Helper for implementing advanced search features with Algolia
JavaScript CSS HTML Shell
Latest commit 06cfb6e Feb 16, 2017 @bobylito bobylito committed on GitHub doc(concepts): fix formulation

README.md

Coming from V1 (or js client v2)? Read the migration guide to the new version of the Helper.

The JavaScript helper is an advanced library we provide to our users. If you are looking to build a complete search interface, we recommend you to use instantsearch.js. If you want to build an autocomplete menu, see autocomplete.js.

algoliasearch-helper-js

This module is the companion of the algolia/algoliasearch-client-js. It helps you keep track of the search parameters and provides a higher level API.

This is the library you will need to easily build a good search UX like our instant search demo.

See the helper in action

Version Build Status License Downloads

Features

  • Search parameters management
  • Facets exclusions
  • Pagination
  • Disjunctive faceting (search on two or more values of the same facet)

Examples

Vanilla JavaScript

A small example that uses Browserify to manage modules.

var algoliasearch = require('algoliasearch');
var algoliasearchHelper = require('algoliasearch-helper');

var client = algoliasearch('appId', 'apiKey');

var helper = algoliasearchHelper(client, 'indexName', {
  facets: ['mainCharacterFirstName', 'year'],
  disjunctiveFacets: ['director']
});

helper.on('result', function(data){
  console.log(data.hits);
});

helper.addDisjunctiveFacetRefinement('director', 'Clint Eastwood');
helper.addDisjunctiveFacetRefinement('director', 'Sofia Coppola');

helper.addNumericRefinement('year', '=', 2003);

// Search for any movie filmed in 2003 and directed by either C. Eastwood or S. Coppola
helper.search();

See more examples in the examples folder

AngularJS module

<script src="https://cdn.jsdelivr.net/algoliasearch/3/algoliasearch.angular.js"></script>
<script src="dist/algoliasearch.helper.min.js"></script>

<script type="text/javascript">
angular.module('searchApp', ['ngSanitize', 'algoliasearch'])
.controller('searchController', ['$scope', '$sce', 'algolia', function($scope, $sce, algolia) {
  var algolia = algolia.Client('applicationId', 'apiKey');
  $scope.q = '';
  $scope.content = null;
  $scope.helper = algoliasearchHelper(algolia, 'indexName', {
    facets: ['type', 'shipping'],
    disjunctiveFacets: ['category', 'manufacturer'],
    hitsPerPage: 5,
  });
  $scope.helper.on('result', function(content) {
    $scope.$apply(function() {
      $scope.content = content;
    });
  });
  $scope.toggleRefine = function($event, facet, value) {
    $event.preventDefault();
    $scope.helper.toggleRefine(facet, value).search();
  };
  $scope.$watch('q', function(q) {
    $scope.helper.setQuery(q).search();
  });
  $scope.helper.search();
}]);
</script>

You can see the full Angular example here

Helper cheatsheet

There is also a complete JSDoc

Add the helper in your project

Regular <script> tag

Use our jsDelivr build:

<script src="https://cdn.jsdelivr.net/algoliasearch.helper/2/algoliasearch.helper.min.js"></script>

With NPM

npm install algoliasearch-helper

With bower

bower install algoliasearch-helper

Init the helper

var helper = algoliasearchHelper(client, 'indexName'/*, parameters*/);

Helper lifecycle

  1. modify the parameters of the search (usually through user interactions)
    helper.setQuery('iphone').addFacetRefinement('category', 'phone')

  2. trigger the search (after all the modification have been applied)
    helper.search()

  3. read the results (with the event "result" handler) and update the UI with the results
    helper.on('result', function(results) { updateUI(results); });

  4. go back to 1

Objects

AlgoliasearchHelper: the helper. Keeps the state of the search, makes the queries and calls the handlers when an event happen.

SearchParameters: the object representing the state of the search. The current state is stored in helperInstance.state.

