When we first build out search on CodePen, we did it how we’ve done so many things over the years: in-house from scratch using open source technology. We landed on Solr after learning from others with experience that Solr is remarkably stable technology. Set it up, and it just works and keeps working. We found that to largely be true! Solr worked pretty darn well for us for a long time. Years.

But nothing lasts forever. Solr reached its edges for us in regards to scale. If you’re interested in what drove us to the point of change and the process of the change, you might as well hear it from Tim, who led the entire project:


Since the release a few weeks ago, we’ve already been tweaking search functionality.

There was a little quirk where searches with multiple words were treated as “OR” searches, which is the default behavior. So a search for CSS rainbows you could conceptualize like "CSS" OR "rainbows". That meant you’d get a lot of somewhat unexpected results, as CSS is a very generic term with lots of high-popularity results, and you’d see less rainbows. But rainbows is likely to be what you were really looking for, so now we’re treating that search like a quoted search "CSS rainbows" (an AND-style search) and the results are better. You using quotes is optional.

If you want to do an OR-style query, you can literally use the word OR between the search terms.

We’ll continue to refine things over time, so if you see weirdnesses with search, please let us know.