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Sphinx index format
====================
WARNING. This document is just an internal note. It might or might not be
in sync with the actual code. Use it as an overview; refer to the source
for precise details.
General
--------
Sphinx index consists of the following files:
.sph, header file
.spi, dictionary (aka wordlist)
.spd, document lists (aka doclists)
.spp, keyword positions lists (aka hitlists)
.spa, attribute values
.spm, MVA values
.spk, kill list (aka klist)
Also, indexer and searchd utilize a dummy .spl file to establish locks
on the whole index.
Compression
------------
Values that Sphinx internally stores can frequently be compressed well.
For instance, an ascending sequence of document IDs can clearly be stored
much more efficiently than at 4 or 8 bytes per ID.
Two techniques we currently use are delta encoding, and variable length
byte string (or VLB) compression.
Delta encoding is used when the sequence of the values to store is
monotonically non-decreasing. Each value is replaced with its difference
(delta) from the previous value. Example:
source-sequence = 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, ...
delta-encoded = 3, 2, 2, 4, 2, 4, ...
The resulting deltas are smaller, and compress more efficiently.
Lists of deltas are 0-terminated. So zero is a magic value, that marks
the end of the encoded sequence.
VLB compression encodes a fixed-length (32-bit or 64-bit) integer value
to a variable-length byte string, depending on the value. 7 lower bits
of every byte contain next 7 low bits of the compressed value; and 8-th bit
signals whether the are more bytes following. Note that high bits come first!
Hence, values that take 7 bits (0 to 127, inclusive) are stored using 1 byte,
values that fit in 14 bits (128 to 16383) are stored using 2 bytes, etc.
Examples:
source-value = 0x37
encoded-value = 0x37
source-value = 0x12345
encoded-value = 0x84 0xC6 0x45
// 0x84 == ( ( 0x12345>>14 ) & 0x7F ) | 0x80
// 0xC6 == ( ( 0x12345>>7 ) & 0x7F ) | 0x80
// 0x45 == ( ( 0x12345>>0 ) & 0x7F )
For VLB implementation, refer to ZipInt() and UnzipInt() functions.
Header
-------
Header file (.sph) always contains index format version, index schema,
index statistics, and misc other settings.
Starting from 0.9.9, header now also contains the *complete* dictionary
and tokenizer settings, except the external files contents. This was not
the case in 0.9.8 and below, where these settings were always taken from
config file, and thus could easily go out of sync.
There are certain settings (stopwords, wordforms) that refer to external
files that are possibly (even likely) shared between different indexes.
For these, header in 0.9.9 stores the file name, modification time,
and CRC32, but not the file contents.
For specific data layout, refer to LoadHeader(), WriteHeader(), and
DumpHeader() methods.
Dictionary
-----------
Dictionary file (.spi) lets us quickly map keywords to document lists.
All keywords are internally replaced with their IDs, either CRC32 or FNV64
(depending on --enable-id64 configure time setting). Dictionary essentially
is a huge list of per-keyword entries, sorted by keyword ID. (See the entry
format below.)
wordid-type and offset-type might vary (ie. be either 32-bit or 64-bit)
depending on compile-time settings.
To avoid zero offsets into dictionary (zero is a magic value), a dummy byte
is written at the very start of the file.
To save space, these entries are stored in a compressed form. All fields
are VLB compressed. Additionally, keyword-id and doclist-offset fields
(that are guaranteed to grow) are delta-encoded before compression.
To speedup lookups by an arbitrary keyword ID, delta encoding is restarted
after every WORDLIST_CHECKPOINT entries. Zero delta marker, ie. a single
value of 0 for delta (without any additional data) is injected into
the stream at the point of every such checkpoint.
Locations (offsets) and starting keyword IDs of these checkpoints are
accumulated in RAM during indexing, and then written to disk at the end
of the dictionary file.
Almost all of dictionary writing happens in cidxHit() method.
dict=crc format, v.31
----------------------
byte dummy = 0x01
keyword[] keyword_blocks
keyword is:
zint wordid_delta
zint doclist_offset_delta
if wordid_delta == 0:
return block_end
zint num_docs
zint num_hits
if ver >= 31 and num_docs > SKIPLIST_BLOCK:
zint skiplist_pos
zint skiplist_len
checkpoint[] checkpoints
checkpoint is:
qword wordid
qword dict_offset
dict=keywords format, v.31
---------------------------
byte dummy = 0x01
keyword[] keyword_blocks
keyword is:
byte keyword_editcode
byte[] keyword_delta
if keyword_editcode == 0:
assert keyword_delta = { 0 }
return block_end
zint doclist_offset
zint num_docs
zint num_hits
if num_docs >= DOCLIST_HINT_THRESH:
byte doclist_sizehint
if ver >= 31 and num_docs > SKIPLIST_BLOCK:
zint skiplist_pos
zint skiplist_len
if min_infix_len > 0:
tag "infix-entries"
infix_entry[] infix_hash_entries
checkpoint[] checkpoints
checkpoint is:
dword keyword_len
byte[] keyword [ keyword_len ]
qword dict_offset
if min_infix_len > 0:
tag "infix-blocks"
infix_block[] infix_hash_blocks
tag "dict-header"
zint num_checkpoints
zint checkpoints_offset
zint infix_codepoint_bytes
zint infix_blocks_offset
Document lists
---------------
For every indexed keyword, a list of all matching document IDs is stored
in document lists file (.spd).
