View as source file or XML.

Full Text Stemming


The Zorba XQuery engine implements the XQuery and XPath Full Text 1.0 specification that, among other things, adds the ability to use stemming for text-matching via the stemming option. For example, the query:
let $x := <msg>Self Improvement</msg>
return $x contains text "improve"
  using stemming
returns true because $x contains "Improvment" that has the same stem as "improve".The initial implementation of the stemming option uses the Snowball stemmers and therefore can stem words in the following languages: Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish.

Providing Your Own Stemmer

Using the Zorba C++ API, you can provide your own stemmer by deriving from two classes: Stemmer and StemmerProvider.

The Stemmer Class

The Stemmer class is:
class Stemmer {
  typedef /* implementation-defined */ ptr;

  struct Properties {
    char const *uri;

  virtual void destroy() const = 0;
  virtual void properties( Properties *result ) const = 0;
  virtual void stem( String const &word, locale::iso639_1::type lang, String *result ) const = 0;
  virtual ~Stemmer();
For details about the ptr type, the destroy() function, and why the destructor is protected, see the Memory Management document.To implement the Stemmer, you need to implement the stem() function where:
word The word to be stemmed.
lang The language of the word.
result The stemmed word goes here.
Note that result should always be set to something. If your stemmer doesn't know how to stem the given word, you should set result to word. You also need to implement the properties() function and set the identifying URI of your stemmer.A very simple stemmer that stems the word "foobar" to "foo" can be implemented as:
class MyStemmer : public Stemmer {
  void destroy() const;
  void properties( Properties *result ) const;
  void stem( String const &word, locale::iso639_1::type lang, String *result ) const;
  friend class MyStemmerProvider; // only it can create instances

void MyStemmer::destroy() const {
  // Do nothing since we statically allocate a singleton instance of our stemmer.

void MyStemmer::properties( Properties *props ) const {
  props->uri = "";

void MyStemmer::stem( String const &word, locale::iso639_1::type lang, String *result ) const {
  if ( word == "foobar" )
    *result = "foo";
    *result = word; // Don't know how to stem word: set result to word as-is.
A real stemmer would either use a stemming algorithm or a dictionary look-up to stem many words, of course. Although not used in this simple example, lang can be used to allow a single stemmer instance to stem words in more than one language.

The StemmerProvider Class

In addition to a Stemmer, you must also implement a StemmerProvider that, given a language, provides a Stemmer for that language:
class StemmerProvider {
  virtual ~StemmerProvider();
  virtual bool getStemmer( locale::iso639_1::type lang, Stemmer::ptr *s = 0 ) const = 0;
The getStemmer() function should return true only if it can provide a Stemmer for the given language; false otherwise. If the Stemmer::ptr argument is null, the caller wants to check only whether the provider can provide a stemmer for the given language and doesn't want a Stemmer instance created or returned.A simple StemmerProvider for our simple stemmer can be implemented as:
class MyStemmerProvider : public StemmerProvider {
  bool getStemmer( locale::iso639_1::type lang Stemmer::ptr *s = 0 ) const;

Stemmer::ptr MyStemmerProvider::getStemmer( locale::iso639_1::type lang ) const {
  static MyStemmer stemmer;
  Stemmer::ptr result;
  switch ( lang ) {
    case iso639_1::en:
    case iso639_1::unknown: // Handle "unknown" language since, in many cases, the language is not known.
      result.reset( &stemmer );
      return true;
      // We have no stemmer for the given language: return false.
      // Zorba will then use the built-in stemmer for the given language.
      return false;

Using Your Stemmer

To enable your stemmer to be used, you need to register it with the XmlDataManager:
void *const store = StoreManager::getStore();
Zorba *const zorba = Zorba::getInstance( store );

MyStemmerProvider provider;
zorba->getXmlDataManager()->registerStemmerProvider( &provider );