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Sirwan Afifi

Stories from a web developer.

© 2019. Sirwan Afifi All rights reserved.

What's Elasticsearch


Elasticsearch is a search engine based on the Lucene library. It provides a distributed, multitenant-capable full-text search engine with an HTTP web interface and schema-free JSON documents. Elasticsearch is developed in Java and is released as open source under the terms of the Apache License. Official clients are available in Java, .NET (C#), PHP, Python, Apache Groovy, Ruby and many other languages.5 According to the DB-Engines ranking, Elasticsearch is the most popular enterprise search engine followed by Apache Solr, also based on Lucene.

Executing SELECT * FROM …. all the time consumes a lot of CPU also it doesn’t have index, One solution would be using FTS (Full Text Search) in RDBMS but in NoSQL world If you need a high performance search engine you’d better use Elasticsearch.

Elastic Stack


  • 1999 - Lucene
    • It helped all search engines back then index the data that they were adjusting from the internet and provide reasonable ways of retrieving that information based fuzzy matching.
  • 2004 - Compass
    • Built on top of Lucene, the same services but in a more scalable manner, idea was to provide a distributed search solution.
  • 2010 - Elasticsearch
    • Distributed, RESTful search and analytical engine

Use cases

  • Security/log analytics
  • Marketing = Use this data to find things:
    • How people find our website?
    • Where they came from?
    • What device they are using?
    • What part of the world they are coming from?
  • Search = ES was built with idea of great search engine


  • Near Real Time (NRT)
  • Cluster:
    • collection of our nodes
    • has a unique name
  • Node:
    • part of the cluster to store the data
    • has a unique name
  • Index:
    • a collection of similar documents
  • Type:
    • a category or a partition of your index
  • Document:
    • in JSON format
    • customer
    • event


  • Simple query:
    • get all accounts: GET bank/account/_search
    • get all accounts in state of CA:
      GET bank/account/_search
        "query": {
            "match": {
                "state": "CA"

      - multiple conditions:

      GET bank/account/_search
        "query": {
            "bool": {
                "state": "CA"
    • boost: 3 = three times more important than state
    • _score: How ES identifies the relevance of a document based on your search query

Bulk loading data into Elasticsearch

_bulk: The endpoint for bulk api, this is where we send request to when we want to bulk load data. it expects new-line delimited JSON data (including a new-line at the very end, which is important, otherwise we’ll get errors). It allows us to Index, Create, Delete, Update. When using this we need to make sure we are using --data-binary flag from the curl command.

  • /_bulk
  • new-line JSON
  • Index, Create, Delete, Update
  • –data-binary

How to bulk load data

  • Create a file that has some data in it:
{ "index" : { "_index" : "indexName", "_type" : "typeName", "_id": "1" }}
{"title":"Web Developer II","author":"Chrysler Clerk","content":"Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Proin risus. Praesent lectus.","publishedDate":"2018-02-03T17:51:14Z"}
  • Load the data into Elasticsearch using curl:
curl -s -H "Content-Type: application/x-ndjson" -XPOST localhost:9200/_bulk --data-binary "@reqs"; echo


Recently I have been working on a node stack project as a full stack JavaScript developer, it’s a great experience because I’m working with talented developers. We use TypeScript on both backend and frontend which is great because I’m coming from a .NET background and couldn’t be happier; Well we have types for our JS code :) But sometimes TypeScript drives me crazy for example when working with existing React libraries there are no type declarations and a lot of TypeScript’s benefits disappear so we have to write our own .d.ts file but it is worth it :) On the backend we use GraphQL for our APIs, so in this post, I explain my observation about this technology.

What’s GraphQL?


GraphQL is a query language for any kind of API and can fulfil any queries across multiple databases. The main benefit of using it is that you can ask for exactly what you want and you will get the result and nothing else. In this case, clients describe what they want their data and shape of it. The good point is that requests are validated against so-called Schema, we create this schema on our server, it basically describes the functionality available to our clients, inside this schema, we define our type definitions:

type User {
    id: ID!
    firstName: String
    lastName: String
    age: Int

type Query {
    users: [User]

In the schema, we need a top-level type called Query. The server defines the queries it can accept. So, in this case, we’re saying we need to return a list of users, the result is an array of type User.


Now we need a Resolver to figure out what we get back when we call users query. Resolvers are basically some functions that respond to queries and mutations, they are the functions that give us the results from a query.

const root = {
  users: () => {
    return [
      { id: 1, firstName: "Sirwan", lastName: "Afifi", age: 29 },
      { id: 2, firstName: "User 2", lastName: "lastName2", age: 20 },
      { id: 3, firstName: "User 3", lastName: "lastName3", age: 20 },
      { id: 4, firstName: "User 4", lastName: "lastName4", age: 20 },
      { id: 5, firstName: "User 5", lastName: "lastName5", age: 20 },
      { id: 6, firstName: "User 6", lastName: "lastName6", age: 20 },
      { id: 7, firstName: "User 7", lastName: "lastName7", age: 20 },
      { id: 8, firstName: "User 8", lastName: "lastName8", age: 20 }

Now we can query the users to get the result, the query gets parsed and executed against a data source on the server and the server sends back the result as JSON:


As you can see we have intellisense for our API. In fact, GraphQL is more like TypeScript for our API, by using it we have awesome static type analyze. In traditional REST we had many requests but with GraphQL we only have one single endpoint.

Mutation types

The query type is responsible for defining what will return when we call the query. With mutation type, we can mutate (change, create) data.

input UserInput {
    id: ID!
    firstName: String
    lastName: String
    age: Int

type Mutation {
    createUser(input: UserInput): User

The great point about a mutation is that we mutate something and we also ask for something in the result, that’s why we can specify a return type for a mutation, in this case, it’s User:


GraphQL is a convenient way for a client to communicate with the server, There is much more to talk about this technology so I will pick up again in my next article.

React Hooks

Hooks are a new feature that is coming up in React v16.7.0-alpha, it’s a really great feature, I am so excited about this new feature. The goal is to use all functionalities you can do in class components in functional style components, We heavily use functional components in our project so in order to use things like State we have two options: re-writing our component in a class component or simply use a great package called react-powerplug:

import * as React from "react";
import { State } from "react-powerplug";

const Example = () => {
  return (
      {({ state, setState }) => (
          <p>You clicked {state.count} times</p>
          <button onClick={() => setState({ count: state.count + 1 })}>
            Click me

export { Example };

This is really great, but we don’t need to have this anymore because one of the feature of Hooks in the new version of React is using state inside a functional component, so we’d some something like this to get the same result:

import { useState } from "react";
import * as React from "react";

export interface ReactHookProps {}

const ReactHook = (props: ReactHookProps) => {
  const [count, setCount] = useState(0);

  return (
      <h1>Hello From ReactHook Component</h1>
      <p>You clicked {count} times</p>
      <button onClick={() => setCount(count + 1)}>Click me</button>

export { ReactHook };

As you can see, by calling useState and passing a default value, it gives you two property one for get and the other for set. The interesting point about useState is that we can have multiple states inside the component:

const [person, setPerson] = useState({
  firstName: "Sirwan",
  lastName: "Afifi",
  age: 29

Working with state is just one of Hooks functionalities, I will try to blog about the other features too.

You can grab the working sample project from GitHub.

Happy coding :)