Indexing a Documentedit

Documents are indexed—stored and made searchable—by using the index API. But first, we need to decide where the document lives. As we just discussed, a document’s _index, _type, and _id uniquely identify the document. We can either provide our own _id value or let the index API generate one for us.

Using Our Own IDedit

If your document has a natural identifier (for example, a user_account field or some other value that identifies the document), you should provide your own _id, using this form of the index API:

PUT /{index}/{type}/{id}
{
  "field": "value",
  ...
}

For example, if our index is called website, our type is called blog, and we choose the ID 123, then the index request looks like this:

PUT /website/blog/123
{
  "title": "My first blog entry",
  "text":  "Just trying this out...",
  "date":  "2014/01/01"
}

Elasticsearch responds as follows:

{
   "_index":    "website",
   "_type":     "blog",
   "_id":       "123",
   "_version":  1,
   "created":   true
}

The response indicates that the indexing request has been successfully created and includes the _index, _type, and _id metadata, and a new element: _version.

Every document in Elasticsearch has a version number. Every time a change is made to a document (including deleting it), the _version number is incremented. In Dealing with Conflicts, we discuss how to use the _version number to ensure that one part of your application doesn’t overwrite changes made by another part.

Autogenerating IDsedit

If our data doesn’t have a natural ID, we can let Elasticsearch autogenerate one for us. The structure of the request changes: instead of using the PUT verb (“store this document at this URL”), we use the POST verb (“store this document under this URL”).

The URL now contains just the _index and the _type:

POST /website/blog/
{
  "title": "My second blog entry",
  "text":  "Still trying this out...",
  "date":  "2014/01/01"
}

The response is similar to what we saw before, except that the _id field has been generated for us:

{
   "_index":    "website",
   "_type":     "blog",
   "_id":       "AVFgSgVHUP18jI2wRx0w",
   "_version":  1,
   "created":   true
}

Autogenerated IDs are 20 character long, URL-safe, Base64-encoded string universally unique identifiers, or UUIDs.