SearchResults: the object in which the Algolia answers are transformed into. This object is passed to the result event handler. An example of SearchResults in JSON is available at the end of this readme

Search

The search is triggered by the search() method.

It takes all the previous modifications to the search and uses them to create the queries to Algolia. The search parameters are immutable.

Example:

var helper = algoliasearchHelper(client, indexName);

// Let's monitor the results with the console
helper.on('result', function(content) {
  console.log(content);
});

// Let's make an empty search
// The results are all sorted using the dashboard configuration
helper.search();

// Let's search for "landscape"
helper.setQuery('landscape').search();

// Let's add a category "photo"
// Will make a search with "photo" tag and "landscape" as the query
helper.addTag('photo').search();

Events

The helper is a Node.js EventEmitter instance.

result: get notified when new results are received. The handler function will receive two objects (SearchResults and SearchParameters).

error: get notified when errors are received from the API.

change: get notified when a property has changed in the helper

search : get notified when a request is sent to Algolia

Listen to the result event

helper.on('result', updateTheResults);

Listen to a result event once

helper.once('result', updateTheResults);

Remove a result listener

helper.removeListener('result', updateTheResults);

Remove all result listeners

helper.removeAllListeners('result');

All the methods from Node.js EventEmitter class are available.

Query

Do a search with the query "fruit"

helper.setQuery('fruit').search();

Filtering results

Facets are filters to retrieve a subset of an index having a specific value for a given attribute. First you need to define which attribute will be used as a facet in the dashboard: https://www.algolia.com/explorer#?tab=display

Regular (conjunctive) facets

Refinements are ANDed by default (Conjunctive selection).

Facet definition
var helper = algoliasearchHelper(client, indexName, {
    facets: ['ANDFacet']
});
Add a facet filter
helper.addFacetRefinement('ANDFacet', 'valueOfANDFacet').search();
Remove a facet filter
helper.removeFacetRefinement('ANDFacet', 'valueOfANDFacet').search();

Disjunctive facets

Refinements are ORed by default (Disjunctive selection).

Facet definition
var helper = algoliasearchHelper(client, indexName, {
    disjunctiveFacets: ['ORFacet']
});
Add a facet filter
helper.addDisjunctiveFacetRefinement('ORFacet', 'valueOfORFacet').search();
Remove a facet filter
helper.removeDisjunctiveFacetRefinement('ORFacet', 'valueOfORFacet').search();

Negative facets

Filter so that we do NOT get a given facet

Facet definition (same as "AND" facet)
var helper = algoliasearchHelper(client, indexName, {
    facets: ['ANDFacet']
}).search();
Exclude a value for a facet
helper.addFacetExclusion('ANDFacet', 'valueOfANDFacetToExclude');
Remove an exclude from the list of excluded values
helper.removeFacetExclusion('ANDFacet', 'valueOfANDFacetToExclude');

Numeric facets

Filter over numeric attributes with math operations like =, >, <, >=, <=. Can be used for numbers and dates (if converted to timestamp)

Facet definition
var helper = algoliasearchHelper(client, indexName, {
  disjunctiveFacets: ['numericAttribute']
});
Add numeric refinements
helper.addNumericRefinement('numericAttribute', '=', '3').search();
// filter to only the results that match numericAttribute=3
helper.addNumericRefinement('numericAttribute', '=', '4').search();
// filter to only the results that match numericAttribute=3 AND numericAttribute=4

// On another numeric with no previous filter
helper.addNumericRefinement('numericAttribute2', '=', ['42', '56', '37'] ).search();
// filter to only the results that match numericAttribute=42 OR numericAttribute2=56 OR numericAttribute2=37
Remove a numeric refinement
helper.removeNumericRefinement('numericAttribute', '=', '3').search();
Batch numeric filter removal
// for the single operator = on numericAttribute
helper.removeNumericRefinement('numericAttribute', '=').search();
// for all the refinements on numericAttribute
helper.removeNumericRefinement('numericAttribute').search();

Hierarchical facets

Hierarchical facets are useful to build such navigation menus:

| products
  > fruits
    > citrus
    | strawberries
    | peaches
    | apples

Here, we refined the search this way:

  • click on fruits
  • click on citrus
Usage

To build such menu, you need to use hierarchical faceting:

var helper = algoliasearchHelper(client, indexName, {
  hierarchicalFacets: [{
    name: 'products',
    attributes: ['categories.lvl0', 'categories.lvl1']
  }]
});

Requirements: All the specified attributes must be defined in your Algolia settings as attributes for faceting.

