Category: Software Development

Adding search functionality to a site can be deceptively complex. There's a lot more than just basic string matching that goes into a decent search function -- e.g. fuzziness, stemming, synonyms, etc. Luckily, there are several software services available that provide a lot of functionality out-of-the-box. I'm currently a fan of Elasticsearch for its ease of use and feature-set.

Elasticsearch provides two .NET clients: both a low-level .NET client,, as well as their high-level client, NEST. This post is about using NEST with ASP.NET Core.

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This seems to be a difficult solution to search for at the moment. The MongoDB .NET driver documentation links to the unit test files on GitHub for examples on aggregation related items, but the links are broken. Looking at the repos on GitHub is useful to find the actual tests, but for the specific problem I was trying to solve, it wasn't entirely helpful.

Basically what I was trying to do would be relatively easy with SQL -- a SELECT DISTINCT from a table/collection based on multiple fields. I really just wanted to get the unique combinations of several fields at the database layer without having to retrieve all the documents from the collection, and then figuring out which were distinct.

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Many who've written a .NET application which calls a web service have had to deal with service calls passing through a proxy server. In the past, after generating the service client from WSDL, I’d set up a WebProxy (possibly with NetworkCredential) — which really isn’t all that bad, but somewhat annoying. Now, more ideally, the service calls are via svcutil generated WCF clients. However, handling proxies programmatically in WCF is more difficult since you can’t deal with a nice WebProxy object. You can set credentials via ChannelFactory.Credentials, but this has a drawback — your credentials need to be the same for the proxy and server authentication if they both use the same authentication scheme. The programmatic approach has always struck me as unnatural.

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