranking of the same data for different purposes, and to experiment with new rank settings. If no explicit rank profile is specified, one called "default" is implicitly created to hold the rank settings from each field. The "default" rank profile is always selected for queries which does not specify one. It is possible to add additional settings to the default rank profile by explicitly defining it.

rank-profile [name] inherits [rank-profile] {
    [body]
}
The inherits attribute is optional. If defined, it contains the name of one other rank profile in the same search definition. Values not defined in this rank profile will then be inherited as expected. It is possible to inherit the default rank profile, even if it is not explicitly listed.

In addition to the default rank profile, a profile named unranked is implicitly created. This rank-profile makes sure that the rank phases in the search backend are skipped and should be used for queries that only require matching and do not use ranking. If you are sorting on something different than rank score this is also the profile to use. Note that this profile should not be used if the query contains Wand search operators. Also note that using this profile will give better performance as the rank phases are skipped.

The body of a rank-profile may contain:

NameDescriptionOccurrence
match-phase Ranking configuration to be used for hit limitation during matching. Zero or one
first-phase The ranking config to be used for first-phase ranking. Zero or one
rank-features The rank features to be dumped when using the query-argument rankfeatures. Zero or more
second-phase The ranking config to be used for second-phase ranking. Zero or one
summary-features The rank features to be dumped for all queries. Zero or more
ignore-default-rank-features Do not dump the default set of rank features, only those explicitly specified with the rank-features command. Zero or one
constants List of constant key/value pairs available in ranking expressions. Zero or one
rank-properties List of any rank property key-values to be used by rank features. Zero or one
function [name] Define named functions that can be referenced during ranking phase(s) and (if without arguments) as part of the summary-features. Zero or more
rank The high level ranking method to use for a field in this profile. Zero or more
rank-type The rank type of a field in this profile. Zero or more
Refer to the rank profiles defined in the example below.

match-phase

Contained in rank-profile. The config specifying ranking to be used during matching. This is used to limit the result set in order to cut latency. It is particularly useful if the first-phase ranking is expensive. It can be used for sorting on numeric values to limit the evaluated result set.

Match-phase is a feature for performance optimization - how to rank documents using a quality attribute and using estimates to cut evaluation - read more in the sizing guide.
match-phase {
    attribute: [numeric single value attribute]
    order: [ascending | descending]
    max-hits: [integer]
    diversity
}
NameDescription
attribute Which attribute to use as the quality signal. The attribute referenced must be a single valued numeric attribute with fast-search enabled. No default.
order Whether the attribute should be used in descending order (prefer documents with a high score) or ascending order (prefer documents with a low value in the attribute). Usually it is not necessary to specify this, as the default value descending is by far the most common.
max-hits Requested hits per search node. Usually a number like 10000 works well here.
diversity Guarantee a minimum result set diversity.

diversity

Contained in match-phase. Diversity is used to specify diversity in different phases - supported in match-phase. It is used to guarantee a minimum result set diversity.

Specify the name of an attribute that will be used to provide diversity. Result sets are guaranteed to get at least min-groups unique values from the diversity attribute from this phase. A document is considered as a candidate if:

  • The query has not yet reached the max-hits number produced from this phase.
  • The query has not yet reached the max number of candidates in one group. This is computed by the max-hits of the phase divided by min-groups
diversity {
    attribute: [numeric attribute]
    min-groups: [integer]
}
NameDescription
attribute Which attribute to use when deciding diversity. The attribute referenced must be a single valued numeric or string attribute.
min-groups Specifies the minimum number of groups returned from the phase. Using this with match-phase often means one can reduce max-hits

first-phase

Contained in rank-profile. The config specifying the first phase of ranking. This is the initial ranking performed on all hits, and you should therefore avoid doing heavy rank-calculations here. By default, this will use the ranking feature nativeRank.

first-phase {
    [body]
}
The body of a firstphase-ranking statement consists of:
NameDescription
expression Specify the ranking expression to be used for first phase of ranking - see ranking expressions.
keep-rank-count How many documents to keep the first phase top rank values for. Default value is 10000.
rank-score-drop-limit Drop all hits with a first phase rank score less than or equal to this floating point number. Default value is -Double.MAX_VALUE.

expression

Contained in first-phase or second-phase. Specify a ranking expression. The expression can either be written directly or loaded from a file. When writing it directly the syntax is:

expression: [ranking expression]
or
expression {
    [ranking expression]
    [ranking expression]
    [ranking expression]
}
The second format is primarily a convenience feature when using long expressions, enabling them to be split over multiple lines.

Expressions can also be loaded from a separate file. This is useful when dealing with the very long expressions generated by e.g. MLR. The syntax is:

expression: file:[path-to-expressionfile]
The path is relative to the location of the search definition file (note: directories are not allowed in the path). The file itself must end with .expression. This suffix is optional in the sd-file. Therefore expression: file:mlrranking.expression and expression: file:mlrranking are identical. Both refer to a file called mlrranking.expression in the searchdefinition directory.

rank-features

Contained in rank-profile. List of extra rank features to be dumped when using the query-argument rankfeatures.

rank-features: [feature] [feature]
or
rank-features {
    [feature]
    [feature]
}
Any number of ranking features can be listed on each line, separated by space.

constants

Contained in rank-profile. List of constants available in ranking expressions, resolved and optimized at configuration time.

constants {
    key: value
}
NameDescription
key Name of the constants.
value A number or any string. Must be quoted if it contains spacing.

rank-properties

Contained in rank-profile. List of generic properties, in the form of key/value pairs to be used by ranking features.

rank-properties {
    key: value
}
NameDescription
key Name of the property.
value A number or any string. Must be quoted if it contains spacing.

function (inline)? [name]

Contained in rank-profile. Define a named function that can be referenced as a part of the ranking expression, or (if having no arguments) as a feature. A function accepts any number of arguments.

function [name]([arg1], [arg2], [arg3]) {
  expression: …
}
or
function [name] ([arg1], [arg2], [arg3]) {
  expression {
      [ranking expression]
      [ranking expression]
      …
}
Note that the parenthesis is required after the name. A rank-profile example is shown below:
rank-profile default inherits default {
  function myfeature() {
    expression: fieldMatch(title) + freshness(timestamp)
  }
  function otherfeature(foo) {
    expression{ nativeRank(foo, body) }
  }

  first-phase {
    expression: myfeature * 10
  }
  second-phase {
    expression: otherfeature(title) * myfeature
  }
  summary-features: myfeature
}
You can not include functions that accept arguments in summary features.