Given your objects looks like this:

{
  "objectID": "123",
  "name": "orange",
  "categories": {
    "lvl0": "fruits",
    "lvl1": "fruits > citrus"
  }
}

And you refine products:

helper.toggleFacetRefinement('products', 'fruits > citrus');

You will get a hierarchical presentation of your facet values: a navigation menu of your facet values.

helper.on('result', function(data){
  console.log(data.hierarchicalFacets[0]);
  // {
  //   'name': 'products',
  //   'count': null,
  //   'isRefined': true,
  //   'path': null,
  //   'data': [{
  //     'name': 'fruits',
  //     'path': 'fruits',
  //     'count': 1,
  //     'isRefined': true,
  //     'data': [{
  //       'name': 'citrus',
  //       'path': 'fruits > citrus',
  //       'count': 1,
  //       'isRefined': true,
  //       'data': null
  //     }]
  //   }]
  // }
});

To ease navigation, we always:

  • provide the root level categories
  • provide the current refinement sub categories (fruits > citrus > *: n + 1)
  • provide the parent refinement (fruits > citrus => fruits: n -1) categories
  • refine the search using the current hierarchical refinement
Multiple values per level

Your records can also share multiple categories between one another by using arrays inside your object:

{
  "objectID": "123",
  "name": "orange",
  "categories": {
    "lvl0": ["fruits", "color"],
    "lvl1": ["fruits > citrus", "color > orange"]
  }
},
{
  "objectID": "456",
  "name": "grapefruit",
  "categories": {
    "lvl0": ["fruits", "color", "new"],
    "lvl1": ["fruits > citrus", "color > yellow", "new > citrus"]
  }
}
Specifying another separator
var helper = algoliasearchHelper(client, indexName, {
  hierarchicalFacets: [{
    name: 'products',
    attributes: ['categories.lvl0', 'categories.lvl1'],
    separator: '|'
  }]
});

helper.toggleFacetRefinement('products', 'fruits|citrus');

Would mean that your objects look like so:

{
  "objectID": "123",
  "name": "orange",
  "categories": {
    "lvl0": "fruits",
    "lvl1": "fruits|citrus"
  }
}
Specifying a different sort order for values

The default sort for the hierarchical facet view is: isRefined:desc (first show refined), name:asc (then sort by name).

You can specify a different sort order by using:

var helper = algoliasearchHelper(client, indexName, {
  hierarchicalFacets: [{
    name: 'products',
    attributes: ['categories.lvl0', 'categories.lvl1'],
    sortBy: ['count:desc', 'name:asc'] // first show the most common values, then sort by name
  }]
});

The available sort tokens are:

  • count
  • isRefined
  • name
  • path
Restrict results and hierarchical values to non-root level

Let's say you have a lot of levels:

- fruits
  - yellow
    - citrus
      - spicy

But you only want to get the values starting at "citrus", you can use rootPath

You can specify an root path to filter the hierarchical values

var helper = algoliasearchHelper(client, indexName, {
  hierarchicalFacets: [{
    name: 'products',
    attributes: ['categories.lvl0', 'categories.lvl1', 'categories.lvl2', 'categories.lvl3'],
    rootPath: 'fruits > yellow > citrus'
  }]
});

Having a rootPath will refine the results on it automatically.

Hide parent level of current parent level

By default the hierarchical facet is going to return the child and parent facet values of the current refinement.

