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File-Based Indexes

File-based indexes are based on a Map/Reduce architecture. Each index has a specific type of key and a particular type of value.

The key is what's later used to retrieve data from the index.

Example: in the word index, the key is the word itself.

The value is arbitrary data, which is associated with the key in the index.

Example: in the word index, the value is a mask indicating in which context the word occurs (code, string literal, or comment).

In the simplest case, when we only need to know in what files some data is present, the value has type Void and is not stored in the index.

When the index implementation indexes a file, it receives a file's content and returns a map from the keys found in the file to the associated values.

When you access the index, you specify the key you're interested in and get back the list of files in which the key occurs, and the value associated with each file.

Implementing a File-Based Index

A relatively simple file-based index implementation is the UI Designer bound forms index. Refer to it as an example to understand this topic better.

Each specific index implementation is a class extending FileBasedIndexExtension. A file-based index should be registered in the com.intellij.fileBasedIndex extension point.

An implementation of a file-based index consists of the following main parts:

  • getIndexer() returns the indexer class actually responsible for building a set of key/value pairs based on file content.
  • getKeyDescriptor() returns the key descriptor responsible for comparing keys and storing them in a serialized binary format.

Probably the most commonly used KeyDescriptor implementation is EnumeratorStringDescriptor, which is designed for storing efficiently storing identifiers. * getValueExternalizer() returns the value serializer responsible for storing values in a serialized binary format. * getInputFilter() allows restricting the indexing only to a certain set of files. * getVersion() returns the version of the index implementation. The index is automatically rebuilt if the current version differs from the version of the index implementation used to build it.

If you don't need to associate any value with the files (i.e., your value type is Void), you can simplify the implementation by using ScalarIndexExtension as the base class.

WARNING The data returned by must depend only on input data passed to the method, and must not depend on any external files. Otherwise, your index will not be correctly updated when the external data changes, and you will have stale data in your index.

NOTE Please see com.intellij.util.indexing.DebugAssertions on how to enable additional debugging assertions during development to assert correct index implementation.

Accessing a File-Based Index

Access to file-based indexes is performed through the FileBasedIndex class.

The following primary operations are supported:

  • getAllKeys() and processAllKeys() allow obtaining the list of all keys found in files, which are a part of the specified project.

NOTE The returned data is guaranteed to contain all keys found in up-to-date project content, but may also include additional keys not currently found in the project.

  • getValues() allows to get all values associated with a specific key but not the files in which they were found.
  • getContainingFiles() allows collecting all files in which a particular key was encountered.
  • processValues() allows iterating through all files in which a specific key was encountered and accessing the associated values simultaneously.

WARNING Nested index access is forbidden as it might lead to a deadlock. Collect all necessary data from index A first, then process results while accessing index B.

Standard Indexes

The Consulo contains several standard file-based indexes. The most useful indexes for plugin developers are:

Word Index

Generally, the word index should be accessed indirectly by using helper methods of the PsiSearchHelper class.

File Name Index

FilenameIndex provides a quick way to find all files matching a specific file name.

File Type Index

FileTypeIndex serves a similar goal: it allows to find all files of a particular FileType quickly.