Adding the inline modifier will inline this function in the calling expression if it also has no arguments. This is faster for very small and cheap functions (and more expensive for others).

second-phase

Contained in rank-profile. The config specifying the second phase of ranking. This is the optional reranking performed on the best hits from the first phase, and where you should put any advanced ranking calculations (e.g. MLR). By default, no second-phase ranking is performed. In streaming search we perform the second phase ranking on all hits. You can therefore put all the rank calculation in the first phase rank expression and just skip second phase.

second-phase {
    [body]
}
The body of a secondphase-ranking statement consists of:
NameDescription
expression Specify the ranking expression to be used for first phase of ranking. (for a description, see the ranking expression documentation.
rerank-count Optional argument. Specifies the number of hits to be reranked. Default value is 100

summary-features

Contained in rank-profile. List of rank features to be dumped for every query. Using many items will have a performance impact, a larger list to be returned only when requested can be specified in ranking features.

summary-features: [feature] [feature]…
or
summary-features {
    [feature]
    [feature]
}
Any number of ranking features can be listed on each line, separated by space.

constant

Contained in search. This defines a named constant tensor located in a file with a given type that can be used in ranking expressions via the rank feature constant. A constant with a given name is defined as follows:

constant [name] {
    [body]
}
The body of a constant must contain:
NameDescriptionOccurrence
file Path to the location of the file containing the constant tensor. The path is relative to the root of the application package containing this sd-file. The format of the file is JSON and is the same as when specifying a tensor field in a document put or update. Refer to the Document JSON Format for reference. Compression is supported - if the filename ends with ".json.lz4", Vespa assumes the tensor is LZ4 compressed.

One
type The type of the constant tensor, refer to tensor-type-spec for reference. One
Constant tensor example:
constant my_constant_tensor {
    file: constants/my_constant_tensor_file.json
    type: tensor(x{},y{})
}
This example has a constant tensor with two mapped dimensions, x and y. An example JSON file with such tensor constant:
{
    "cells": [
        { "address": { "x": "a", "y": "b"}, "value": 2.0 },
        { "address": { "x": "c", "y": "d"}, "value": 3.0 }
    ]
}
When an application with tensor constants is deployed, the files are distributed to the content nodes before the new configuration is being used by the search nodes. Incremental changes to constant tensors is not supported. When changed, replace the old file with a new one and re-deploy the application or create a new constant with a new name in a new file.

document-summary

Contained in search. An explicitly defined document summary. By default, a document summary named default is created. Using this element, other document summaries containing a different set of fields can be created.

document-summary [name] {
    [body]
}
The body of a document summary consists of:
NameDescriptionOccurrence
from-disk Marks this summary as accessing fields on disk Zero or one
summary A summary field in this document summary. Zero to many
Use the summary query parameter to choose a document summary in searches. See also document summaries.

stemming

Contained in field, search or index. Sets how to stem a field or an index, or how to stem by default. Read more on stemming.

stemming: [stemming-type]
The stemming types are:
TypeDescription
none No stemming: Keep words unchanged
best Use the 'best' stem of each word according to some heuristic scoring. This is the default setting
shortestUse the shortest stem of each word
multipleUse multiple stems. Retains all stems returned from the linguistics library
Note: When combining multiple fields in a fieldset, all fields should use the same stemming type.

normalizing

Contained in field. Sets normalizing to be done on this field. Default is to normalize.

normalizing: [normalizing-type]
TypeDescription
noneNo normalizing.

alias

Contained in attribute, field or index. Makes an index or attribute available under an additional name:

alias [index/attr-name]: [alias]
If the index/attribute name is skipped, the containing field or index name is used. Alias names can be any name string, dots are allowed as well.

attribute

Contained in field or struct-field. Specifies a property of an index structure attribute:

attribute [attribute-name]: [property]
or
attribute [attribute-name] {
    [property]
    [property]
    …
}
The attribute name can be skipped, in which case the field name is used. Refer to search definitions for actions required when adding or modifying attributes. Read Attributes for an introduction to attributes. The following properties are available:
PropertyDescription
fast-searchAt the cost of memory, speed up search when there are few hits and there are no other limiting factors. Not recommended, unless you are going to query the attribute without any other more restrictive terms that are indexed
fast-access In an indexed content cluster with searchable-copies < redundancy this property can be set to make sure that this attribute is always kept in memory for fast access in the context of applying partial updates and when used in a selection expression for garbage collection. If redundancy == searchable-copies (default) this property is a no-op.
aliasAn alias for the attribute. Add an attribute name before the colon to specify an alias for another attribute than the one given by field name.
sortingThe sort specification for this attribute.
An attribute is multivalued if assigning it multiple values during indexing, either by using e.g. split and for_each or by letting multiple fields write their value to the attribute field.

