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Parsing user queries


The job of a query parser is to convert a query string submitted by a user into query objects (objects from the :mod:`whoosh.query` module) which

For example, the user query:

might be parsed into query objects like this:

And([Term("content", u"rendering"), Term("content", u"shading")])

Whoosh includes a powerful, modular parser for user queries in the :mod:`whoosh.qparser` module. The default parser implements a query language similar to the one that ships with Lucene. However, by changing plugins or using functions such as :func:`whoosh.qparser.MultifieldParser`, :func:`whoosh.qparser.SimpleParser` or :func:`whoosh.qparser.DisMaxParser`, you can change how the parser works, get a simpler parser or change the query language syntax.

(In previous versions of Whoosh, the query parser was based on pyparsing. The new hand-written parser is less brittle and more flexible.)


Remember that you can directly create query objects programmatically using the objects in the :mod:`whoosh.query` module. If you are not processing actual user queries, this is preferable to building a query string just to parse it.

Using the default parser

To create a :class:`whoosh.qparser.QueryParser` object, pass it the name of the default field to search and the schema of the index you'll be searching.

from whoosh.qparser import QueryParser

parser = QueryParser("content", schema=myindex.schema)


You can instantiate a QueryParser object without specifying a schema, however the parser will not process the text of the user query. This is useful for debugging, when you want to see how QueryParser will build a query, but don't want to make up a schema just for testing.

Once you have a QueryParser object, you can call parse() on it to parse a query string into a query object:

>>> parser.parse(u"alpha OR beta gamma")
Or([Term("content", u"alpha"), Term("content", "beta")])

See the :doc:`query language reference <querylang>` for the features and syntax of the default parser's query language.

Common customizations

Searching for any terms instead of all terms by default

If the user doesn't explicitly specify AND or OR clauses:

physically based rendering default, the parser treats the words as if they were connected by AND, meaning all the terms must be present for a document to match:

physically AND based AND rendering

To change the parser to use OR instead, so that any of the terms may be present for a document to match, i.e.:

physically OR based OR rendering

...configure the QueryParser using the group keyword argument like this:

from whoosh import qparser

parser = qparser.QueryParser(fieldname, schema=myindex.schema,

Letting the user search multiple fields by default

The default QueryParser configuration takes terms without explicit fields and assigns them to the default field you specified when you created the object, so for example if you created the object with:

parser = QueryParser("content", schema=myschema)

And the user entered the query:

The parser would treat it as:

However, you might want to let the user search multiple fields by default. For example, you might want "unfielded" terms to search both the title and content fields.

In that case, you can use a :class:`whoosh.qparser.MultifieldParser`. This is just like the normal QueryParser, but instead of a default field name string, it takes a sequence of field names:

from whoosh.qparser import MultifieldParser

mparser = MultifieldParser(["title", "content"], schema=myschema)

When this MultifieldParser instance parses three blind mice, it treats it as:

Simplifying the query language

Once you have a parser:

parser = qparser.QueryParser("content", schema=myschema)

you can remove features from it using the :meth:`~whoosh.qparser.QueryParser.remove_plugin_class` method.

For example, to remove the ability of the user to specify fields to search:


To remove the ability to search for wildcards, which can be harmful to query performance:


See :doc:`/api/qparser` for information about the plugins included with .

Changing the AND, OR, ANDNOT, ANDMAYBE, and NOT tokens

The default parser uses English keywords for the AND, OR, ANDNOT, ANDMAYBE, and NOT functions:

parser = qparser.QueryParser("content", schema=myschema)

You can replace the default CompoundsPlugin and NotPlugin objects to replace the default English tokens with your own regular expressions.

The :class:`whoosh.qparser.CompoundsPlugin` implements the ability to use AND, OR, ANDNOT, and ANDMAYBE clauses in queries. You can instantiate a new CompoundsPlugin and use the And, Or, AndNot, and AndMaybe keyword arguments to change the token patterns:

# Use Spanish equivalents instead of AND and OR
cp = qparser.CompoundsPlugin(And=" Y ", Or=" O ")

The :class:`whoosh.qparser.NotPlugin` implements the ability to logically NOT subqueries. You can instantiate a new NotPlugin object with a different token:

np = qparser.NotPlugin("NO ")

The arguments can be pattern strings or precompiled regular expression objects.

For example, to change the default parser to use typographic symbols instead of words for the AND, OR, ANDNOT, ANDMAYBE, and NOT functions:

parser = qparser.QueryParser("content", schema=myschema)
# These are regular expressions, so we have to escape the vertical bar
cp = qparser.CompoundsPlugin(And="&", Or="\\|", AndNot="&!", AndMaybe="&~")

Adding less-than, greater-than, etc.

Normally, the way you match all terms in a field greater than "apple" is with an open ended range:

field:{apple to]

The :class:`whoosh.qparser.GtLtPlugin` lets you specify the same search like this:


The plugin lets you use >, <, >=, <=, =>, or =< after a field specifier, and translates the expression into the equivalent range:

date:>='31 march 2001'

date:[31 march 2001 to]

Advanced customization

QueryParser arguments

QueryParser supports two extra keyword arguments:


The query class to use to join sub-queries when the user doesn't explicitly specify a boolean operator, such as AND or OR. This lets you change the default operator from AND to OR.

This will be the :class:`whoosh.qparser.AndGroup` or :class:`whoosh.qparser.OrGroup` class (not an instantiated object) unless you've written your own custom grouping syntax you want to use.


The query class to use to wrap single terms.

This must be a :class:`whoosh.query.Query` subclass (not an instantiated object) that accepts a fieldname string and term text unicode string in its __init__ method. The default is :class:`whoosh.query.Term`.

This is useful if you want to change the default term class to :class:`whoosh.query.Variations`, or if you've written a custom term class you want the parser to use instead of the ones shipped with Whoosh.

>>> from whoosh.qparser import QueryParser, GroupOr
>>> orparser = QueryParser("content", schema=myschema, group=GroupOr)

Configuring plugins

The query parser's functionality is provided by a set of plugins. You can remove plugins to remove functionality, add plugins to add functionality, or replace default plugins with re-configured or rewritten versions.

The :meth:`whoosh.qparser.QueryParser.add_plugin`, :meth:`whoosh.qparser.QueryParser.remove_plugin_class`, and :meth:`whoosh.qparser.QueryParser.replace_plugin` methods let you manipulate the plugins in a QueryParser object.

See :doc:`/api/qparser` for information about the available plugins.