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Phraseanet Documentation

Search Engine

The essential

Phraseanet is bundled with Phrasea engine as default search engine. Phrasea allows Phraseanet Thesaurus binding to search engine results. If Phraseanet Thésaurus is not activated, SphinxSearch can be enabled. This section explains advantages of both and how they should be set.


Search Engine settings should be done after install and should not be re-adjusted.

Phrasea Engine

Phrasea search engine is composed by an indexer and a PHP Phraseanet extension. One of the biggest advantages of this engine is Phraseanet thesaurus support.

Phraseanet Indexer

The indexer indexes the content of the databases published in a Phraseanet application and allows searching into the captions of documents.

The indexer runs in background, it monitors databases to index (upcoming or shutdown of databases) and maintains “full-text”, “value” and “thesaurus” indexes.


The indexer is a command-line program, “phraseanet-indexer”.

It can be ran in command-line, scheduled (cron, scheduled task...) or via the Phraseanet “Task-Manager”.

The indexer needs those libraries:

  • libexpat
  • iconv
  • libxml2
  • zlib1
  • libmysql

After building from sources (see Windows specifics), copy the program in a directory allowing excution.

Command-line options

  • –host: adress of the database
  • –port: database port (usualy 3306 for MySQL)
  • –base: name of the “application-box” database
  • –user: SQL account for connection
  • –password: password of connection account
  • –default-character-set: charset of the connection
  • –old: mandatory option!

Those 7 previous options selects the “application-box” (SQL database of the Phraseanet program) where databases (“data-boxes”) to index are published.

  • –socket: telnet port

    When running, the indexer can be stopped with Ctrl-C (or sending sigint signal under linux or OSX). The “socket” option allows to stop the indexer via telnet.

  • –flush: flush indexes every ‘n’ records.

    To optimize speed, the indexer works on batches of records (default 50). If the amount of ram consumed is too high, this number can be decreased with the “flush” option.

  • –clng: default language for candidates terms

    When indexing fields linked the a thesaurus, new terms are set as “candidates”. The option “clng” allows to define the primary language to set for those terms.

  • –stem: index ‘stems’ (see of words which

    allows searching different forms of words, as plural or conjugation.

Available languages can be listed with option –help

searching using stems is available in Phraseanet Production / advanced search. ex. : searching “running wolf” will match records containing “wolfes run”.

  • –optfile: read options from a file

    It can be useful to not display some options from the command-line (for example the password). The indexer can read options from a file (which must be located into the same directory as the program file).

  • –quit: index and quit

    The indexer is supposed to run continuously. This option allows to index changed records and then quit.

  • –version: print version

    The “help” option will print information and default values for every option.

  • –debug:

    To be checked, the indexer can log various kind of operations (xml ops, sql...). 7 “classes” of messages can be filtered with 7 bits (mask) of the “debug” value.

A debug mask set to –debug=64 (flush ops.) allows control of indexer without overloading the logs.

  • –nolog: Write logs on console.

    Those logs are usualy sent to the system (syslog for linux or OSX, event-log for Windows). The “nolog” option allows to send messages on screen.

  • –help: print help


The indexer can be checked with “-?” option which must print the help:

phraseanet_indexer -?
phraseanet_indexer version
Usage : phraseanet_indexer <options>
[-?     | --help]                   : this help
[-v     | --version                 : display version and quit
[-h     | --host]=<addr>            : host addr. of applicationBox (default '')
[-P     | --port]=<port>            : port of applicationBox (default '3306')
[-b     | --base]=<base>            : database of applicationBox (default 'phrasea')
[-u     | --user]=<user>            : user account for connection to applicationBox
                                    : (default 'root')
[-p     | --password]=<pwd>         : password for connection to applicationBox
                                    : (default '')
[-s     | --socket]=<port>          : port for telnet control (default none)
[-f     | --flush]=<n>              : flush every n records (default 50)
[-o     | --old]                    : use old 'sbas' table instead of 'xbas'
[         --quit]                   : index once and quit
[-c     | --clng]=<lng>             : default language for new candidates terms
                                    : (default 'fr')
[         --stem]=<lng>,<lng>,..    : stemm for those languages
[-n     | --nolog]                  : do not log, but out to console
[         --sort-empty]=<a|n|z>     : default value for unset fields with type
                                    : (default 'a')  //=sort position
                           a        : beginning (default)
                           n        : none (=record not shown when sorting)
                           z        : end
[-d     | --debug]=<mask>           : debug mask (to console)
                           1        : xml parsing
                           2        : sql errors
                           4        : sql ok
                           8        : memory alloc.
                          16        : record ops.
                          32        : structure ops.
                          64        : flush ops.
[-@     | --optfile]=<file>         : read (more) arguments from text file
                                    : (see 'sample_args.txt')
[--default-character-set]=<charset> : charset of applicationBox AND dataBoxes
                                    : (default none)

