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Lucene Revolution Day 1: Searching for the Value of Certification #lucenerev

3 minute read
Josette Rigsby avatar

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Day one of Lucid Imagination’s (news,site) 2011 Lucene Revolution has concluded. Lucene Revolution is the onlyconference dedicated to the popular Apache Lucene/Solr projects. This is thesecond year the conference takes place in the U.S., and interest in attendingthe open-source enterprise search fest continues to grow -- like the data itinterrogates.

More Sessions, More People, DefinitelyMore Data

Lucene Revolution 2011 is occurring May 25-26 in SanFrancisco and was preceded by two days of intensive training on four topics:

Last year's Lucene Revolution 2010 event, held in Boston, attracted a respectable 300 attendees. The 2011conference, however, has won bragging rights. Lucene Revolution 2011 is sold out and increased attendance by 150 participants.

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Lucene Revolution 2011 attendees -- a packed room

The conference is an opportunity for Lucene adopters tonetwork, ask questions, learn new techniques and benefit from the real-worldchallenges that other attendees have encountered. Lucid Imagination hasproduced a conference filled with content. Day one included four unnamedtracks, 16 sessions, two keynotes, a techie game “Stump the Chump” and sevenminute lightning talks on various Lucene and Solr topics. I wonder if the other conference attendeesare now fast asleep, preparing for an equally busy day tomorrow that kicks offaround 8:45am with another keynote.

Lucene Revolution Conference 2011

Benchmarking Lucene/Solr Expertise

However, a few may be studying for the new Lucene/Solr certification, which Lucid Imagination is offering free on-site during the conference. This is definitely a win for testers that fancy saving $250.00. I decided to do some “guerilla” interviews of conference attendees to determine who plans to take the test and why or why not.

Surprisingly, in spite of my always awesome personality and the interview having a single question, several people declined to be interviewed on camera. A few brave souls, however, broke the mold and shared their thoughts.

Learning Opportunities

The two- to three-hour exam is the first certification targeted at ApacheLucene/Solr developers. Given the rapid proliferation of resources offeringLucene/Solr services, it was only a matter of time before the market demandedsome standardized benchmark of Solr knowledge, skills and experience. According to Peter Tait, VPof Marketing for Lucid Imagination, “The test is hard. We wanted to demonstratereal knowledge and not be a walk in the park.”

Grant Ingersoll,Chair of the Apache Lucene PMC,co-founder of the Apache Mahout project, and, last but not least, co-founder ofLucid Imagination, agreed with Tait’s assessment.


The majority of people I spoke with held similar views; ingeneral, they believe:

  • The exam is hard
  • Merely studying for the exam has value as a learningtool
  • The certification will help the open sourcecommunity mature
  • The certification is a valid measure ofLucene/Solr competency

Perhaps there’s a little bias. I am at a Lucene conference.However, I haven’t heard one person anywhere say that this certification is arubber-stamp for developers. It might just be worth your time if you are one ofthe many embarking on the world of search or big data analysis.