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In order to create a (Lucene) query, an "incomplete" domain object is used. All properties with a value are used for the query, the rest is ignored.

In the absence of a better name, we call it "search by example", but as with many other "original" approaches there is probably a (standard/agreed upon) name for this approach, but I could not find one.

Thank you.

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It's called Query By Example (QBE).

...It is the first graphical query language, using visual tables where the user would enter commands, example elements and conditions. Many graphical front-ends for databases use the ideas from QBE today. Originally limited only for the purpose of retrieving data, QBE was later extended to allow other operations, such as inserts, deletes and updates, as well as creation of temporary tables.

The motivation behind QBE is that a parser can convert the user's actions into statements expressed in a database manipulation language, such as SQL. Behind the scenes, it is this statement that is actually executed. A suitably comprehensive front-end can minimize the burden on the user to remember the finer details of SQL, and it is easier and more productive for end-users (and even programmers) to select tables and columns by selecting them rather than typing in their names...

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/b/bb/QBESampleTable2.jpg

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