/----- stemmers --------------
| danish     : da   dan
| german     : de   deu  ger
| dutch      : dut  nl   nld
| english    : en   eng
| spanish    : es   esl  spa
| finnish    : fi   fin
| french     : fr   fra  fre
| hungarian  : hu   hun
| italian    : it   ita
| norwegian  : no   nor
| portuguese : por  pt
| porter     :
| romanian   : ro   ron  rum
| russian    : ru   rus
| swedish    : sv   swe
| turkish    : tr   tur

Example of reading options from a file “indexerargs.txt”

phraseanet_indexer --debug=64 --nolog --optfile=indexerargs.txt
#  connection to application-box...
#, port, base, user, password

# socket to talk (telnet) to indexer

# use 'sbas' table (mandatory)

# sql connections encoding

# candidates default language

# stemming languages

Running with the Task-Manager

The indexder can be executed by the “Indexer” task of the Phraseanet Task-Manager. Options can then be set via the GUI of the task.

Linux and OSX specifics

After build, “sudo make install” will copy the program file into the “bin” directory (for ex. /usr/local/bin).

Windows specifics

The indexer is pre-builded for Windows.

Download the last version “”, and copy the program file into a separate directory (for ex. into “Program Files\Phraseanet-Indexer\phraseanet_indexer.exe”).


Some files (fixing bugs for older versions of Phraseanet) are available for download.

For compatibility reasons and matching versions, it’s recommended to copy the dll files of requested libraries into the directory of the program file (beside phraseanet_indexer.exe)

Those libraries can be downloaded from:

Install as service

Usualy the indexer is executed by the Phraseanet task “Indexer”. Under Windows, the indexer can also be installed as a service via 3 specific options.

--install: install the service "Phraseanet-Indexer"
--remove: uninstall the service
--run: run the indexer as a program (mandatory to run via the task)


C:\Phraseanet-Indexer\phraseanet_indexer.exe -h=localhost -P=3306 -b=ab_test
-u=phuser -p=**** --socket=25200 --default-character-set=utf8 -o -n
-d=0 --install

If the indexer is executed as a Windows service, the “indexer task” can be deleted (or not activated).

Phraseanet Extension

The Phraseanet search engine is available with the PHP extension “php_phrasea2”.


After build and install of “Phraseanet-Extension” (see linux, OSX and Windows specifics), check the requested extensions with php -m

[PHP Modules]

Restart the webserver.

Linux and OSX specifics

After build, “sudo make install” will copy the extension into directory of php extensions.

Windows specifics

The extension is pre-builded for Windows.

Download the extension matching your version of PHP (ex. “”) , get the last version using the version number (for ex. “php_phrasea2_UTF-8_1.20.1.0.dll”).

Rename the file as “php_phrasea2.dll” and copy it into the “ext” directory of PHP (usually “C:\Program Files\PHP\ext” if PHP was installed with default settings).

Activate the extension into php.ini:



In case of error ”... icu*.dll not found ...”, download the ICU library files “icu*.dll” requested by the extension “php_intl”, and copy the various files into the main directory of PHP.

Sphinx-Search Engine

SphinxSearch engine is a third party technology that you have to install. Phraseanet requires SphinxSearch Engine 2.0.6 or higher.


Main SphinxSearch advantages are:

  • speed
  • scalability
  • supports autocompletion

Configuration inside Phraseanet

After having installed SphinxSearch, Phraseanet must be configured to use it. Phraseanet admin provides a tool to generate SphinxSearch configuration.

To do this, please consult the documentation for Search Engine service.


Please note that the generated configuration is a complete SphinxSearch configuration. If SphinxSearch is shared with other applications, server section at the end of the configuration should be removed.

This file can be used with SphinxSearch server (/usr/local/etc/sphinx.conf). Restart SphinxSearch to apply configuration. In case of failure, please find SphinxSearch documentation.

Please also consider the following FAQ:


Propositions have to be generated to have the benefit of autocompletion. Use the command to do so: