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Whoosh 2.x release notes

Whoosh 2.3

  • Added a :class:`whoosh.query.Regex` term query type, similar to :class:`whoosh.query.Wildcard`. The parser does not allow regex term queries by default. You need to add the :class:`whoosh.qparser.RegexPlugin` plugin. After you add the plugin, you can use r"expression" query syntax for regular expression term queries. For example, r"foo.*bar".
  • Added the :class:`whoosh.qparser.PseudoFieldPlugin` parser plugin. This plugin lets you create "pseudo-fields" that run a transform function on whatever query syntax the user applies the field to. This is fairly advanced functionality right now; I'm trying to think of ways to make its power easier to access.
  • The documents in the lists in the dictionary returned by Results.groups() by default are now in the same relative order as in the results. This makes it much easier to display the "top N" results in each category, for example.
  • The groupids keyword argument to has been removed. Instead you can now pass a :class:`whoosh.sorting.FacetMap` object to the method's maptype argument to control how faceted documents are grouped, and/or set the maptype argument on individual :class:`whoosh.sorting.FacetType`` objects to set custom grouping per facet. See :doc:`../facets` for more information.
  • Calling Searcher.documents() or Searcher.document_numbers() with no arguments now yields all documents/numbers.
  • Calling Writer.update_document() with no unique fields is now equivalent to calling Writer.add_document() with the same arguments.
  • Fixed a problem with keyword expansion where the code was building a cache that was fast on small indexes, but unacceptably slow on large indexes.
  • Added the hyphen (-) to the list of characters that match a "wildcard" token, to make parsing slightly more predictable. A true fix will have to wait for another parser rewrite.
  • Fixed an unused __future__ import and use of float("nan") which were breaking under Python 2.5.
  • Fixed a bug where vectored fields with only one term stored an empty term vector.
  • Various other bug fixes.

Whoosh 2.2

Whoosh 2.1

This release fixes several bugs, and contains speed improvments to highlighting. See :doc:`/highlight` for more information.

Whoosh 2.0


  • Whoosh is now compatible with Python 3 (tested with Python 3.2). Special thanks to Vinay Sajip who did the work, and also Jordan Sherer who helped fix later issues.

  • Sorting and grouping (faceting) now use a new system of "facet" objects which are much more flexible than the previous field-based system.

    For example, to sort by first name and then score:

    from whoosh import sorting
    mf = sorting.MultiFacet([sorting.FieldFacet("firstname"),
    results =, sortedby=mf)

    In addition to the previously supported sorting/grouping by field contents and/or query results, you can now use numeric ranges, date ranges, score, and more. The new faceting system also supports overlapping groups.

    (The old "Sorter" API still works but is deprecated and may be removed in a future version.)

    See :doc:`/facets` for more information.

  • Completely revamped spell-checking to make it much faster, easier, and more flexible. You can enable generation of the graph files use by spell checking using the spelling=True argument to a field type:

    schema = fields.Schema(text=fields.TEXT(spelling=True))

    (Spelling suggestion methods will work on fields without spelling=True but will slower.) The spelling graph will be updated automatically as new documents are added -- it is no longer necessary to maintain a separate "spelling index".

    You can get suggestions for individual words using :meth:`whoosh.searching.Searcher.suggest`:

    suglist = searcher.suggest("content", "werd", limit=3)

    Whoosh now includes convenience methods to spell-check and correct user queries, with optional highlighting of corrections using the whoosh.highlight module:

    from whoosh import highlight, qparser
    # User query string
    qstring = request.get("q")
    # Parse into query object
    parser = qparser.QueryParser("content", myindex.schema)
    qobject = parser.parse(qstring)
    results =
    if not results:
      correction = searcher.correct_query(gobject, gstring)
      # correction.query = corrected query object
      # correction.string = corrected query string
      # Format the corrected query string with HTML highlighting
      cstring = correction.format_string(highlight.HtmlFormatter())

    Spelling suggestions can come from field contents and/or lists of words. For stemmed fields the spelling suggestions automatically use the unstemmed forms of the words.

    There are APIs for spelling suggestions and query correction, so highly motivated users could conceivably replace the defaults with more sophisticated behaviors (for example, to take context into account).

    See :doc:`/spelling` for more information.

  • :class:`whoosh.query.FuzzyTerm` now uses the new word graph feature as well and so is much faster.

  • You can now set a boost factor for individual documents as you index them, to increase the score of terms in those documents in searches. See the documentation for the :meth:`~whoosh.writing.IndexWriter.add_document` for more information.

  • Added built-in recording of which terms matched in which documents. Use the terms=True argument to :meth:`` and use :meth:`whoosh.searching.Hit.matched_terms` and :meth:`whoosh.searching.Hit.contains_term` to check matched terms.

  • Whoosh now supports whole-term quality optimizations, so for example if the system knows that a UnionMatcher cannot possibly contribute to the "top N" results unless both sub-matchers match, it will replace the UnionMatcher with an IntersectionMatcher which is faster to compute. The performance improvement is not as dramatic as from block quality optimizations, but it can be noticeable.

  • Fixed a bug that prevented block quality optimizations in queries with words not in the index, which could severely degrade performance.

  • Block quality optimizations now use the actual scoring algorithm to calculate block quality instead of an approximation, which fixes issues where ordering of results could be different for searches with and without the optimizations.

  • the BOOLEAN field type now supports field boosts.

  • Re-architected the query parser to make the code easier to understand. Custom parser plugins from previous versions will probably break in Whoosh 2.0.

  • Various bug-fixes and performance improvements.

  • Removed the "read lock", which caused more problems than it solved. Now when opening a reader, if segments are deleted out from under the reader as it is opened, the code simply retries.


  • The term quality optimizations required changes to the on-disk formats. Whoosh 2.0 if backwards-compatible with the old format. As you rewrite an index using Whoosh 2.0, by default it will use the new formats for new segments, making the index incompatible with older versions.

    To upgrade an existing index to use the new formats immediately, use Index.optimize().

  • Removed the experimental TermTrackingCollector since it is replaced by the new built-in term recording functionality.

  • Removed the experimental Searcher.define_facets feature until a future release when it will be replaced by a more robust and useful feature.

  • Reader iteration methods (__iter__, iter_from, iter_field, etc.) now yield :class:`whoosh.reading.TermInfo` objects.

  • The arguments to :class:`whoosh.query.FuzzyTerm` changed.