Note that normalizing and tokenization is not enabled by default for attribute fields. Queries in attribute fields are hence not normalized. Use index on fields to enable. Both index and attribute can be set on a field.

sorting

Contained in attribute or field. Specifies how sorting should be done.

sorting : [property]
or
sorting {
    [property]
    [property]
    …
}
PropertyDescription
order Either ascending or descending. Default is ascending. Used unless overridden in sortspec in query.
function The Sort function to be used. Implemented functions are raw, lowercase, and uca. The default is uca, but please note that if no language or locale is specified in the query sortspec, the field, or generally for the query, lowercase will be used instead. Used unless overridden in sortspec in query.
strength Sort strength to be used. Implemented levels are primary, secondary, tertiary, quaternary and identical. The default is primary. Used unless overridden in sortspec in query. Only applicable if function is set to uca.
locale Locale to be used. The default is none, indicating that it is inferred from query. It should only be set here if the attribute is filled with data that is in 1 language only. Used unless overridden in sortspec in query. Only applicable if function is set to uca.

tensor-type-spec

Contained in constant or tensor field type. Specifies the tensor type for a tensor. A tensor type contains a list of dimensions on the format:

tensor(dimension-1,dimension-2,...,dimension-N)
A dimension is specified as follows:
  • dimension-name{} - a mapped dimension.
  • dimension-name[size] - a bound indexed dimension with the given size.
  • dimension-name[] - an unbound indexed dimension.
The tensor type for a tensor with two mapped dimensions x and y looks like:
tensor(x{},y{})
Example tensor with this type:
{{x:a,y:b}:10, {x:c,y:d}:20}
The tensor type for a tensor with two bound indexed dimensions x and y with sizes 3 and 2 respectively looks like this:
tensor(x[3],y[2])
Example tensor with this type (representing a matrix):
{{x:0,y:0}:1, {x:0,y:1}:2,
 {x:1,y:0}:3, {x:1,y:1}:5,
 {x:2,y:0}:7, {x:2,y:1}:11}
Note that the labels are indexes in the range [0,dimension-size>

A tensor with both mapped and indexed dimensions is mixed:

tensor(x[2],y{})
Example:
{{x:0,y:a}:10, {x:0,y:b}:20,
 {x:1,y:a}:5,  {x:1,y:b}:7}

bolding

Contained in field. Highlight matching query terms in the summary:

bolding: on
Not applicable to streaming search. Instead use summary: dynamic.

The default is no bolding, set bolding: on to enable it. Note that this command is overridden by summary: dynamic, if both are specified, bolding will be ignored. The difference between using bolding instead of summary: dynamic is the latter will provide a dynamic abstract in addition to highlighting search terms while the first only does highlighting.

The default XML element used to highlight the search terms is <hi> - to override, set container.qr-searchers configuration. Example using <strong>:

<container>
  <search>
    <config name="container.qr-searchers">
      <tag>
        <bold>
          <open>&lt;strong&gt;</open>
          <close>&lt;/strong&gt;</close>
        </bold>
        <separator>...</separator>
      </tag>
    </config>
  <search>
<container>

id

Contained in field. Sets the numerical id of this field. All fields have a document-internal id internally for transfer and storage. Id's are usually determined programmatically as a 31-bit number. Some storage and transfer space can be saved by instead explicitly setting id's to a 7-bit number.

id: [positive integer]
An id must satisfy these requirements:

  • Must be a positive integer
  • Must be less than 100 or larger than 127
  • Must be unique within the document and all documents this document inherits

index

Contained in field or search. Sets index parameters. Content in fields with index are normalized and tokenized by default. This element can be single- or multivalued:

index [index-name]: [property]
or
index [index-name] {
    [property]
    [property]
    …
}
The index name can be skipped inside fields, causing the index name to be the field name. Parameters:
PropertyDescriptionOccurrence
alias Specify an alias to this index to be available in searches. Zero to many
stemming Set the stemming of this index. Indexes without a stemming setting get their stemming setting from the fields added to the index. Setting this explicitly is useful if fields with conflicting stemming settings are added to this index. Zero to one
arity Set the arity value for a predicate field. The data type for the containing field must be predicate. One (mandatory for predicate fields), else zero.
lower-bound Set the lower bound value for a predicate field. The data type for the containing field must be predicate. Zero to one.
upper-bound Set the upper bound value for predicate fields. The data type for the containing field must be predicate. Zero to one.
dense-posting-list-threshold Set the dense posting list threshold value for predicate fields. The data type for the containing field must be predicate. Zero to one.

indexing

Contained in field or struct-field. One or more Indexing Language instructions used to produce index, attribute and summary data from this field. Indexing instructions has pipeline semantics similar to unix shell commands. The value of the field enters the pipeline during indexing and the pipeline puts the value into the desired index structures, possibly doing transformations and pulling in other values along the way.

indexing: [index-statement]
or
indexing {
    [indexing-statement];
    [indexing-statement];
    …
}
If the field containing this is defined outside the document, it must start by an indexing statement which outputs a value (either "input [fieldname]" to fetch a field value, or a literal, e.g "some-value" ). Fields in documents will use the value of the enclosing field as input (input [fieldname]) if one isn't explicitly provided.

Specify the operations separated by the pipe (|) character. For advanced processing needs, use the indexing language, or write a document processor. Supported expressions for fields are:

attribute Attribute is used to make a field available for sorting, grouping, ranking and searching using match mode word.
index Creates a searchable index for the values of this field. All strings are lower-cased before stored in the index. By default the index name will be the same as the name of the search definition field. Use a fieldset to combine fields in the same set for searching.
set_language Sets document language - details.
summary Includes the value of this field in a summary field. Modify summary output by using summary: (e.g. to generate dynamic teasers).

