This page gives you information on how content and language detection works with Apache Tika, and how to tune the behaviour of Tika.
- Content Detection
The org.apache.tika.detect.Detector interface is the basis for most of the content type detection in Apache Tika. All the different ways of detecting content all implement the same common method:
MediaType detect(java.io.InputStream input, Metadata metadata) throws java.io.IOException
The detect method takes the stream to inspect, and a Metadata object that holds any additional information on the content. The detector will return a MediaType object describing its best guess as to the type of the file.
In general, only two keys on the Metadata object are used by Detectors. These are Metadata.RESOURCE_NAME_KEY which should hold the name of the file (where known), and Metadata.CONTENT_TYPE which should hold the advertised content type of the file (eg from a webserver or a content repository).
By looking for special ("magic") patterns of bytes near the start of the file, it is often possible to detect the type of the file. For some file types, this is a simple process. For others, typically container based formats, the magic detection may not be enough. (More detail on detecting container formats below)
Tika is able to make use of a a mime magic info file, in the Freedesktop MIME-info format to peform mime magic detection.
Where the name of the file is known, it is sometimes possible to guess the file type from the name or extension. Within the tika-mimetypes.xml file is a list of patterns which are used to identify the type from the filename.
However, because files may be renamed, this method of detection is quick but not always as accurate.
This is provided within Tika by org.apache.tika.detect.NameDetector.
Sometimes, the mime type for a file is already known, such as when downloading from a webserver, or when retrieving from a content store. This information can be used by detectors, such as org.apache.tika.mime.MimeTypes,
By default, the mime type detection in Tika is provided by org.apache.tika.mime.MimeTypes. This detector makes use of tika-mimetypes.xml to power magic based and filename based detection.
Firstly, magic based detection is used on the start of the file. If the file is an XML file, then the start of the XML is processed to look for root elements. Next, if available, the filename (from Metadata.RESOURCE_NAME_KEY) is then used to improve the detail of the detection, such as when magic detects a text file, and the filename hints it's really a CSV. Finally, if available, the supplied content type (from Metadata.CONTENT_TYPE) is used to further refine the type.
Several common file formats are actually held within a common container format. One example is the PowerPoint .ppt and Word .doc formats, which are both held within an OLE2 container. Another is Apple iWork formats, which are actually a series of XML files within a Zip file.
Using magic detection, it is easy to spot that a given file is an OLE2 document, or a Zip file. Using magic detection alone, it is very difficult (and often impossible) to tell what kind of file lives inside the container.
For some use cases, speed is important, so having a quick way to know the container type is sufficient. For other cases however, you don't mind spending a bit of time (and memory!) processing the container to get a more accurate answer on its contents. For these cases, container aware detectors should be used.
Tika provides a number of container aware detectors, which cover the main container formats (OLE2, Zip etc). It is possible to call these detectors individually, but it is more common to use org.apache.tika.detect.DefaultDetector to handle this for you. DefaultDetector works like DefaultParser, and locates available Detectors using the Services Loader, and then tries each in turn to identify the file. If the file isn't a known container, and no specific Detector identifies it, the default MimeTypes detector will be used to perform Magic Based Detection.
Because the container aware detectors needs to read the whole file in order to process the surrounding container, they must be used with a org.apache.tika.io.TikaInputStream. If called with a regular InputStream, then all work will be done by the MimeTypes detector.