Best search plugin for non-expert


I’m pretty new to RoR, and I’m trying to do a fairly simple project. It
involves allowing users to search a database, and I’m having trouble
deciding the best way to go about it.

This project started a few years ago in RoR 1.8, and the developer we
hired at the time wrote a search function. You can see it at Now, I want to
expand this application so that our team of catalogers can enter data
online (we’ve been doing it in Access and then moving the data into
MySQL - an absolute nightmare, and it’s a long story why we had to do it
that way initially). The current search function is just fine as it is,
so I’m not really planning to change how the search works, I just want
to be able to enter/edit data online.

Given that the search is currently written in RoR 1.8 and I want to move
it to 2.1, would it be best to just keep using the search function our
previous developer wrote, and update it to work with 2.1? Or would it
be better to use something like solr or ferret?

The other complication to all of this is that I am, first and foremost,
a medieval historian, and only secondarily a computer geek. I’m better
at programming than most historians, but that’s not saying much. :slight_smile: If
I use a search plugin, which ones are the easiest to learn and have the
best tutorials?

Thanks for all your help!