When combining both index and attribute in the indexing statement for a field, e.g indexing: summary|attribute|index, the match mode becomes text for the field. So searches in this field will not search the contents in the attribute but the index

indexing-rewrite

Contained in field. Vespa will normally rewrite indexing statements extensively to implement the technical tasks which are required to carry out the intentions of the indexing statement. The rewriting done can be controlled using this element.

indexing-rewrite: none
Include this to let an indexing statement pass through unaltered. Note that such statements must begin with an input <fieldname>, get_var or constant expression. You should understand which rewrites Vespa does, and be certain that your indexing statement can do without them to use this. This statement must be placed somewhere below the indexing statement in the field.

match

Contained in field, fieldset or struct-field. Sets the matching method to use for this field to something else than the default token matching.

match: [property]
or
match {
    [property]
    [property]
    …
}
Whether the match type is text, word or exact, all term matching will be done after normalization and locale independent lowercasing (in that order).

Also see search using regular expressions.

PropertyValid withDescription
text Indexes, streaming

Default for indexes. Can not be combined with exact matching. The field is matched per token.

exact Indexes, attributes, streaming

Can not be combined with text matching.

The field is matched exactly: Strings containing any characters whatsoever will be indexed and matched as-is. In queries, the exact match string ends at the exact match terminator (below).

A field with match: exact is considered to be a filter field, just as if rank: filter was specified. This is because there is only one word per field (or per item in the case of multivalued types such as array<string>), so there little ranking information. Turn off the implicit rank: filter by adding rank: normal.

exact-terminator Indexes, attributes, streaming

Only valid for match: exact. Default is @@. Use to specify terminator in query strings. If the query strings can contain @@, set a different terminator, or use match: word, see below. Example - use:

match {
    exact
    exact-terminator: "@%"
}
on a field called tag to make query tag:a b c!@% match documents with the string a b c!

Example using the default terminator: If tag is an exact match field, the query:

someword AND (tag:!*!@@ OR tag:(kanoo)@@)
matches documents with someword and either !*! or (kanoo) as a tag. Note that without the @@ terminating the second tag string, the second tag value would be (kanoo)).

word Indexes, attributes

This is the default matching mode for string attributes. Can not be combined with text matching.

Word matching is like exact matching, but with more advanced query parsing. The query terms is heuristically parsed taking into account some usual query syntax characters; one can also use double quotes to include space, star, or exclamation marks.

Example: If artist is a string attribute, the query:

foo AND (artist:"'N Sync" OR artist:"*NSYNC" OR artist:A*teens OR artist:"Wham!")
matches documents with foo and at least one of 'N Sync or *NSYNC or A*teens or Wham! in the artist field

Note that without the quotes, the space in 'N Sync would end that word and would result in a search for just 'N, similarly the ! would mean to increase the weight of a Wham term if not quoted. Example.

prefix Attributes, streaming

Set default match mode to prefix for the field - i.e. queries do not need to specify prefix matching. As the data structures in attributes and streaming search support prefix searches, one can always set prefix matching in the query, without setting the field to prefix default. Also see regular expressions.

substring Streaming

Set default match mode to substring for the field. Only available in streaming search. As the data structures in streaming search support substring searches, one can always set substring matching in the query, without setting the field to substring default. Also see regular expressions.

suffix Streaming

Like substring (above).

max-length Indexes, streaming

Override fieldmatchmaxlength - this limits the length of the field that will be used for matching.

gram Indexes

This field is matched using n-grams. For example, with the default gram size 2 the string "hi blue" is tokenized to "hi bl lu ue" both in the index and in queries to the index.

N-gram matching is useful mainly as an alternative to segmentation in CJK languages. Typically it results in increased recall and lower precision. However, as Vespa usually uses proximity in ranking, the precision offset may not be of much importance. Grams consumes more resources than other matching methods because both indexes and queries will have more terms, and the terms contains repetition of the same letters. On the other hand, CPU intensive CJK segmentation is avoided.

It may also be used for substring matching in general.

gram-size Indexes

A positive, nonzero, number, default 2. Sets the gram size when gram matching is used. Example:

match {
    gram
    gram-size: 3
}

rank

Contained in field or rank-profile. Set the kind of ranking calculations which will be done for the field. Even though the actual ranking expressions decide the ranking, this settings tells Vespa which preparatory calculations and which data structures are needed for the field.

rank [field-name]: [ranking settings]
or
rank {
    [ranking setting]
}
The field name should only be specified when used inside a rank-profile. The following ranking settings are supported in addition to the default:
Ranking settingDescription
filter Indicates that matching in this field should use fast bit vector data structures only. This saves a lot of CPU during matching, but only a few simple ranking features will be available for the field. This setting is appropriate for fields typically used for filtering or simple boosting purposes, like filtering or boosting on the language of the document. Example.
normal The reverse of filter. Matching in this field will use normal data structures and give normal match information for ranking. Used to turn off implicit rank: filter when using match: exact. If both filter and normal are set somehow, the effect is as if only normal was specified.

query-command

Contained in fieldset, field or struct-field. Specifies a function to be performed on query terms to the indexes of this field when searching. The Search Container server has support for writing Vespa Searcher plugins which processes these commands.

query-command: [any string]
If you write a plugin searcher which needs some index-specific configuration parameter, that parameter can be set here.

rank-type

Contained in field or rank-profile. Selects the low-level rank settings to be used for this field when using nativeRank.

rank-type [field-name]: [rank-type-name]
The field name can be skipped inside fields. Defined rank types are:
TypeDescription
identity Used for fields which contains only what this document is, e.g. "Title". Complete identity hits will get a very high rank.
about Some text which is (only) about this document, e.g. "Description". About hits get high rank on partial matches and higher for matches early in the text and repetitive matches. This is the default rank type.
tags Used for simple tag fields of type tag. The tags rank type uses a logarithmic table to give more relative boost in the low range: As tags are added they should have significant impact on rank score, but as more and more tags are added, each new tag should contribute less.
empty Gives no relevancy effect on matches. Used for fields you just want to treat as filters.
For nativeRank you can specify a rank type per field. If the supported rank types do not meet your requirements you can explicit configure the native rank features using rank-properties. See the native rank reference for more information.

