zebrasrv - Zebra Server
zebrasrv [-install] [-installa] [-remove] [-a file] [-v level] [-l file] [-u uid] [-c config] [-f vconfig] [-C fname] [-t minutes] [-k kilobytes] [-d daemon] [-w dir] [-p pidfile] [-ziDST1] [listener-spec...]
Zebra is a high-performance, general-purpose structured text indexing and retrieval engine. It reads structured records in a variety of input formats (e.g. email, XML, MARC) and allows access to them through exact boolean search expressions and relevance-ranked free-text queries.
zebrasrv is the Z39.50 and SRU frontend server for the Zebra search engine and indexer.
On Unix you can run the zebrasrv server from the command line - and put it in the background. It may also operate under the inet daemon. On WIN32 you can run the server as a console application or as a WIN32 Service.
The options for zebrasrv are the same as those for YAZ' yaz-ztest. Option -c specifies a Zebra configuration file - if omitted zebra.cfg is read.
A listener-address consists of an optional transport mode followed by a colon (:) followed by a listener address. The transport mode is either a file system socket unix, a SSL TCP/IP socket ssl, or a plain TCP/IP socket tcp (default).
For TCP, an address has the form
hostname | IP-number [: portnumber]
The port number defaults to 210 (standard Z39.50 port) for privileged users (root), and 9999 for normal users. The special hostname "@" is mapped to the address INADDR_ANY, which causes the server to listen on any local interface.
The default behavior for zebrasrv - if started as non-privileged user - is to establish a single TCP/IP listener, for the Z39.50 protocol, on port 9999.
To start the server listening on the registered port for Z39.50, or on a filesystem socket, and to drop root privileges once the ports are bound, execute the server like this from a root shell:
zebrasrv -u daemon @
zebrasrv -u daemon tcp:@:210
zebrasrv -u daemon unix:/some/file/system/socket
Here daemon is an existing user account, and the unix socket /some/file/system/socket is readable and writable for the daemon account.
Z39.50 PROTOCOL SUPPORT AND BEHAVIOR¶
During initialization, the server will negotiate to version 3 of the Z39.50 protocol, and the option bits for Search, Present, Scan, NamedResultSets, and concurrentOperations will be set, if requested by the client. The maximum PDU size is negotiated down to a maximum of 1 MB by default.
The supported query type are 1 and 101. All operators are currently supported with the restriction that only proximity units of type "word" are supported for the proximity operator. Queries can be arbitrarily complex. Named result sets are supported, and result sets can be used as operands without limitations. Searches may span multiple databases.
The server has full support for piggy-backed retrieval (see also the following section).
The present facility is supported in a standard fashion. The requested record syntax is matched against the ones supported by the profile of each record retrieved. If no record syntax is given, SUTRS is the default. The requested element set name, again, is matched against any provided by the relevant record profiles.
The attribute combinations provided with the termListAndStartPoint are processed in the same way as operands in a query (see above). Currently, only the term and the globalOccurrences are returned with the termInfo structure.
Z39.50 specifies three different types of sort criteria. Of these Zebra supports the attribute specification type in which case the use attribute specifies the "Sort register". Sort registers are created for those fields that are of type "sort" in the default.idx file. The corresponding character mapping file in default.idx specifies the ordinal of each character used in the actual sort.
Z39.50 allows the client to specify sorting on one or more input result sets and one output result set. Zebra supports sorting on one result set only which may or may not be the same as the output result set.
If a Close PDU is received, the server will respond with a Close PDU with reason=FINISHED, no matter which protocol version was negotiated during initialization. If the protocol version is 3 or more, the server will generate a Close PDU under certain circumstances, including a session timeout (60 minutes by default), and certain kinds of protocol errors. Once a Close PDU has been sent, the protocol association is considered broken, and the transport connection will be closed immediately upon receipt of further data, or following a short timeout.
Zebra maintains a "classic" Z39.50 Explain database on the side. This database is called IR-Explain-1 and can be searched using the attribute set exp-1.
The records in the explain database are of type grs.sgml. The root element for the Explain grs.sgml records is explain, thus explain.abs is used for indexing.
Zebra must be able to locate explain.abs in order to index the Explain records properly. Zebra will work without it but the information will not be searchable.
THE SRU SERVER¶
In addition to Z39.50, Zebra supports the more recent and web-friendly IR protocol SRU. SRU can be carried over SOAP or a REST-like protocol that uses HTTP GET or POST to request search responses. The request itself is made of parameters such as query, startRecord, maximumRecords and recordSchema; the response is an XML document containing hit-count, result-set records, diagnostics, etc. SRU can be thought of as a re-casting of Z39.50 semantics in web-friendly terms; or as a standardisation of the ad-hoc query parameters used by search engines such as Google and AltaVista; or as a superset of A9's OpenSearch (which it predates).
Zebra supports Z39.50, SRU GET, SRU POST, SRU SOAP (SRW) - on the same port, recognising what protocol is used by each incoming requests and handling them accordingly. This is a achieved through the use of Deep Magic; civilians are warned not to stand too close.
Running zebrasrv as an SRU Server¶
Because Zebra supports all protocols on one port, it would seem to follow that the SRU server is run in the same way as the Z39.50 server, as described above. This is true, but only in an uninterestingly vacuous way: a Zebra server run in this manner will indeed recognise and accept SRU requests; but since it doesn't know how to handle the CQL queries that these protocols use, all it can do is send failure responses.
It is possible to cheat, by having SRU search Zebra with a PQF query instead of CQL, using the x-pquery parameter instead of query. This is a non-standard extension of CQL, and a very naughty thing to do, but it does give you a way to see Zebra serving SRU ``right out of the box''. If you start your favourite Zebra server in the usual way, on port 9999, then you can send your web browser to:
This will display the XML-formatted SRU response that includes the first record in the result-set found by the query mineral. (For clarity, the SRU URL is shown here broken across lines, but the lines should be joined together to make single-line URL for the browser to submit.)
