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[bug#39258] [PATCH v2 0/3] Xapian for Guix package search

From: zimoun
Subject: [bug#39258] [PATCH v2 0/3] Xapian for Guix package search
Date: Mon, 9 Mar 2020 13:40:39 +0100

On Sun, 8 Mar 2020 at 10:02, Arun Isaac <address@hidden> wrote:

> >> It turns out that most of the time is spent in printing and texinfo
> >> rendering of the search results.
> Also, when we put all package metadata into the Xapian index, we don't
> have to look up any of the package variables in (gnu packages *) during
> `guix search` time. This also contributes substantially to the speedup.

Yes, magic power of inverted index. ;-)

> > Also, if the 12K+ descriptions need to be rendered at the time the user
> > runs ‘guix pull’, the experience may not be great, because it could take
> > a bit of time.
> This is a problem, but I would see it as a necessary "compilation"
> step. :-P In fact, this whole patchset speeds up `guix search` by doing
> part of the work of `guix search` ahead of time. So, some such cost is
> unavoidable.

Currently "guix pull" is rather long on my machine. I would accept a
couple of seconds more (even minutes).
So this compilation step could be done at the "guix pull" time.
Or even we could imagine something indexing in the background.

> > What I like about the recutils format in this context is that it’s both
> > human- and machine-readable.  The examples in the manual show how it can
> > be useful to select the information displayed or to refine the search
> > (info "(guix) Invoking guix package").
> Xapian's query language is much more natural (as in natural language)
> than the regexp based techniques we need to use with recutils. I have
> hardly ever used the regexp based search and I suspect many others
> haven't either. Also, refining the search query should be easier to do
> with Xapian. We could even use Xapian's query expansion feature to
> suggest improved queries to the user.
> That said, if we want the recutils format, we can still keep it in a
> simplified form like so.
> name: inkscape
> version: 0.92.4
> synopsis: Vector graphics editor
> name: inklingreader
> version: 0.8
> synopsis: Wacom Inkling skecth format conversion and manipulation
> > Also: I’d recommend tackling one thing at a time.  :-)
> I totally agree, but I'm tempted to say that pre-rendering would be a
> lot cheaper with the simplified form of search results. :-)

IMHO, we "just" need to propose different outputs mimicking "git log
--format". Soemthing like "guix search --format=".

What do you think?

All the best,

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