summary-to

Contained in field or struct-field. Specifies the name of the document summaries which should contain this field.

summary-to: [summary-name], [summary-name], …
If this is not specified, the field or struct-field will be included in the default document summary. See also document summaries.

summary

Contained in field or document-summary or struct-field. Declares a summary field.

summary: [property]
or
summary [name] type [type] {
    [body]
}
The summary name can be skipped if this is set inside a field. The name will then be the same as the name of the source field. In fields, the summary type can also be skipped, in which case the type will be determined by the field type. The summary data types available are the same as the document field data types. full summary is the default. Long field values (like document content fields) should be made dynamic. The body of a summary may contain:
NameDescriptionOccurrence
full Returns the full field value in the summary (the default). Zero to one
dynamic Make the value returned in results from this summary field be a dynamic abstract of the source summary field by extracting fragments of text around matching words. Matching words will also be highlighted, in similarity with the bolding feature. This highlighting is not affected by the query-argument bolding. The default XML element used to highlight query terms is <hi> - refer to bolding for how to configure. Zero to one
source Specifies the name of the field or fields from which the value of this summary field should be fetched. If multiple fields are specified, the value will be taken from the first field if that has a value, from the second if the first one is empty and so on.
source: [field-name], [field-name], …
When this is not specified, the source field is assumed to be the field with the same name as the summary field.
Zero to one
to Specifies the name of the document summaries this should be included in. An alternative form to summary-to in summaries.
to: [document-summary-name], [document-summary-name], …
This can only be specified in fields, not in explicit document summaries. When this is not specified, the field will go to the default document summary.
Zero to one
Read more about document summaries.

weight

Contained in field. The weight of a field - the default is 100. The field weight is used when calculating the rank scores.

weight: [positive integer]

weightedset

Contained in field of type weightedset. Properties of a weighted set.

weightedset: [property]
or
weightedset {
    [property]
    [property]
    …
}
PropertyDescriptionOccurrence
create-if-nonexistent If the weight of a key is adjusted in a document using a partial update increment or decrement command, but the key is currently not present, the command will be ignored by default. Set this to make keys to be created in this case instead. This is useful when the weight is used to represent the count of the key. Zero to one
remove-if-zero This is the companion of create-if-nonexistent for the converse case: By default keys may have zero as weight. With this turned on, keys whose weight is adjusted (or set) to zero, will be removed. Zero to one

annotation

Contained in search. Defines an annotation type, to be used by the Annotations API. A name of the annotation is mandatory, the body is optional.

annotation [name] {
    [body]
}

import field

Contained in search. Using a reference to a document type, import a field from that document type into this search definition to be used for matching, ranking, grouping and sorting. Refer to parent/child.

Only attribute fields can be imported. The imported field inherit all but the following properties from the parent field:

  • attribute: fast-access

Some extra restrictions apply for some of the field types:
Field type Restriction
array of struct Can be imported if at least one of the struct fields has an attribute. Only the struct fields with attributes will be visible.
map of struct Can be imported if the key field has an attribute and at least one of the struct fields has an attribute. Only the key field and the struct fields with attributes will be visible.
map Can be imported if both key and value fields have attributes.
position Can be imported if it has an attribute.
array of position Can be imported if it has an attribute.

To use an imported field in summary, create an explicit document summary containing the field.

Field types

string Use for a text field of any length. String fields may only contain text characters, as defined by isTextCharacter in com.yahoo.text.Text
field surname type string {
    indexing: summary | index
}
Indexing By default, strings are tokenized before indexing. By default, strings are also normalized and stemmed
Attribute Added as-is. match exact or prefix is supported types of searches in string attributes. Searches are however case-insensitive. A query for BritneY.spears will match a document containing BrItNeY.SpEars
Summary Added as-is
int Use for single 32-bit integers.
field release_year type int {
    indexing: summary | attribute
}
Indexing Not supported. An attribute will automatically be used instead
Attribute Becomes integer attributes, which supports range grouping and range searches
Summary Added as a 32-bit integer
long Use for single 64-bit integers.
field bignumber type long {
    indexing: summary | attribute
}
Indexing Not supported. An attribute will automatically be used instead
Attribute Becomes a 64-bit integer attribute, which supports range grouping and range searches
Summary Added as a 64-bit integer
bool Use for boolean values.
field alive type bool {
    indexing: summary | attribute
}
Indexing Not supported
Attribute Added as a boolean
Summary Added as a boolean value (true or false)
byte Use for single 8-bit numbers.
field smallnumber type byte {
    indexing: summary | attribute
}
Indexing Not supported. An attribute will automatically be used instead
Attribute Added as a byte which supports range searches
Summary Added as a byte
float Use for floating point numbers (32-bit IEEE 754 float).
field myfloat type float {
    indexing: summary | attribute
}
Indexing Not supported. An attribute will automatically be used instead
Attribute Added as a 32-bit IEEE 754 float which supports range searches
Summary Added as a 32-bit IEEE 754 float
double Use for high precision floating point numbers (64-bit IEEE 754 double).
field mydouble type double {
    indexing: summary | attribute
}
Indexing Not supported. An attribute will automatically be used instead
Attribute Added as a 64-bit IEEE 754 double which supports range searches
Summary Added as a 64-bit IEEE 754 double
position Used to filter and/or rank documents by distance to a position in the query, see Geo search.
field location type position {
    indexing: attribute
}
Indexing Not supported
Attribute Added as an interleaved 64-bit integer (see Z-order curve) - queries are implemented by doing a set of range searches in the attribute. This attribute has fast-search set implicitly
Summary Refer to the reference
predicate Use to match queries to a set of boolean constraints. See querying predicate fields.
field predicate_field type predicate {
    indexing: attribute
    index {
        arity: 2  # mandatory
        lower-bound: 3
        upper-bound: 200
        dense-posting-list-threshold: 0.25
    }
}
Indexing Indexed in a variable size binary format that is optimized for application during query evaluation
Attribute Not supported
Summary Added as-is
raw Use for binary data
field rawfield type raw {
    indexing: summary
}
Indexing Not supported
Attribute Not supported
Summary Added as raw data
uri

Use for URLs.

