Web Development

Hackathon Part 2 – Building a Robust Product Search Tool

White Lion — September 14, 2017

Hackathon Part Two

We had a lot of success with our first hackathon exploring Algolia Search. To recap that event, we put together a locator app that would allow users to find a store based on their current location. Our experience with the Algolia service was so excellent, we decided to explore a faceted search with it.

What is a Faceted Search?

Faceted search is a common feature of large ecommerce sites like Amazon, eBay, and Zappos. Online shoppers appreciate the ease with which they can filter by brand, color, price, and even product ratings, in addition to the standard searching by product category.

Algolia makes this extremely simple to implement and provides terrific tutorials and demos. For this hackathon we focused on these resources:

How Coding with a Team Enables Rapid Development

The back-end development team worked on creating the underlying index consisting of a tiered product catalog with products also associated with various brands and having differing colors, prices, and ratings. Again, using the Laravel package from the first hackathon and Algolia’s API, the process was very intuitive.

Our front-end Development team worked on layout and design including a custom color filtering component. They also managed API communication and bundling CSS and JS assets the way we would do for a client project.

Just as in our first hackathon, all of us were impressed with the speed with which the faceted search worked and how quickly changes to the DB were reflected in the search results.


A Hackathon Creates Better Vision for Your Entire Project

Thanks to these focused efforts, everyone on the Development team is ready to start incorporating Algolia Search into our production work.

A few remaining items will be to:

  • Dig into Algolia’s instant search API a bit more to identify important filtering components, best practices for filters, etc.
  • Refine the final product and spend some time on alternate layouts/styling, by providing a list or grid view of results.
  • Explore combining the two data points we’ve already experimented with (stores and products).
  • Generalize the process as a package we can drop into a project.

Boost Your Product Catalog Now

Algolia’s focus is to provide first-class search features for smaller sites so that their visitors can have the kind of high-quality search experience that Google provides. Read Business Insider’s Interview with Algolia’s CEO Nicolas Dessaigne. We think they deliver on this expectation.

If you thought the sophisticated search tools of those large ecommerce sites were out of reach, talk to us. We can get these features in place in your product catalog with minimal development time thanks to this great service.

5 Ways to Create Excitement Around a Product Launch

When you put your blood, sweat, and tears into a product, you want to make sure the launch is a HUGE success! The best way to do this is to create excitement around it. Download our top 5 strategies to find out how.

Your Trusted Developer

At White Lion, we take a lot of pride in being able to develop sophisticated code using the latest technology for our clients. The web moves at the speed of light and we constantly see new tools that we can incorporate to solve your specific need. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us and pick our brain about how we can help you with your next project.

Read Part 1 of this article:

How a hackathon can help you develop new tools for your website

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