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Whoosh is a fast, featureful full-text indexing and searching library implemented in pure Python.

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About Whoosh

Whoosh is a fast, featureful full-text indexing and searching library implemented in pure Python. Programmers can use it to easily add search functionality to their applications and websites. Every part of how Whoosh works can be extended or replaced to meet your needs exactly.

Some of Whoosh's features include:

  • Pythonic API.
  • Pure-Python. No compilation or binary packages needed, no mysterious crashes.
  • Fielded indexing and search.
  • Fast indexing and retrieval -- faster than any other pure-Python, scoring, full-text search solution I know of.
  • Pluggable scoring algorithm (including BM25F), text analysis, storage, posting format, etc.
  • Powerful query language.
  • Pure Python spell-checker (as far as I know, the only one).

Whoosh might be useful in the following circumstances:

  • Anywhere a pure-Python solution is desirable to avoid having to build/compile native libraries (or force users to build/compile them).
  • As a research platform (at least for programmers that find Python easier to read and work with than Java ;)
  • When an easy-to-use Pythonic interface is more important to you than raw speed.

Whoosh was created and is maintained by Matt Chaput. It was originally created for use in the online help system of Side Effects Software's 3D animation software Houdini. Side Effects Software Inc. graciously agreed to open-source the code.

This software is licensed under the terms of the simplified BSD (A.K.A. "two clause" or "FreeBSD") license. See LICENSE.txt for information.

Installing Whoosh

If you have

installed, you can use
to download and install Whoosh automatically::
$ easy_install Whoosh


$ pip install Whoosh

Learning more

  • Read the online documentation at

  • Join the Whoosh mailing list at

  • File bug reports and view the Whoosh wiki at

Getting the source

Download source releases from PyPI at

You can check out the latest version of the source code using Mercurial::

hg clone

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