Indexing

The URL is split into the different components which are indexed separately. Note that only URLs can be indexed this way, not other URIs. The different components are as defined by the HTTP standard: Scheme, hostname, port, path, query and fragment. Example:

http://mysite.mydomain.com:8080/path/shop?d=hab&id=1804905709&cat=100#frag1
schemehttp
hostnamemysite.mydomain.com (indexed as "mysite", "mydomain" and "com")
port8080 (note that port numbers 80 and 443 are not indexed, as they are the normal port numbers)
path/path/shop (indexed as "path" and "shop")
queryd=hab&id=1804905709&cat=100 (indexed as "d", "hab", "id", "1804905709", "cat" and "100")
fragmentfrag1
The syntax for searching these different components is:
[field-name].[component-name]:term
Example: In a uri field sourceurl, search for documents from slashdot:
query=sourceurl.hostname:slashdot
URL hostnames also support anchored searching, see search in URL fields.

It is not possible to index uri-typed fields into a common index, i.e. it has to be indexed separately from other fields. If you need to combine URLs with other fields you could store it in a string-field instead, but then you can not search in the different parts of the URL (scheme, hostname, port, path, query and fragment).

Aliasing also works different for URL fields - you are allowed to create aliases both to the index (as usual) and to the components of it. Use

alias [component]: [alias]
to create an alias to a component. For example, given this field:
field surl type uri {
    indexing: summary | index
    alias: url
    alias hostname: site
}
a search in "surl" and "url" will search in the entire url, while "surl.hostname" or "site" will search the hostname.

Attribute Added as-is as a string
Summary Added as-is as a string
array<type>

For single-value (primitive) types, use to create an array field of the element type:

Indexing Each element is indexed separately
Attribute Added as an array attribute
Summary Added as an array summary field
Also use to create an array field of the given struct type. The struct type must be defined separately. Example:
struct person {
    field first_name type string {}
    field last_name  type string {}
}

field people type array<person> {
    indexing: summary
    struct-field first_name { indexing: attribute }
    struct-field last_name  { indexing: attribute }
}
The people field is part of document summary, and the struct fields first_name and last_name are attributes available for searching. Use the sameElementoperator to ensure matches in same struct instance.

Restrictions:

  • All struct arrays can be searched in streaming search mode
  • All struct arrays can be fed, retrieved and used in document summaries in both indexed and streaming search
  • Some struct arrays can be searched in indexed search:
    Indexing Not supported
    Attribute Only supported in indexed search for struct types with primitive fields only (string, int, long, byte, float, double). Any struct field must be defined as an attribute to be used for searching
    Summary Added as an array summary field

weightedset<element-type>

Use to create a multivalue field of the element type, where each element is assigned a signed 32-bit integer weight.

field tag type weightedset<string> {
    indexing: attribute | summary
}
The element type can be any single value type. The weights may be assigned any semantics by the application, default 1. Two main use cases:
  1. The weight symbolizes the number of occurrences
  2. The weight specifies another value type, for instance the importance of the document
The weight of a matching value is by default used in nativeRank directly as the rank score of the field. It is also possible to create a rank type which uses a rank boost table, weightboost to calculate the rank value from the weight (the tags rank type does this by default).

It is possible to specify that a new key should be created if it does not exist before the update, and that it should be removed if the weight is set to zero. This is only usable together with the increment and decrement operations, see document updates.

Indexing Each token present in the field is indexed separately. Information indexed includes element number, element weight and a list of token occurrence positions for each element in which the token is present
Attribute Added as a multivalue weighted attribute
Summary Added as a multivalue summary field if this is an attribute
tensor(dimension-1,...,dimension-N) Use to create a tensor field with the given tensor type spec that can be used for ranking - a tensor field is not searchable.

See tensor evaluation reference for definition, the tensor user guide and the JSON feed format.

field tensorfield type tensor(x{},y{}) {
    indexing: attribute | summary
}

field tensorfield type tensor(x[2],y[2]) {
    indexing: attribute | summary
}
Indexing Not supported
Attribute Added as-is in an attribute to be used for ranking
Summary Added as-is. The JSON result format (presentation.format=json) should be used when returning a summary class containing a tensor field as part of search
struct Use to define a field with a struct datatype. Create a struct type inside the document definition and declare the struct field in a document or struct using the struct type name as the field type:
struct person {
    field first_name type string {}
    field last_name type string {}
}
field my_person type person {
    indexing: summary
}
Restrictions:
  • Struct fields can only be searched in streaming search mode, not in indexed search
  • Struct fields can be fed, retrieved and used in document summaries in both indexed and streaming search
See struct array type and map type for restrictions when using collections of structs.
Indexing Not supported.
Attribute Not supported.
Summary Added as a struct. In streaming search each field in the struct can have its own summary configuration.
map<key-type,value-type>

Use to create a map where each unique key is mapped to a single value. Any primitive type is used as key-type and any Vespa type as value-type. A map entry is handled as a struct with a key and value field with key-type and value-type as types. Example:

struct person {
    field first_name type string {}
    field last_name type string {}
}
field identities type map<string, person> {
    indexing: summary
    struct-field key { indexing: attribute }
    struct-field value.last_name { indexing: attribute }
}
The entire identities field is part of document summary, and the struct fields key and value.last_name are attributes available for searching using the sameElement operator, and grouping using map syntax.

