Jens Krämer

Raise your hand please if you're using Ferret

 |  ferret, ruby, rails

Working on acts_as_ferret for more than one and a half year now, I’m really interested in why and how people are using it in their applications. Also, a list of Ferret-powered projects will be a good starting point for people who are still looking for a search solution for their Rails app.

So if you’re using Ferret, please drop me a line, comment here, or even add your application to the Powered by Ferret page over at the Ferret project’s Trac. Ideally you would also post some facts like index size, your production environment or even performance numbers. Personally I’d also like to know if you’re using acts_as_ferret, or, if that’s not the case, why you decided to go with pure Ferret.

I’ll also mention some sites that make use of Ferret in my talk at Railsconf Europe next week. So if you’re looking for some publicity, what are you waiting for?


Jonathan Weiss

We are using acts_as_ferret pretty much since its release for our Knowledge Management product Peritor Minea at

Many thanks for acts_as_ferret!

Paul Keeble

Well I was using it until I came across your wonderful link to the Drb problem. I still don't understand why the same behaviour as lucene isn't there, especially considering the development model Rails has. So we no longer use ferret, I ripped it out in disgust.


Paul, sorry aaf didn't work for you. As I already wrote in my comment on your Blog post, I would have been happy to help you getting your problems solved, if you had written about them i.e. on the Ferret mailing list, before ripping it out. Anyway, thanks for your feedback, I'll think about it to make aaf even more easy to use.

Paul Keeble

Don't get me wrong aaf is a great idea, and functionally its as simple as making cheese on toast and for it you end up with a gourmet meal. But the Drb server is the dark little secret which makes it not as easy as it first appears and its definitely breaking the DRY principle with the remote => true in every model.

Its probably worth explaining my flash of anger you understand why this irked me so much. The problem us "Java developers" are told is that underneith all of Rails' simple facade is a heart of black just like in Java. Although functionally it might be simple the non functionals (scalability, reliability and performance) come back to bite you. It was FUD when it was originally written, or so I thought. But every "super" plugin I've tried to use has had a real fundemental flaw that just made it unuseable.

Rails as a system in production is designed to run with multiple processes. It has to because it is single threaded right the way through. Every plugin should assume that same environment, to keep things consistent. You may disagree as a hardened ruby + rails user but for the new comer this just seems obvious. aaf/Ferret just doesn't behave in that way and that is what annoyed me. It is the point of my blog however, to determine if software is all pain or whether there's pleasure involved, and I found the pain in aaf and shared it.

I will contribute a set of changes I would like to see in the mail list and we'll go from there because its very promising as a technology, but it needs to be "done right".

Stuart Sierra

I've got a 4.3 GB index running at, an experimental legal research site. I like that Ferret is really fast and that acts_as_ferret makes it so easy to integrate with Rails. Great work all around.

My only complaints have been with Ferret's stability and the need to rebuild the index whenever the version changes. I've hacked acts_as_ferret to let me build the index with multiple processes in parallel, but it still takes over 24 hours.


I'm using acts as ferret on the biggest digg-like persian website, using a custom regexp analyzer (to index persian words). currently indexing around 140,000 links submitted since 1 year ago, with over 120000 pageviews a day and 40 queries/sec. It works great. thanks Jens.