Intermittant Ferret Death

Hey All,

I am currently using ferret on multiple models in my application and
have been experiencing issues for the past few months. When searching
for some terms ferret performs fine but when searching for other terms
ferret will return null objects (not really sure why or what is
occuring) and consequently falldown and the Acts_as_ferret plugin seems
to break.

Here is a more in depth overview of my setup.

  • Software Version and Deploy Information
    Ferret (v0.11.6) + DRB Server
    Rails v1.2.6 with a Mongrel Cluster
    ruby 1.8.6 (2007-09-24 patchlevel 111) [i386-linux]
    Redhat Enterprise Linux 5

  • Application Specific Information
    Several Models setup with acts_as_ferret (all setup with single_index =>
    Search is being performed via (ActsAsFerret::find_by_contents(query))
    Index is stored in a shared directory symlinked to public/index. Between
    deploys index is removed and rake ferret:rebuild_index is called to
    rebuild it

Again the issue is sometimes I search for a term and I get no results
without a problem but in other instances searching for a term that I
know exists will cause an the site to fall down. Another piece
of information to this puzzle is that the ferret_rebuild task
occasionally will simply time out and will need to be killed and
restarted (this is called during deploys). Since there seems to only be
a few terms that break the site I assumed that this is an index related
problem. I have been able to successfully remove the index directory and
call rake ferret:rebuild_index when on the box but this issue still

Here is a relevant stack trace of when the issue occurs.
An exception occurred in the Application:

NoMethodError in search#index

undefined method `[]’ for nil:NilClass

ar_find_by_contents' [RAILS_ROOT]/vendor/plugins/acts_as_ferret/lib/shared_index_class_methods.rb:53:insort!’
ar_find_by_contents' [RAILS_ROOT]/vendor/plugins/acts_as_ferret/lib/class_methods.rb:288:infind_records_lazy_or_not’

Any thoughts, suggestions or ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks


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