Faceted Search is a powerful search feature that allows users to explore content library by applying multiple filters to their search results. Though, Lithium has a great out-of-the box search feature with multiple filters for the advanced search but as we were building a multi-platform online community where all the search results had to be collected and rendered on one platform, we had to develop a custom solution.
We were working with one instance of Lithium and two instances of Zendesk. The requirement was to get the search content from all the 3 instances and render the results in one place, i.e. in Lithium. SOLR, was used as the search platform to index all the data.
Features Required in the Community
- Auto Suggest
- Cross Platform Search
The first step to setup the search was to index all the data from Lithium platform and the two Zendesk platforms to the SOLR server. To achieve this, we used the respective REST APIs exposed by Lithium and Zendesk.
Architecture & Workflow
SOLR offers powerful full-text search, highlighted search, faceted search, near real-time indexing, dynamic clustering, database integration, rich document (e.g. Word, PDF) etc. Following is the workflow for the integration:
The workflow was simple. Store the data from Lithium and Zendesk in the SOLR index, and then displays the combined search results from all 3 locations in one location when a search is performed. Also, we needed to provide the facets for the user to narrow down the search to specific areas. The results had to be up to date, with the most relevant results coming on the top. The priority was to be given to the one of the two Zendesk platforms over the Lithium community data.
After 3 Weeks of development, we got the search up and running on the website with the relevant search results coming from all the platforms and the facets for the users to narrow down, refine and sort their search. The search is currently live on http://community.optimizely.com
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