If you do not want to get the parent facet values you can set showParentLevel to false

var helper = algoliasearchHelper(client, indexName, {
  hierarchicalFacets: [{
    name: 'products',
    attributes: ['categories.lvl0', 'categories.lvl1'],
    showParentLevel: false
  }]
});
Asking for the current breadcrumb
var helper = algoliasearchHelper(client, indexName, {
  hierarchicalFacets: [{
    name: 'products',
    attributes: ['categories.lvl0', 'categories.lvl1'],
    separator: '|'
  }]
});

helper.toggleFacetRefinement('products', 'fruits|citrus');
var breadcrumb = helper.getHierarchicalFacetBreadcrumb('products');

console.log(breadcrumb);
// ['fruits', 'citrus']

console.log(breadcrumb.join(' | '));
// 'fruits | citrus'

Clearing filters

Clear all the refinements for all the refined attributes
helper.clearRefinements().search();
Clear all the refinements for a specific attribute
helper.clearRefinements('ANDFacet').search();
[ADVANCED] Clear only the exclusions on the "ANDFacet" attribute
helper.clearRefinements(function(value, attribute, type) {
  return type === 'exclude' && attribute === 'ANDFacet';
}).search();

Facet utilities

Get the values of a facet with the default sort

helper.on('result', function(result) {
  // Get the facet values for the attribute age
  result.getFacetValues('age');
  // It will be ordered :
  //  - refined facets first
  //  - then ordered by number of occurence (bigger count -> higher in the list)
  //  - then ordered by name (alphabetically)
});

Get the values of a facet with a custom sort

helper.on('result', function(result) {
  // Get the facet values for the attribute age
  result.getFacetValues('age', {sortBy: ['count:asc']});
  // It will be ordered by number of occurence (lower number => higher position)
  // Elements that can be sorted : count, name, isRefined
  // Type of sort : 'asc' for ascending order, 'desc' for descending order
});

Get the facet stats

This only apply on numeric based facets/attributes.

helper.on('result', function(result) {
  // Get the facet values for the attribute age
  result.getFacetStats('age');
});

Tags

Tags are an easy way to do filtering. They are based on a special attribute in the records named _tags, which can be a single string value or an array of strings.

Add a tag filter for the value "landscape"

helper.addTag('landscape').search();

Remove a tag filter for the value "landscape"

helper.removeTag('landscape').search();

Clear all the tags filters

helper.clearTags().search();

Pagination

Get the current page

helper.getPage();

Change page

helper.setPage(3).search();

Automatic reset to page 0

During a search, changing the parameters will update the result set, which can then change the number of pages in the result set. Therefore, the behavior has been standardized so that any operation that may change the number of page will reset the pagination to page 0.

This may lead to some unexpected behavior. For example:

helper.setPage(4);
helper.getPage(); // 4
helper.setQuery('foo');
helper.getPage(); // 0

Non exhaustive list of operations that trigger a reset:

  • refinements (conjunctive, exclude, disjunctive, hierarchical, numeric)
  • tags
  • index (setIndex)
  • setQuery
  • setHitsPerPage
  • setTypoTolerance

Index

Index can be changed. The common use case is when you have several slaves with different sort order (sort by relevance, price or any other attribute).

Change the current index

helper.setIndex('index_orderByPrice').search();

Get the current index

var currentIndex = helper.getIndex();

One time query

Sometime it's convenient to reuse the current search parameters with small changes without changing the state stored in the helper. That's why there is a function called searchOnce. This method does not trigger change or error events.

In the following, we are using searchOnce to fetch only a single element using all the other parameters already set in the search parameters.