The next example shows a map of primitive types, where the key and value struct fields are specified as attributes:

field my_map type map<string, int> {
    indexing: summary
    struct-field key { indexing: attribute }
    struct-field value { indexing: attribute }
}
Note that the previous example is similar to the following, the difference being that an array can contain the same element multiple times and maintains order.
struct mystruct {
    field key type string { }
    field value type int { }
}
field my_array type array<mystruct> {
    indexing: summary
    struct-field key { indexing: attribute }
    struct-field value { indexing: attribute }
}
Restrictions:
  • All map types can be searched in streaming search mode
  • Some map types can be searched in indexed search. See table below for supported cases
  • All map types can be fed, retrieved and used in document summaries in both indexed and streaming search

Indexing Not supported
Attribute Only supported in indexed search where key-type is a primitive type (string, int, long, byte, float, double) and value-type is either a primitive type or a struct type with primitive fields only. Any struct field must be defined as an attribute to be used for searching
Summary Added as a map. In streaming search both key and value can have their own summary configuration
annotationreference Use to define a field (inside annotation, or inside e.g. a struct used by a field in an annotation) with a reference to another annotation. Should only be used for fields declared inside annotation, or as a base type by the use of any of the compound types listed above, inside annotation. To define a such a field, you must first create an annotation type. The struct must be defined inside the search definition. To declare an annotationreference field in an annotation, use the annotation name to identify the field type:
annotation foo {
    field baz type annotationreference<bar> { }
}

annotation bar { }
Indexing N/A
Attribute N/A
Summary N/A
reference<document-type> A reference<document-type> field is a reference to an instance of a document-type - i.e. a foreign key.
field artist_ref type reference<artist> {
    indexing: attribute
}
The reference is the document id of the document-type instance. References are used to join documents in a parent-child relationship. A reference can only be made to global documents. The following type of references are not supported:
  • Self-reference
  • Cyclic reference: If document type foo has a reference to bar, then bar cannot have a reference to foo
Indexing Invalid - deployment will fail
Attribute As string - a reference must be an attribute. Can be empty string or point to a non-existing document
Summary As string

Note that it is possible to make a document field of one type into one or more instances of another search field, by declaring a field outside the document, which uses other fields as input. For example, to create an integer attribute for a string containing a comma-separated list of integers in the document, do like this:

search example {
  document example {
    field yearlist type string { # Comma-separated years
      …
    }
    …
  }

  field year type array<int> { # Search field using the yearlist value
    indexing: input yearlist | split "," | attribute
  }
}

Config overrides affecting searchdefinition

maxtermoccurrences

Limits the number of occurrences of a term that will indexed. By default it is 100. This is a global setting that will be used for all fields in all document types.

<config name='vespa.configdefinition.ilscripts'>
    <maxtermoccurrences>100</maxtermoccurrences>
</config>

fieldmatchmaxlength

This is the max length of a field that is tokenized and indexed. By default it is 1000000. This is a global setting that will be used for all fields in all document types. For individual control see max-length

<config name='vespa.configdefinition.ilscripts'>
    <fieldmatchmaxlength>1000000</fieldmatchmaxlength>
</config>

Example

search example {

  document example {

    field title type string {
      indexing: summary | index
      alias: analias.totitle
      alias default: analias_todefault
    }

    field description type string {
      indexing: summary | index
    }

    field author type string {
      indexing: summary | index
      # author names only, so no stemming
      stemming: none
    }

    field category type string {
      indexing: summary | attribute
      attribute: fast-search
      match: exact #Don't tokenize  
      rank:filter # Only for matching. Most efficient search of a string type
    }

    field popularity type int {
      indexing: summary | attribute
      attribute:fast-search
    }

    field measurement type int {
      indexing: summary | attribute
    }

    # Categories as an array - preferable
    field morecategories type array<string> { indexing: index
    }

  }

  fieldset default {
    fields: title, description
  }

  # Additional default settings
  rank-profile default inherits default {
    first-phase {
        expression: nativeRank
    }
    second-phase {
      expression {
          0.5 * 0.5 * (0.1 * attribute(popularity) + fieldMatch(description))
          + 0.2 * attributeMatch(category)
          + 0.3 * fieldMatch(title)
      }
      rerank-count: 200
    }
  }

  # Some experimental ranking changes
  rank-profile experimental inherits default {
    second-phase {
      expression {
          0.5 * 0.5 * (attribute(measurement) * attribute(popularity) + fieldMatch(description))
          + 0.2 * attributeMatch(category)
          + 0.3 * fieldMatch(title)
      }
    }
  }

  # Ranking expression from separate file (filename mlrrank.expression, in the same directory as the sd-file)
  rank-profile mlrraning inherits default {
    second-phase {
      expression: file:mlrrank
    }
  }

  rank-profile other inherits experimental {
    second-phase {
      rerank-count: 100
    }
  }

  rank-profile justthebest {
    match-phase {
      attribute: popularity
      max-hits: 10000
      diversity {
        attribute: category
        min-groups: 20
      }
    }
    first-phase {
      expression: nativeRank + 0.1 * attribute(popularity)
    }
    second-phase {
      expression {
          0.5 * 0.5 * (0.1 * attribute(popularity) + fieldMatch(description))
          + 0.2 * attributeMatch(category)
          + 0.3 * fieldMatch(title)
      }
    }
  }

}

Modify Search Definitions

This section describes how a search definition in a live application can be modified - categories:

  1. Valid changes without restart or re-feed
  2. Changes that require restart but not re-feed
  3. Changes that require re-feed
When running vespa-deploy prepare on a new application package, the changes in the search definition files are compared with the files in the current active package. If some of the changes require restart or re-feed, the output from vespa-deploy prepare specifies which actions are needed. The document mode(s) (index, streaming) for which a change is applicable is also listed in the categories below. Treat mode store-only the same as mode streaming.

