LlamaIndex review: Easy context-augmented LLM applications

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“Flip your enterprise knowledge into production-ready LLM functions,” blares the LlamaIndex residence web page in 60 level sort. OK, then. The subhead for that’s “LlamaIndex is the main knowledge framework for constructing LLM functions.” I’m not so positive that it’s the main knowledge framework, however I’d actually agree that it’s a main knowledge framework for constructing with giant language fashions, together with LangChain and Semantic Kernel, about which extra later.

LlamaIndex at the moment gives two open supply frameworks and a cloud. One framework is in Python; the opposite is in TypeScript. LlamaCloud (at the moment in non-public preview) gives storage, retrieval, hyperlinks to knowledge sources through LlamaHub, and a paid proprietary parsing service for advanced paperwork, LlamaParse, which can be out there as a stand-alone service.

LlamaIndex boasts strengths in loading knowledge, storing and indexing your knowledge, querying by orchestrating LLM workflows, and evaluating the efficiency of your LLM software. LlamaIndex integrates with over 40 vector shops, over 40 LLMs, and over 160 knowledge sources. The LlamaIndex Python repository has over 30K stars.

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Typical LlamaIndex functions carry out Q&A, structured extraction, chat, or semantic search, and/or function brokers. They could use retrieval-augmented era (RAG) to floor LLMs with particular sources, typically sources that weren’t included within the fashions’ unique coaching.

LlamaIndex competes with LangChain, Semantic Kernel, and Haystack. Not all of those have precisely the identical scope and capabilities, however so far as reputation goes, LangChain’s Python repository has over 80K stars, nearly 3 times that of LlamaIndex (over 30K stars), whereas the a lot newer Semantic Kernel has over 18K stars, a bit over half that of LlamaIndex, and Haystack’s repo has over 13K stars.

Repository age is related as a result of stars accumulate over time; that’s additionally why I qualify the numbers with “over.” Stars on GitHub repos are loosely correlated with historic reputation.

LlamaIndex, LangChain, and Haystack all boast a lot of main firms as customers, a few of whom use multiple of those frameworks. Semantic Kernel is from Microsoft, which doesn’t normally trouble publicizing its customers apart from case research.

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The LlamaIndex framework lets you join knowledge, embeddings, LLMs, vector databases, and evaluations into functions. These are used for Q&A, structured extraction, chat, semantic search, and brokers.

LlamaIndex options

At a excessive stage, LlamaIndex is designed that can assist you construct context-augmented LLM functions, which principally signifies that you mix your individual knowledge with a big language mannequin. Examples of context-augmented LLM functions embody question-answering chatbots, doc understanding and extraction, and autonomous brokers.

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The instruments that LlamaIndex offers carry out knowledge loading, knowledge indexing and storage, querying your knowledge with LLMs, and evaluating the efficiency of your LLM functions:

  • Information connectors ingest your present knowledge from their native supply and format.
  • Information indexes, additionally known as embeddings, construction your knowledge in intermediate representations.
  • Engines present pure language entry to your knowledge. These embody question engines for query answering, and chat engines for multi-message conversations about your knowledge.
  • Brokers are LLM-powered information staff augmented by software program instruments.
  • Observability/Analysis integrations allow you to experiment, consider, and monitor your app.

Context augmentation

LLMs have been educated on giant our bodies of textual content, however not essentially textual content about your area. There are three main methods to carry out context augmentation and add details about your area, supplying paperwork, doing RAG, and fine-tuning the mannequin.

The only context augmentation technique is to produce paperwork to the mannequin alongside together with your question, and for that you just may not want LlamaIndex. Supplying paperwork works fantastic until the entire dimension of the paperwork is bigger than the context window of the mannequin you’re utilizing, which was a standard subject till lately. Now there are LLMs with million-token context home windows, which let you keep away from occurring to the subsequent steps for a lot of duties. In case you plan to carry out many queries in opposition to a million-token corpus, you’ll need to cache the paperwork, however that’s a topic for an additional time.

Retrieval-augmented era combines context with LLMs at inference time, usually with a vector database. RAG procedures typically use embedding to restrict the size and enhance the relevance of the retrieved context, which each will get round context window limits and will increase the likelihood that the mannequin will see the data it must reply your query.

Basically, an embedding operate takes a phrase or phrase and maps it to a vector of floating level numbers; these are usually saved in a database that helps a vector search index. The retrieval step then makes use of a semantic similarity search, typically utilizing the cosine of the angle between the question’s embedding and the saved vectors, to search out “close by” data to make use of within the augmented immediate.

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Tremendous-tuning LLMs is a supervised studying course of that includes adjusting the mannequin’s parameters to a particular activity. It’s finished by coaching the mannequin on a smaller, task-specific or domain-specific knowledge set that’s labeled with examples related to the goal activity. Tremendous-tuning typically takes hours or days utilizing many server-level GPUs and requires lots of or hundreds of tagged exemplars.

