I used the "offline" concept to clarify for you that the data would not live "on a remote server over a slow network".
in reply to Re^3: Writing a database lookup tool
in thread Writing a database lookup tool
My questions are not vague or meaningless. At this point, the whole project is just taking shape, hence it obviously cannot have a full specification. Which is why I'm looking for guidance on what direction to take or whether the whole idea is feasible or not. This is clearly stated in the first post. I'm obviously not looking exact figures on anything.
Sticking with your example, a reasonable and helpful perlmonks user might answer: "If you want to build a piano with no experience in building a piano, no knowledge of wood and little knowledge of metal work, then be prepared that this project will take several years to complete - if you ever manage complete it. You would need to learn a lot and there are no 'piano building for dummies' guides to help you along. The idea is best abandoned." Alternatively, a helpful perlmonks user might answer: "You would need to learn how to use Solr but there's a decent tutorial and documentation at XXX. It can run offline and lookup times in the 0.1 - 1 sec range should be easily attainable. No need to learn other languages, you can put it together in perl exclusively. It would take me ~5 hours to put a basic working app together... I guess it shouldn't take more than a week even if you're completely new to databases."