RDF in Solr: HowTo

RDF in Solr: HowTo

The Solr built-in UpdateRequestHandler supports several formats of input data. It delegates the actual data loading to a specific ContentStreamLoader, depending on the content type of the incoming request (i.e., the Content-type header of the HTTP request). Currently, these are the available content types declared in the UpdateRequestHandler class:

  • application/xml or text/xml
  • application/json or text/json
  • application/csv or text/csv
  • application/javabin


So, a client has several options to send its data to Solr; all that it needs is to prepare those data in a specific format and call the UpdateRequestHandler (usually located at /update endpoint), specifying the corresponding content type.

					> curl http://localhost:8080/solr/update \
  -H "Content-Type: text/json" \
  --data-binary @/home/agazzarini/data.json


The UpdateRequestHandler can be extended, customized, and replaced, so we can write our own UpdateRequestHandler that accepts a custom format, adding a new content type or overriding the default set of supported content types.

In this brief post, I will describe how to use Jena to load RDF data in Solr in any format supported by Jena IO API.
This is a quick and easy task mainly because:

  • the UpdateRequestHandler already has the logic to index data
  • the UpdateRequestHandler can be easily extended
  • Jena already provides all the parsers we need

So doing that is just a matter of subclassing UpdateRequestHandler to override the content type registry:

					public class RdfDataUpdateRequestHandler extends UpdateRequestHandler
    protected Map createDefaultLoaders(NamedList parameters) {
           final Map<String, ContentStreamLoader> registry 
                      = new HashMap<String, ContentStreamLoader>();
           final ContentStreamLoader loader = new RdfDataLoader();
           for (final Lang language : RDFLanguages.getRegisteredLanguages()) {
                  registry.put(language.getContentType().toHeaderString(), loader);
           return registry;
As you can see, the registry is a simple Map that associates a content type (e.g., “application/xml”) with an instance of ContentStreamLoader. For our example, since the different content types will always map to RDF data, we create an instance of a dedicated ContentStreamLoader (RdfDataLoader) once; that instance will be associated with all built-in content types in Jena. That means each time an incoming request will have a content type like

  • text/turtle
  • application/turtle
  • application/x-turtle
  • application/rdf+xml
  • application/rdf+json
  • application/ld+json
  • text/plain (for n-triple)
  • application/n-triples
  • (others)

Our RdfDataLoader will be in charge of parsing and load the data. Note that the above list is not exhaustive; there are a lot of other content types registered in Jena (See the RDFLanguages class).

So, what about the format of the data? Of course, it still depends on the content type of your RDF data, and most important, it has nothing to do with the data we used to send to Solr (i.e., SolrInputDocuments serialized in some format).

The RdfDataLoader is a subclass of ContentStreamLoader:

					public class RdfDataLoader extends ContentStreamLoader {


    public void load()
                final SolrQueryRequest request,
                final SolrQueryResponse response,
                final ContentStream stream,
                final UpdateRequestProcessor processor) throws Exception {
            final PipedRDFIterator<Triple> iterator = new PipedRDFIterator<Triple>();
            final PipedRDFStream<Triple> inputStream  = new PipedTriplesStream(iterator);    
            // We use an executor for running the parser in a separate thread
            final ExecutorService executor = Executors.newSingleThreadExecutor();
            final Runnable parser = new Runnable() {
                  public void run() {
                       try {
                       } catch (final IOException exception) {
            while (iterator.hasNext()) {
              final Triple triple = iterator.next();
                // create and populate the Solr input document
                final SolrInputDocument document = new SolrInputDocument();
                 // create the update command
                final AddUpdateCommand command  = new AddUpdateCommand(request);
                // populate it with the input document we just created
                command.solrDoc = document;
                // add the document to index


That’s all! Once the request handler has been registered in Solr we can send RDF data to Solr using a command like this:

					> curl http://localhost:8080/solr/update \
  -H "Content-Type: text/json" \
  --data-binary @/home/agazzarini/data.json


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