Multi platform kotlin client for Elasticsearch & Opensearch with easily extendable Kotlin DSLs for queries, mappings, bulk, and more.

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What is Kt-Search

KT Search Manual - Next: Getting Started
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Kt-search is a Kotlin library that allows users to use Opensearch or Elasticsearch from Kotlin. It is a Kotlin multiplatform library that can be used on any platform that Kotlin can compile to. Currently, the jvm and js platforms are supported.

Why yet another client?

Kt-search is the successor to my popular es-kotlin-client project. A few changes in the wider ecosystem of Elasticsearch necessitated a complete rewrite:

In short, there are four variants of a search engine that used to be just Elasticsearch. All of those are supported in kt-search. And I plan to add support for future versions too while not breaking support for older versions if I can avoid it.

Other clients

Kt-search is of course not the only client you can use but the reason we built it is that I wanted a better development experience than other clients provide. There currently is no official Elastic client for Kotlin. People use the Java one of course. However, in terms of developer experience, that is a lot less nice that a native Kotlin client. In addition that only works for Elasticsearch and not for Opensearch. And while their new Java client is nice, Opensearch users are stuck with the Opensearch fork of the now deprecated RestHighLevel client. Not a good situation. Kt-search is nicer to use and supports both ecosystems. And if you need to, you can still use those clients next to it of course.

There are also a few other Kotlin clients that you can try. To the best of my knowledge, mine is the most feature rich of these. But do let me know if I’m wrong about this or if you think there is something that kt-search can or should do better or differently.

The whole point of kt-search is to provide a best in class developer experience for working with Elasticsearch or Opensearch.

Kt Search 2.0 - What’s new and what is different

A few years of development on the es-kotlin-client has produced quite a few learnings. Additionally, I added a lot of features over time and gradually introduced things like asynchronous IO using Kotlin co-routines, Query DSL support, and a few other things. These are all things that ended up being useful and preserved in the new client.

History of the project

Kt-search 2.0 is the 2.0 release and fork of a project that started out being a full rewrite of es-kotlin-client. Development of that started in July 2018. Work on the 2.0 branch started in December 2021. The es-kotlin-client project still exists but I no longer maintain it. As of April 2023, The 2.0 release is stable and the only thing I will support going forward.

Before I created kt-search, I built various Java http clients for older versions of Elasticsearch dating back all the way to 2012, which is when I started using Elasticsearch while building my now defunct startup, localstre.am. This project builds on 10 years of using and working with Elasticsearch. At Inbot, we used our in house client for several years with Elasticsearch 1.x. I actually built an open source client for version 2.0, but we never upgraded to that version as version 5 was released soon after and broke compatibility. Later, I wrote another client on a customer project for version 5.x. This was before the Elastic’s RestHighLevel client was finalized.

The rewrite in kt-search 2.0 was necessitated by the deprecation of Elastic’s RestHighLevelClient and the Opensearch fork of Elasticsearch created by Amazon. One of the things they forked is this deprecated RestHighLevelClient client. Except of course they changed all the package names, which makes supporting both very tedious.

However, Elasticsearch and Opensearch still share the same REST API with only very minor variations mostly related to advanced features. For most common uses they are identical products.

Kt-search, removes the dependency on the Java client entirely. This in turn makes it possible to use all the wonderful new libraries in the Kotlin ecosystem. Therefore, it also is a Kotlin multi-platform library. This is a feature we get for free simply by using what is there. Kotlin-multi platform makes it possible to use Elasticsearch or Opensearch on any platform where you can compile this library.

Currently, that includes the jvm and kotlin-js compilers. However, it should be straightforward to compile this for e.g. IOS or linux as well using the kotlin-native compiler and the new wasm compiler. I just lack a project to test all this properly.

You can use kt-search in Spring servers, Ktor servers, AWS lambda functions, node-js servers, web applications running in a browser, or native applications running on IOS and Android. I expect, people will mostly stick to using servers on the JVM, at least short term. But I have some uses in mind for building small dashboard UIs as web applications as well. Let me know what you do with this!

KT Search Manual - Next: Getting Started
Github © Jilles van Gurp