Preprocessing and building the search index

Building search indexes in WebSphere Commerce includes two steps: preprocessing the data using the di-preprocess utility, and building the search index using the di-buildindex utility.

The following diagram illustrates the relationship between preprocessing and index building in WebSphere Commerce:
Full build, preprocess, and data import

Where the di-preprocess utility extracts and flattens WebSphere Commerce data and then outputs the data into a set of temporary tables inside the WebSphere Commerce database. The data in the temporary tables is then used by the di-buildindex utility to populate the data into search indexes by using the Data Import Handler (DIH). When there are multiple indexes, for example, each language uses its own separate index, the index is built multiple times.

Preprocessing data

Preprocessing data involves querying WebSphere Commerce tables and creating a set of temporary tables to hold the data. By default, preprocessing is used for WebSphere Commerce attributes. The default data preprocessors are based on the configuration information that is defined in wc-dataimport-preprocess.xml to process the data.

The table is first loaded in the wc-dataimport-preprocess-fullbuild.xml or wc-dataimport-preprocess-deltaupdate.xml files, since the process might be time consuming. This process helps keep the data consistent between the temporary tables. These two files are for the same temporary table, however, the SQL statement to get the data differs for full index builds and delta index builds. All SQL statements to load other temporary tables in other data import preprocessing related configuration files join with the temporary table defined in the wc-dataimport-preprocess-fullbuild.xml or wc-wc-dataimport-preprocess-deltaupdate.xml files.

For example, all the qualified catalog entry IDs for a master catalog are stored when the utility is performed against them. A benefit for this approach is that whether used for full index builds or delta index build, all the other data import preprocessing related configuration files remain the same.

Sample preprocessing configuration files

The following sample files demonstrate the best practice to preprocess configurations:For more information, see Temporary table schema definition.
Important: For large index sizes, specifying a larger batch size can decrease build times. A setting of 300,000 to 500,000 is recommended, depending on the amount of free system memory. For example, you can modify configuration files from the following directory WebSphere Commerce DeveloperWCDE_installdir\components\foundation\samples\dataimport\catalog. The following snippet specifies a batch size of 300,000:

  	masterCatalogId="10101" batchSize="300000">
This provides the ability to cache some of the information that can be reused to determine all of the ancestor catalog groups for each catalog entry, and results in fewer hits to the database to determine this information.

Index-building and the Data Import Handler (DIH)

The index building utility (di-buildindex) is a wrapping utility that uses the DIH service to build the index, either partially through delta index updates or completely through full index builds. The DIH uses URLs to call commands. For example:

The index building utility uses DIH to connect to the WebSphere Commerce database through a JDBC connection. It crawls the temporary tables that are populated by the preprocess utility, and then populates the Solr index. The wc-data-config.xml configuration file defines the JDBC configuration and crawling SQL statements.