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Putting in LlamaIndex

You’ll be able to set up the Python model of LlamaIndex 3 ways: from the supply code within the GitHub repository, utilizing the llama-index starter set up, or utilizing llama-index-core plus chosen integrations. The starter set up would seem like this:

pip set up llama-index

This pulls in OpenAI LLMs and embeddings along with the LlamaIndex core. You’ll want to produce your OpenAI API key (see right here) earlier than you may run examples that use it. The LlamaIndex starter instance is sort of simple, basically 5 traces of code after a few easy setup steps. There are a lot of extra examples within the repo, with documentation.

Doing the customized set up would possibly look one thing like this:

pip set up llama-index-core llama-index-readers-file llama-index-llms-ollama llama-index-embeddings-huggingface

That installs an interface to Ollama and Hugging Face embeddings. There’s a neighborhood starter instance that goes with this set up. Irrespective of which approach you begin, you may all the time add extra interface modules with pip.

In case you choose to jot down your code in JavaScript or TypeScript, use LlamaIndex.TS (repo). One benefit of the TypeScript model is you could run the examples on-line on StackBlitz with none native setup. You’ll nonetheless want to produce an OpenAI API key.

LlamaCloud and LlamaParse

LlamaCloud is a cloud service that lets you add, parse, and index paperwork and search them utilizing LlamaIndex. It’s in a personal alpha stage, and I used to be unable to get entry to it. LlamaParse is a element of LlamaCloud that lets you parse PDFs into structured knowledge. It’s out there through a REST API, a Python package deal, and an internet UI. It’s at the moment in a public beta. You’ll be able to join to make use of LlamaParse for a small usage-based payment after the primary 7K pages every week. The instance given evaluating LlamaParse and PyPDF for the Apple 10K submitting is spectacular, however I didn’t check this myself.


LlamaHub provides you entry to a big assortment of integrations for LlamaIndex. These embody brokers, callbacks, knowledge loaders, embeddings, and about 17 different classes. Typically, the integrations are within the LlamaIndex repository, PyPI, and NPM, and will be loaded with pip set up or npm set up.

create-llama CLI

create-llama is a command-line software that generates LlamaIndex functions. It’s a quick option to get began with LlamaIndex. The generated software has a Subsequent.js powered entrance finish and a alternative of three again ends.

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RAG CLI is a command-line software for chatting with an LLM about recordsdata you’ve got saved domestically in your pc. This is just one of many use circumstances for LlamaIndex, but it surely’s fairly frequent.

LlamaIndex elements

The LlamaIndex Part Guides provide you with particular assist for the assorted components of LlamaIndex. The primary screenshot beneath reveals the element information menu. The second reveals the element information for prompts, scrolled to a bit about customizing prompts.


The LlamaIndex element guides doc the completely different items that make up the framework. There are fairly a couple of elements.


We’re wanting on the utilization patterns for prompts. This specific instance reveals methods to customise a Q&A immediate to reply within the type of a Shakespeare play. It is a zero-shot immediate, because it doesn’t present any exemplars.

Studying LlamaIndex

When you’ve learn, understood, and run the starter instance in your most popular programming language (Python or TypeScript, I counsel that you just learn, perceive, and take a look at as most of the different examples as look fascinating. The screenshot beneath reveals the results of producing a file known as essay by operating essay.ts after which asking questions on it utilizing chatEngine.ts. That is an instance of utilizing RAG for Q&A.

The chatEngine.ts program makes use of the ContextChatEngine, Doc, Settings, and VectorStoreIndex elements of LlamaIndex. After I appeared on the supply code, I noticed that it relied on the OpenAI gpt-3.5-turbo-16k mannequin; which will change over time. The VectorStoreIndex module appeared to be utilizing the open-source, Rust-based Qdrant vector database, if I used to be studying the documentation appropriately.


After establishing the terminal atmosphere with my OpenAI key, I ran essay.ts to generate an essay file and chatEngine.ts to area queries in regards to the essay.

Bringing context to LLMs

As you’ve seen, LlamaIndex is pretty simple to make use of to create LLM functions. I used to be capable of check it in opposition to OpenAI LLMs and a file knowledge supply for a RAG Q&A software with no points. As a reminder, LlamaIndex integrates with over 40 vector shops, over 40 LLMs, and over 160 knowledge sources; it really works for a number of use circumstances, together with Q&A, structured extraction, chat, semantic search, and brokers.

I’d counsel evaluating LlamaIndex together with LangChain, Semantic Kernel, and Haystack. It’s doubtless that a number of of them will meet your wants. I can’t suggest one over the others in a common approach, as completely different functions have completely different necessities.


  1. Helps to create LLM functions for Q&A, structured extraction, chat, semantic search, and brokers
  2. Helps Python and TypeScript
  3. Frameworks are free and open supply
  4. Plenty of examples and integrations


  1. Cloud is proscribed to non-public preview
  2. Advertising and marketing is barely overblown


Open supply: free. LlamaParse import service: 7K pages per week free, then $3 per 1000 pages.


Python and TypeScript, plus cloud SaaS (at the moment in non-public preview).

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