Several years ago, the Advanced Database Crawler and Searcher made it much easier to work with Sitecore's Lucene indexes. It made a similified way to create custom indexes and query those indexes. It included a helpful tool to rebuild those indexes on content delivery instances if needed. The Sitecore Support Toolbox additionally had a tool to rebuild indexes.

Otherwise an index needed to be rebuilt programmatically, a developer could simply call the following:

Sitecore.Search.SearchManager.GetIndex("custom_index").Rebuild();

Of course, rebuilding was relatively pretty simple with Sitecore's API for version 6.x.

Since then, Sitecore 7 brought more robust featues for managing Lucene indexes. and changed the way a developer interacts with these indexes.

Sitecore 7 API Changes

To access an index in Sitecore 6.x, a developer would do the following:

var index = Sitecore.Search.SearchManager.GetIndex("custom_index");

In Sitecore 7.x, the Sitecore API has introduced a Sitecore.ContentSearch namespace and within that is defined a manager called ContentSearchManager. Getting access to the index is still as easy as it was in Sitecore 6.x:

var index = Sitecore.ContentSearch.ContentSearchManager.GetIndex("custom_index");

Rebuild an Index

The above example is with a custom index if one was defined. With Sitecore 7, it may not be necessary to define a custom index as Sitecore already maintains three indexes:

  • index_master
  • index_web
  • index_core

To access one of these indexes, a developer could do the following:

var masterIndex = Sitecore.ContentSearch.ContentSearchManager.GetIndex("index_master");

If the index needed to be rebuilt, it could be done with:

masterIndex.Rebuild();

Though, this procedure takes a long time so the client may give up before it receives a confirmation that the index has been rebuilt. The recommendation would be to wrap this call with a Sitecore Job.

Sitecore Job

To setup a job for Sitecore, we'll create a service class that will be responsible for setting up the job and starting. It may be benefical to add some logging as an index may take some time to complete. A developer could go as far as creating a view into what jobs are running or queued with Sitecore if necessary. But the logs should be sufficient.

First step is to create the interface and class:

using Sitecore.ContentSearch;
using Sitecore.Jobs;

public interface IJobService() 
{
  JobStatus Start();
  void Rebuild(ISearchIndex index);
}

We will add two methods. One to start to setup and start the job and the other to start the rebuild of the index.

using Sitecore.ContentSearch;
using Sitecore.Jobs;

public class JobService : IJobService
{
  public JobStatus Start() 
  {
    ...
  }
  
  public void Rebuild(ISearchIndex index) 
  {
    ...
  }
}

The second step is to complete the logic to setup and start the job:

public JobStatus Start() 
{
  var indexWeb = Sitecore.ContentSearch.ContentSearchManager.GetIndex("index_web");
  var options = JobOptions("Rebuild Web Index", 
    "Indexing", 
    Sitecore.Context.Site.Name, 
    this, 
    "Rebuild", 
    new object[] { indexWeb });
    
  var job = JobManager.Start(options);
  return job.Status;
}

The JobOptions object requires the constructor to provide these parameters:

  • Job Name
  • Category
  • Site Name
  • Instance of object (that contains the method to call)
  • Method name (that will execute for the job)
  • Any passing parameters (in this case we are passing the index to be rebuilt)

Finally, we need to complete the Rebuild method:

public void Rebuild(ISearchIndex index) 
{
  var job = JobManager.GetJob("Rebuild Web Index");
  job.Status.State = JobState.Running;
  index.Rebuild();
  job.Status.Processed += 1L;
  job.Status.State = JobState.Finished;
}

Job status is updated so any job viewer can see its status and Sitecore knows when it is done.

Much of what is needed to rebuild an index in a job is ready. What is probably left is handling pre-conditions and/or post-conditions with these methods and allow this logic to be called from a ASP.NET Web Form, MVC route, subscribe to a Sitecore event, or create a Sitecore scheduled task.

However you wish to use it, enjoy!