Using searchOnce with a callback

var state = helper.searchOnce(
  {hitsPerPage: 1},
  function(error, content, state) {
    // if an error occured it will be passed in error, otherwise its value is null
    // content contains the results formatted as a SearchResults
    // state is the instance of SearchParameters used for this search
  });

Using searchOnce with a promise

var state1 = helper.searchOnce({hitsPerPage: 1})
                   .then(function(res) {
  // res contains
  // {
  //   content : SearchResults
  //   state : SearchParameters (the one used for this specific search)
  // }
});

URL Helpers

Set the state from a query string

helper.setState(algoliasearchHelper.url.getStateFromQueryString(qs));

Get a plain object with a subset of the state

// to an object with the query and all the refinements
helper.getState(['query', 'attribute:*']);

Get an object for the helper configuration in the query string

var state = algoliasearchHelper.url.getStateFromQueryString(qs);

Get the configuration contained in the query string that is not for the helper

var otherConf = algoliasearchHelper.url.getUnrecognizedParametersInQueryString(qs);

Get the query string of any state

var state = helper.getState();
var qs = algoliasearchHelper.url.getQueryStringFromState(state);

Query parameters

There are lots of other parameters you can set.

Set a parameter at the initialization of the helper

var helper = algoliasearchHelper(client, indexName, {
    hitsPerPage: 50
});

Set a parameter later

helper.setQueryParameter('hitsPerPage', 20).search();

List of parameters that can be set

Name

Type

Description

advancedSyntax

boolean

Enable the advanced syntax.

advancedSyntax on Algolia.com

allowTyposOnNumericTokens

boolean

Should the engine allow typos on numerics.

allowTyposOnNumericTokens on Algolia.com

analytics

boolean

Enable the analytics

analytics on Algolia.com

analyticsTags

string

Tag of the query in the analytics.

analyticsTags on Algolia.com

aroundLatLng

string

Center of the geo search.

aroundLatLng on Algolia.com

aroundLatLngViaIP

boolean

Center of the search, retrieve from the user IP.

aroundLatLngViaIP on Algolia.com

aroundPrecision

number

Precision of the geo search.

aroundPrecision on Algolia.com

aroundRadius

number

Radius of the geo search.

aroundRadius on Algolia.com

minimumAroundRadius

number

Minimum radius of the geo search.

minimumAroundRadius on Algolia.com

attributesToHighlight

string

List of attributes to highlight

attributesToHighlight on Algolia.com

attributesToRetrieve

string

List of attributes to retrieve

attributesToRetrieve on Algolia.com

attributesToSnippet

string

List of attributes to snippet

attributesToSnippet on Algolia.com

disjunctiveFacets

Array.<string>

All the declared disjunctive facets

distinct

boolean|number

Remove duplicates based on the index setting attributeForDistinct

distinct on Algolia.com

facets

Array.<string>

All the facets that will be requested to the server

getRankingInfo

integer

Enable the ranking informations in the response

getRankingInfo on Algolia.com

hitsPerPage

number

Number of hits to be returned by the search API

hitsPerPage on Algolia.com

ignorePlurals

boolean

Should the plurals be ignored

ignorePlurals on Algolia.com

insideBoundingBox

string

Geo search inside a box.

insideBoundingBox on Algolia.com

insidePolygon

string

Geo search inside a polygon.

insidePolygon on Algolia.com

maxValuesPerFacet

number

Number of values for each facetted attribute

maxValuesPerFacet on Algolia.com

minWordSizefor1Typo

number

Number of characters to wait before doing one character replacement.

minWordSizefor1Typo on Algolia.com

minWordSizefor2Typos

number

Number of characters to wait before doing a second character replacement.

minWordSizefor2Typos on Algolia.com

optionalWords

string

Add some optional words to those defined in the dashboard

optionalWords on Algolia.com

page

number

The current page number

page on Algolia.com

query

string

Query string of the instant search. The empty string is a valid query.

query on Algolia.com

queryType

string

How the query should be treated by the search engine. Possible values: prefixAll, prefixLast, prefixNone

queryType on Algolia.com

removeWordsIfNoResults

string

Possible values are "lastWords" "firstWords" "allOptional" "none" (default)

removeWordsIfNoResults on Algolia.com

replaceSynonymsInHighlight

boolean

Should the engine replace the synonyms in the highlighted results.

replaceSynonymsInHighlight on Algolia.com

restrictSearchableAttributes

string

Restrict which attribute is searched.

restrictSearchableAttributes on Algolia.com

synonyms

boolean

Enable the synonyms

synonyms on Algolia.com

tagFilters

string

Contains the tag filters in the raw format of the Algolia API. Setting this parameter is not compatible with the of the add/remove/toggle methods of the tag api.

tagFilters on Algolia.com

typoTolerance

string

How the typo tolerance behave in the search engine. Possible values: true, false, min, strict

typoTolerance on Algolia.com

Results format

Here is an example of a result object you get with the result event.