By construction, document lists are laid out in ascending keyword ID order.
However, this is just a side effect, and not really a requirement.
The entry format is as follows:
doclist-entry =
document-id : docid-type, delta-encoded
[ inline-attrs ]
hitlist-offset : offset-type, delta-encoded
fields-mask : int32
hits-count : int32
Note that delta encoding of document IDs starts not from 0 but from
infinum (decremented minimum) document ID stored in the header file.
For instance, if indexed documents IDs were 3, 5, 11 then minimum ID
will be 3, infinum ID stored in the header will be 2, and doclist
decoder will be initialized with that value. Thus, for instance,
if the very first delta value is 3, decoded doclist will start
with document ID of 2+3=5, not 0+3=3.
inline-attrs component is optional, its presence depends on docinfo setting.
For indexes built with docinfo=extern (the default value), there's no such
component. When docinfo=inline, it carries all the attribute values:
inline-attrs =
attr-rowitems : rowitem-type[], delta-encoded
hitlist-offset points to a location in hit list file (see below) where
the list of current keyword's occurences in current document is stored.
fields-mask is a bit mask. Bit number N is set when there were keyword
occurences in field number N; cleared otherwise. We precompute this mask
based on hitlist data and store it in doclist to accelerate certain
early rejection tests when searching.
hits-count is just a total number of keyword occurrences within the current
document, or term frequency (TF). It's precomputed from hitlist data too,
also for performance reasons.
To avoid zero offsets into document lists (zero is a magic value),
a dummy byte is written at the very start of the file.
Document lists are terminated by zero delta marker. Ie. when reading next
document-id delta returns 0, it means there's no more data in this doclist.
To save space, these entries are stored in a compressed form. All fields
are VLB compressed. Additionally, document-id and hitlist-offset fields
(that are guaranteed to grow) are delta-encoded before compression.
All of doclist writing happens in cidxHit() method.
Hit lists
----------
In Sphinx terms, hits are specific occurrences of a keyword at a given
position within the document. When a keyword "hello" occurs 5 times
in the document you index, that will result in 5 hits in that document.
Hit lists file (.spp) stores all such in-document keyword positions,
for every given document and keyword.
These positions are used by certain search operators, such as phrase or
proximity operator, to determine whether the document matches. They may
also be used by the relevance ranking code to compute phrase proximity,
if chosen ranker takes that factor into account.
By construction, hit lists are laid out in ascending keyword ID order.
However, this is just a side effect, and not really a requirement.
The entry format is as follows:
hitlist-entry =
word-position : int32, delta-encoded
word-position integer has the following bit fields:
struct word-position
{
int field_id : 8; // bits 25-21
int is_last : 1; // bit 24
int word_position_in_field : 23; // bits 0-23
};
is_last indicates that this hit was the very last (!) hit in this field.
This flag is required for "keyword$" searches (ie. with field end marker).
Positions are counted in words, *not* bytes. Positions start from 1.
Full-text field IDs start from 0. So, for example, when you index
the following 2-field document:
title = woodchuck chuck
content = just how many wood would a woodchuck chuck,
if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
Then the resulting hitlist for "chuck" is going to be:
raw-word-positions = 2, 16777224, 16777229
Because it occurs 3 times: in field number 0 position number 2,
and in field number 1 positions 8 and 13. And (1<<24) is 16777216.
For the sake of completeness, after delta encoding and adding
a trailing zero (end marker) this hitlist would transform to
the following sequence of integers:
uncompressed-hitlist = 2, 16777222, 5, 0
And after VLB compression, the final byte stream would be:
compressed-hitlist-bytes = 0x02, 0x88, 0x80, 0x80, 0x06, 0x05, 0x00
To avoid zero offsets into hitlists (zero is a magic value),
a dummy byte is written at the very start of the file.
Hitlists are terminated by zero delta marker. Ie. when reading next
word-id delta returns 0, it means there's no more data in this hitlist.
Note that we don't keep anything but the positions themselves here.
That's because keyword and document IDs are already known by the time
we read from hitlist, from the reffering dictionary and doclist
entries.
All of hitlist writing happens in cidxHit() method.
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