NOTE: If there are changes to perform on a live system that are not covered by this document and no output is given from vespa-deploy prepare, their impact is undefined and in no way guaranteed to allow a system to stay live until re-feeding. Changes not related to the search definition are discussed in admin procedures.

It is best practice to try changes in a staging system first.

Valid changes without restart or re-feed

Procedure:

  1. Run vespa-deploy prepare on the changed application
  2. Run vespa-deploy activate. The changes will take effect immediately
Changes:
ChangeApplicable for modeDescription
Add a new document fieldindex, streaming Add a new document field as index, attribute, summary or any combinations of these. Existing documents will implicitly get the new field with no content. Documents fed after the change can specify the new field. If the field has existed with same type earlier, then old content may or may not reappear
Remove a document fieldindex, streaming Existing documents will no longer see the removed field, but the field data is not completely removed from the search node
Add or remove an existing document field from document summaryindex, streaming Add an existing field to summary or any number of summary classes, and remove an existing field from summary or any number of summary classes
Remove the attribute aspect from a field that is also an index fieldindex This is the only scenario of changing the attribute aspect of a document field that is allowed without restart
Change the attribute aspect of a document fieldstreaming Add or remove a field as attribute. In mode streaming this only indicates that the field is used for grouping, sorting, ranking and matching. No changes to underlying data structures
Change the index aspect of a document fieldstreaming Add or remove a field as index. In mode streaming this only indicates that the field is used for matching. No changes to underlying data structures
Add, change or remove match settings for a fieldstreaming In mode streaming such change does not effect the documents stored in the backend and can be done without restart and re-feed
Add, change or remove field setsindex, streaming Change fieldsets used to group fields together for searching
Change the alias or sorting attribute settings for an attribute fieldindex, streaming
Add, change or remove rank profilesindex, streaming
Change document field weightsindex, streaming
Add, change or remove field aliasesindex, streaming
Add, change or remove rank settings for a fieldindex, streaming Exception: Changing rank: filter on an attribute field in mode index requires restart. See details in next section
Add or remove a search definitionindex, streaming Removing a search definition file will make proton drop all documents of that type - subsequently releasing memory and disk.

Changes that require restart but not re-feed

Procedure:

  1. Run vespa-deploy prepare on the changed application. Output specifies which restart actions are needed
  2. Run vespa-deploy activate
  3. Restart services on the services specified in the prepare output
Changes:
ChangeApplicable for modeDescription
Change the attribute aspect of a document fieldindex Add or remove a field as attribute. When adding, the attribute is populated based on the field value in stored documents during restart. When removing, the field value in stored documents is updated based on the content in the attribute during restart
Change the attribute settings for an attribute fieldindex, streaming For mode index: Change the following attribute settings: fast-search, fast-access.
For mode streaming: Change the following attribute settings: fast-access (the other settings are not used)
Change the rank filter setting for an attribute fieldindex Add or remove rank: filter on an attribute field.
Example: Given a content cluster mycluster with mode index:
search test {
  document test {
    field f1 type string { indexing: summary }
  }
}
Then add field f1 as an attribute:
search test {
  document test {
    field f1 type string { indexing: attribute | summary }
  }
}
The following is output from vespa-deploy prepare - which restart actions are needed:
WARNING: Change(s) between active and new application that require restart:
In cluster 'mycluster' of type 'search':
    Restart services of type 'searchnode' because:
        1) Document type 'test': Field 'f1' changed: add attribute aspect

Changes that require re-feed

All of the changes listed below require re-feeding of all documents. Unless a change is listed in the above sections treat it as if it was listed here. Until re-feed is complete, affected fields will be empty or have potentially wrong annotations not matching the query processing. Procedure:

  1. Run vespa-deploy prepare on the changed application. Output specifies which re-feed actions are needed
  2. Stop feeding, wait until done
  3. Run vespa-deploy activate
  4. Re-feed all documents
Changes:
ChangeApplicable for modeDescription
Change the data type or collection type of a document fieldindex, streaming Existing documents will no longer have any content for this field. To populate the field, re-feed the existing documents using the new type for this field. There will be no automatic conversion from old to new field type.
NOTE: If not re-feeding after such a change, serving works, but searching this field will not give any results
Change index aspect of a document fieldindex This changes the document processing pipeline before documents arrive in the backend. Only documents fed after index aspect was added will have annotations and be present in the reverse index. Only documents fed after index aspect was removed will avoid disk bloat due to unneeded annotations
Change fields from static to dynamic summary, or vice versaindex
Switch stemming/normalizing on or offindex This changes the document processing pipeline before documents arrive in the backend, and what annotations are made for an indexed field.
NOTE: If not re-feeding after such a change, serving works, but recall is undefined as the index has been produced using a different setting than the one used when doing stemming/normalizing of the query terms
Switch bolding on or offindex
Add, change or remove match settings for a fieldindex Example: Adding match: word to a field.
This changes the document processing pipeline before documents arrive in the backend, and what annotations are made for an indexed field.
NOTE: If not re-feeding after such a change, serving works, but recall is undefined as the index has been produced using one match mode while run-time is using a different match mode
Change the tensor type of a tensor attributeindex
Example: Given a content cluster mycluster with mode index:
search test {
  document test {
    field f1 type string { indexing: summary }
  }
}
Then add field f1 as an index:
search test {
  document test {
    field f1 type string { indexing: index | summary }
  }
}
The following is output from vespa-deploy prepare - which re-feed actions are needed:
WARNING: Change(s) between active and new application that require re-feed:
Re-feed document type 'test' in cluster 'mycluster' because:
    1) Document type 'test': Field 'f1' changed: add index aspect, indexing script: '{ input f1 | summary f1; }' -> '{ input f1 | tokenize normalize stem:"SHORTEST" | index f1 | summary f1; }'