Using ElasticKit Library

The PopForums.ElasticKit library makes it possible to wire up the following scenarios:

  • Use ElasticSearch for search instead of the built-in search indexing. Important: The client library referenced in v15.x is designed to work against v6.x of ElasticSearch, while v16.x,v17.x and v18.x, v19.x uses v7.x of ElasticSearch. v20.x uses v8.x of ElasticSearch.

ElasticSearch can run quite literally anywhere in a docker container or straight up in a VM, if that’s your thing. Also keep in mind that the implementation that AWS uses is actually a fork, so there are some differences about how the managed service is, uh, managed. In the commercial hosted version of POP Forums, we use Elastic’s managed service running in Azure. Elastic runs in all of the major clouds and is generally reasonably priced.

Configuration with Azure App Services and Azure Functions

The POP Forums configuration system uses the appsettings.json file, but adhere’s to the overriding system implemented via environment variables. This by extension means that you can set these values in the Application Settings section of the Azure portal for App Services and Functions. It uses the colon notation that you may be familiar with. For example, use PopForums:Queue:ConnectionString to correspond to the hierarchy of the appsettings.json file. (For Linux-based App Services and Functions in Azure, use a double underscore instead of colons in the portal settings, i.e., PopForums__Queue__ConnectionString.)

Irrelevant admin settings when using ElasticKit

  • In search: The search indexing interval only reacts when something is queued for in-Web processing, not Azure Functions. Furthermore, if you use ElasticSearch, the junk words no longer apply, as these indexing strategies are handled by ES.

ElasticSearch is a search engine you can run on your own or in managed services from AWS, Elastic and others. To use this service instead of the internal POP Forums search indexing, you’ll need to configure this line in your Program.cs if you’re using web in-process search processing:

using PopForums.ElasticKit;
namespace YourWebApp;


For use in the Azure functions, you’ll need to set the PopForums:Search:Provider (or PopForums__Search__Provider on a Linux instance) setting in the portal blade for the functions to elasticsearch or elasticcloud (see Provider config below).

You’ll also need to setup the right configuration values if you’re running web in-process:

  "PopForums": {
    "Search": {
      "Url": "https://myelasticsearchindex",
      "Key": "",
      "Provider": ""
  • Url: The base URL for the ElasticSearch endpoints. If you’re using managed ES from Elastic, this is the “ElasticSearch Copy endpoint” result in the portal.
  • Key (non-cloud ElasticSearch): After v16.x, when Provider is set to elasticsearch, this will optionally set an API key, using the format id|key (that’s a pipe separating the ID and API key). Make sure that you use the ID, not the name. This only works with a single-node cluster, ideal for local dev.
  • Key (Elastic managed cloud): Starting in v20.x, if you specify elasticcloud as the provider, you must supply cloudID|APIkey. The cloud ID is the big string in given in the portal with the deployment, and the API key is generated via the API console in the portal.
  • Provider: This is optional in the web app and not actually implemented anywhere other than in our Azure Functions example project, where it’s used to switch between elasticsearch, elasticcloud, azuresearch and the default bits in the PopForums.Sql library.

Configuring ElasticSearch and setting up security rules for it are beyond the scope of this wiki.

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