In order to turn on Zebra's support for CQL queries, it's necessary to have the YAZ generic front-end (which Zebra uses) translate them into the Z39.50 Type-1 query format that is used internally. And to do this, the generic front-end's own configuration file must be used. See the section called “YAZ SERVER VIRTUAL HOSTS”; the salient point for SRU support is that zebrasrv must be started with the -f frontendConfigFile option rather than the -c zebraConfigFile option, and that the front-end configuration file must include both a reference to the Zebra configuration file and the CQL-to-PQF translator configuration file.
A minimal front-end configuration file that does this would read as follows:
The <config> element contains the name of the Zebra configuration file that was previously specified by the -c command-line argument, and the <cql2rpn> element contains the name of the CQL properties file specifying how various CQL indexes, relations, etc. are translated into Type-1 queries.
A zebra server running with such a configuration can then be queried using proper, conformant SRU URLs with CQL queries:
&query=title=utah and description=epicent*
SRU PROTOCOL SUPPORT AND BEHAVIOR¶
Zebra running as an SRU server supports SRU version 1.1, including CQL version 1.1. In particular, it provides support for the following elements of the protocol.
SRU Search and Retrieval¶
Zebra supports the searchRetrieve operation.
One of the great strengths of SRU is that it mandates a standard query language, CQL, and that all conforming implementations can therefore be trusted to correctly interpret the same queries. It is with some shame, then, that we admit that Zebra also supports an additional query language, our own Prefix Query Format (PQF). A PQF query is submitted by using the extension parameter x-pquery, in which case the query parameter must be omitted, which makes the request not valid SRU. Please feel free to use this facility within your own applications; but be aware that it is not only non-standard SRU but not even syntactically valid, since it omits the mandatory query parameter.
Zebra supports scan operation. Scanning using CQL syntax is the default, where the standard scanClause parameter is used.
In addition, a mutant form of SRU scan is supported, using the non-standard x-pScanClause parameter in place of the standard scanClause to scan on a PQF query clause.
Zebra supports explain.
The ZeeRex record explaining a database may be requested either with a fully fledged SRU request (with operation=explain and version-number specified) or with a simple HTTP GET at the server's basename. The ZeeRex record returned in response is the one embedded in the YAZ Frontend Server configuration file that is described in the the section called “YAZ SERVER VIRTUAL HOSTS”.
Unfortunately, the data found in the CQL-to-PQF text file must be added by hand-craft into the explain section of the YAZ Frontend Server configuration file to be able to provide a suitable explain record. Too bad, but this is all extreme new alpha stuff, and a lot of work has yet to be done ..
There is no linkage whatsoever between the Z39.50 explain model and the SRU explain response (well, at least not implemented in Zebra, that is ..). Zebra does not provide a means using Z39.50 to obtain the ZeeRex record.
Other SRU operations¶
In the Z39.50 protocol, Initialization, Present, Sort and Close are separate operations. In SRU, however, these operations do not exist.
It can be seen, then, that while Zebra operating as an SRU server does not provide the same set of operations as when operating as a Z39.50 server, it does provide equivalent functionality.
Surf into http://localhost:9999 to get an explain response, or use
See number of hits for a query
Fetch record 5-7 in Dublin Core format
Even search using PQF queries using the extended naughty parameter x-pquery
Or scan indexes using the extended extremely naughty parameter x-pScanClause
Don't do this in production code! But it's a great fast debugging aid.
YAZ SERVER VIRTUAL HOSTS¶
The Virtual hosts mechanism allows a YAZ frontend server to support multiple backends. A backend is selected on the basis of the TCP/IP binding (port+listening address) and/or the virtual host.
A backend can be configured to execute in a particular working directory. Or the YAZ frontend may perform CQL to RPN conversion, thus allowing traditional Z39.50 backends to be offered as a SRU service. SRU Explain information for a particular backend may also be specified.
For the HTTP protocol, the virtual host is specified in the Host header. For the Z39.50 protocol, the virtual host is specified as in the Initialize Request in the OtherInfo, OID 1.2.840.10003.10.1000.81.1.
Not all Z39.50 clients allows the VHOST information to be set. For those the selection of the backend must rely on the TCP/IP information alone (port and address).
The YAZ frontend server uses XML to describe the backend configurations. Command-line option -f specifies filename of the XML configuration.
The configuration uses the root element yazgfs. This element includes a list of listen elements, followed by one or more server elements.
The listen describes listener (transport end point), such as TCP/IP, Unix file socket or SSL server. Content for a listener:
attribute id (optional)
We expect more information to be added for the listen section in a future version, such as CERT file for SSL servers.
The server describes a server and the parameters for this server type. Content for a server:
attribute id (optional)
attribute listenref (optional)
element config (optional)
element directory (optional)
element host (optional)
element cql2rpn (optional)
element explain (optional)
The format of the Explain record is described in detail, with examples, on the file at the ZeeRex web-site.
The XML below configures a server that accepts connections from two ports, TCP/IP port 9900 and a local UNIX file socket. We name the TCP/IP server public and the other server internal.
<server id="server3" listenref="internal">
There are three configured backend servers. The first two servers, "server1" and "server2", can be reached by both listener addresses - since no listenref attribute is specified. In order to distinguish between the two a virtual host has been specified for each of server in the host elements.
For "server2" elements for CQL to RPN conversion is supported and explain information has been added (a short one here to keep the example small).
The third server, "server3" can only be reached via listener "internal".
- Z39.50 Explain
- CQL sorting