{
   "hitsPerPage": 10,
   "processingTimeMS": 2,
   "facets": [
      {
         "name": "type",
         "data": {
            "HardGood": 6627,
            "BlackTie": 550,
            "Music": 665,
            "Software": 131,
            "Game": 456,
            "Movie": 1571
         },
         "exhaustive": false
      },
      {
         "exhaustive": false,
         "data": {
            "Free shipping": 5507
         },
         "name": "shipping"
      }
   ],
   "hits": [
      {
         "thumbnailImage": "http://img.bbystatic.com/BestBuy_US/images/products/1688/1688832_54x108_s.gif",
         "_highlightResult": {
            "shortDescription": {
               "matchLevel": "none",
               "value": "Safeguard your PC, Mac, Android and iOS devices with comprehensive Internet protection",
               "matchedWords": []
            },
            "category": {
               "matchLevel": "none",
               "value": "Computer Security Software",
               "matchedWords": []
            },
            "manufacturer": {
               "matchedWords": [],
               "value": "Webroot",
               "matchLevel": "none"
            },
            "name": {
               "value": "Webroot SecureAnywhere Internet Security (3-Device) (1-Year Subscription) - Mac/Windows",
               "matchedWords": [],
               "matchLevel": "none"
            }
         },
         "image": "http://img.bbystatic.com/BestBuy_US/images/products/1688/1688832_105x210_sc.jpg",
         "shipping": "Free shipping",
         "bestSellingRank": 4,
         "shortDescription": "Safeguard your PC, Mac, Android and iOS devices with comprehensive Internet protection",
         "url": "http://www.bestbuy.com/site/webroot-secureanywhere-internet-security-3-devi…d=1219060687969&skuId=1688832&cmp=RMX&ky=2d3GfEmNIzjA0vkzveHdZEBgpPCyMnLTJ",
         "name": "Webroot SecureAnywhere Internet Security (3-Device) (1-Year Subscription) - Mac/Windows",
         "category": "Computer Security Software",
         "salePrice_range": "1 - 50",
         "objectID": "1688832",
         "type": "Software",
         "customerReviewCount": 5980,
         "salePrice": 49.99,
         "manufacturer": "Webroot"
      },
      ....
   ],
   "nbHits": 10000,
   "disjunctiveFacets": [
      {
         "exhaustive": false,
         "data": {
            "5": 183,
            "12": 112,
            "7": 149,
            ...
         },
         "name": "customerReviewCount",
         "stats": {
            "max": 7461,
            "avg": 157.939,
            "min": 1
         }
      },
      {
         "data": {
            "Printer Ink": 142,
            "Wireless Speakers": 60,
            "Point & Shoot Cameras": 48,
            ...
         },
         "name": "category",
         "exhaustive": false
      },
      {
         "exhaustive": false,
         "data": {
            "> 5000": 2,
            "1 - 50": 6524,
            "501 - 2000": 566,
            "201 - 500": 1501,
            "101 - 200": 1360,
            "2001 - 5000": 47
         },
         "name": "salePrice_range"
      },
      {
         "data": {
            "Dynex™": 202,
            "Insignia™": 230,
            "PNY": 72,
            ...
         },
         "name": "manufacturer",
         "exhaustive": false
      }
   ],
   "query": "",
   "nbPages": 100,
   "page": 0,
   "index": "bestbuy"
}

Browser support

This project works on any ES5 browser, basically >= IE9+.