I am involved with a very small residential management company which has a lot of documents that I want to digitise into PDF and put on the web for all residents to access. Many people are not technical, so something simple to use is essential.

I have the skills to set up a server based LAMP-based solution, albeit one that should not cost significant amounts of money to purchase or maintain, hence open-source, preferrably with a small memory footprint. Everything I have looked at so far though (such as Alfresco, KnowledgeTree and LogicalDOC) seem like major overkill, and complex both in terms of setup and for users.

I was thinking along the lines of something like AjaxExplorer, which seems to do the file browsing part of what I want to do admirably. In terms of full-text searching, is there a product that will work with AjaxExplorer, or something else that can work alongside it, that people would recommend as a relatively easy to configure tool for indexing and subsequently searching a document repository?

It would be acceptable to have separate areas of the front-end for browsing the file tree, and simple searching by filename / metadata and full text search, if, as I suspect, there is no suitable integrated solution.

closed as not constructive by mgorven, Dave M, Bryan, mdpc, Michael Hampton Feb 12 '13 at 1:29

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • What is the format of the files you wish to search? That will likely be the biggest factor in finding your search tool. – jeffatrackaid Jan 4 '12 at 17:16
  • Mainly PDF - I'll edit the question – Stev_k Jan 4 '12 at 17:18
  • 1
    You may want to look at CMS systems. For example, I know someone that uses Plone for this purpose. I think it has a module for full-text PDF. – jeffatrackaid Jan 4 '12 at 17:27
  • 1
    If you are using PDF as in "PDF file output for scanned paper documents", you might need OCR to run over the data first for indexing purposes. – the-wabbit Jan 5 '12 at 0:13
  • 1
    There is a linux tool called pdftotext (if memory serves). I know for small deployments I've seen scripts run this and then just do a grep. Also there is a pdfgrep too floating about. – jeffatrackaid Jan 5 '12 at 16:52

Personally, I would just use a regular distrobution of Apache (without PHP) and then add a filter to serve just the .pdf documents:

There are many different ways you could do this. For example, this directive that you place within your "Directory" node in your httpd.conf file:

<Directory "C:/Apache2.2/htdocs">
    Options Indexes Includes MultiViews
    IndexOptions +ScanHTMLTitles -IconsAreLinks FancyIndexing FoldersFirst NameWidth=*
    AddIcon (IMG,/webicons/image3.gif) .gif .png .jpeg .jpg .xbm .PNG .JPG .GIF .tiff .bmp
    AddIcon (IMG,/webicons/compressed.gif) .7z .zip .cab .tar .jar .mdb .ldf .mdf .CAB
    AddIcon (IMG,/webicons/binary.gif) .exe .msi .rdp .pcf .dia .class .ks .keystore .scc
    AddIcon (IMG,/webicons/a.gif) .txt .log .properties .doc .xls .xml .ts .msg .dat .sql .csv .pem .sh .py .tlp .java .der .csr .key .crt .bat .cmd .inf
    AddIcon (IMG,/webicons/link.gif) .lnk .htm .url .URL
    AddIcon (IMG,/webicons/pdf.gif) .pdf
    AddIcon /webicons/folder.png ^^DIRECTORY^^
    #ForceType application/octet-stream

Then type: http://domain.com/pdf/blah.pdf

If you really must have a search feature, you could install PHP and use PHP flat file search .


I have used MNOGOsearch for indexing a pile of PDF files. It do full text searches of PDF's and many other document types. You may also find the search front end quite familiar.

The *nix versions are GNU licensed.


  • Cool software but it should be noted that beyond 3,000 documents, it costs around $1000 for a license. – djangofan Jan 5 '12 at 19:14
  • Never pushed that many documents before, thanks for the heads up! – Tim Jan 5 '12 at 19:39

ownCloud is an open-source solution for storing files that can run on LAMP. It has a very clean interface, and while it has other features (calendar, contacts, music, pictures), they can all be easily disabled. As of version 3 it has an integrated PDF viewer. As of version 5, it has full-text PDF searching powered by Lucene.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.