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Defining a static index

As we have seen, defining a static index allows for more sophisticated queries and is also likely to reduce staleness for some scenarios, and this is generally preferred over relying on dynamic indexes.

To define a new index manually, you need to create an IndexDefinition object and pass it to the database. Once notified of the new index, the RavenDB server will execute a background indexing task to build the index. An index can be queried immediately after the indexing process has started, but until the process is finished the query results will be marked as stale. The index will be constantly updated when additions or edits occur.

The IndexDefinition class

An index definition is composed of an index name, Map/Reduce functions, an optional TransformResults function and several other indexing options. The structure of the internal IndexDefinition class is shown here:

class IndexDefinition
{
	/// <summary>
	/// Get or set the name of the index
	/// </summary>
	public string Name { get; set; }

	/// <summary>
	/// Gets or sets the map function
	/// </summary>
	/// <value>The map.</value>
	public string Map { get; set; }

	/// <summary>
	/// Gets or sets the reduce function
	/// </summary>
	/// <value>The reduce.</value>
	public string Reduce { get; set; }

	/// <summary>
	/// Gets or sets the translator function
	/// </summary>
	public string TransformResults { get; set; }

	/// <summary>
	/// Gets or sets the stores options
	/// </summary>
	/// <value>The stores.</value>
	public IDictionary<string, FieldStorage> Stores { get; set; }

	/// <summary>
	/// Gets or sets the indexing options
	/// </summary>
	/// <value>The indexes.</value>
	public IDictionary<string, FieldIndexing> Indexes { get; set; }

	/// <summary>
	/// Gets or sets the sort options.
	/// </summary>
	/// <value>The sort options.</value>
	public IDictionary<string, SortOptions> SortOptions { get; set; }

	/// <summary>
	/// Gets or sets the analyzers options
	/// </summary>
	/// <value>The analyzers.</value>
	public IDictionary<string, string> Analyzers { get; set; }
}

Every index is required to have a name and a Map function. The Map function is the way for us to tell RavenDB how to find the data we are interested in, and what fields we are going to be searching on. The Map function is written in Linq, just like you'd write a simple query

The Reduce function is optional, and is written and executed just like the Map function, but this time on the results of the Map function. This is actually a second indexing pass, which allows us to perform aggregation operations quite cheaply, directly from the index.

Information

To better understand the operations of the Map/Reduce functions, it is recommended that you read the Map/Reduce chapter in the Theory section.

The third function, TransformResults, is of a feature called Live Projections, which is discussed later in this chapter.

The remaining properties are useful for leveraging the full power of Lucene by customizing the indexes even further. We will discuss them in depth later in this chapter.

Creating a new index

Once we figured out how our index should look like, we can go ahead and tell the server to create it, so the indexing process can start. The most straight-forward way to do that is through the PutIndex function, available from the DatabaseCommands object:



// Create an index where we search based on a post title
documentStore.DatabaseCommands.PutIndex("BlogPosts/ByTitles",
										new IndexDefinitionBuilder<BlogPost>
											{
												Map = posts => from post in posts
															   select new { post.Title }
											});
											
											

Note

Note the use the generic IndexDefinitionBuilder class. It builds an IndexDefinition object for you based on the Linq queries you specified. If needed you can pass an IndexDefinition object with the Map/Reduce functions as strings.

A cleaner way to do this, which is also the recommended one, is to create an index class inheriting from AbstractIndexCreationTask<T>, and name it after the indexing operation it does. In the constructor of that class you have access to all the the index properties, which you can change to match your.

Telling the server to create the actual index is done by adding the following call on application startup. This one liner will submit all AbstractIndexCreationTask<T> classes for creation as indexes on the server (existing indexes will remain untouched):

Raven.Client.Indexes.IndexCreation.CreateIndexes(typeof(MyIndexClass).Assembly, documentStore);

With this approach each index can be in its own file, what makes it much easier to work with in case you have a lot of them.

Putting indexes into practice

Let's assume we have a blog with many posts, each filed under several tags, and we wish to know how many posts are under each of the tags. One way to do this would be as follows:

documentStore.DatabaseCommands.PutIndex(
	"BlogPosts/PostsCountByTag",
	new IndexDefinitionBuilder<BlogPost, BlogTagPostsCount>
		{
			// The Map function: for each tag of each post, create a new BlogTagPostsCount
			// object with the name of a tag and a count of one.
			Map = posts => from post in posts
			               from tag in post.Tags
			               select new
			                      	{
			                      		Tag = tag,
			                      		Count = 1
			                      	},

			// The Reduce function: group all the BlogTagPostsCount objects we got back
			// from the Map function, use the Tag name as the key, and sum up all the
			// counts. Since the Map function gives each tag a Count of 1, when the Reduce
			// function returns we are going to have the correct Count of posts filed under
			// each tag.
			Reduce = results => from result in results
			                    group result by result.Tag
			                    into g
			                    select new
			                           	{
			                           		Tag = g.Key,
			                           		Count = g.Sum(x => x.Count)
			                           	}
		});

Where BlogTagPostsCount is declared like this:

public class BlogTagPostsCount
{
	public string Tag { get; set; }
	public int Count { get; set; }
}

A better way of doing this is by creating an index class, and using IndexCreation.CreateIndexes to submit it to the server:

public class BlogPosts_PostsCountByTag : AbstractIndexCreationTask<BlogPost, BlogPosts_PostsCountByTag.ReduceResult>
{
	public class ReduceResult
	{
		public string Tag { get; set; }
		public int Count { get; set; }
	}

	// The index name generated by this is going to be BlogPosts/PostsCountByTag
	public BlogPosts_PostsCountByTag()
	{
		Map = posts => from post in posts
					   from tag in post.Tags
					   select new
					   {
						   Tag = tag,
						   Count = 1
					   };

		Reduce = results => from result in results
							group result by result.Tag
								into g
								select new
								{
									Tag = g.Key,
									Count = g.Sum(x => x.Count)
								};
	}
}

Either way, querying the indexes is the same. You can either let RavenDB decide which index to use, or instruct it to use a specific index by explicitly specifying the index name while querying. Here's how we would go about finding the count of posts tagged under the "RavenDB" tag:

// This is how to query the first index we defined, using the BlogTagPostsCount class

var blogTagPostsCount = session.Query<BlogTagPostsCount>("BlogPosts/PostsCountByTag")
	.FirstOrDefault(x => x.Tag == "RavenDB")
	?? new BlogTagPostsCount();
count = blogTagPostsCount.Count;

// Alternatively, if we used an AbstractIndexCreationTask, we could use this version
// Note how we reuse the ReduceResult class to get back the information

var tagPostsCount = session.Query<BlogPosts_PostsCountByTag.ReduceResult, BlogPosts_PostsCountByTag>()
	.FirstOrDefault(x => x.Tag == "RavenDB")
	?? new BlogPosts_PostsCountByTag.ReduceResult();
count = tagPostsCount.Count;