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Implementing Composable Search for Your Site: SearchStax Studio [Part 2]

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In part 1 we considered options of implementing a unified search by our own means and effort of implementing it into our head application. This post will highlight how it compares with the offering from SearchStax, known as SearchStax Studio. And due to SearchStax being provided as a part of Sitecore Managed Cloud, this option should definitely be considered.

It is a platform that makes it quicker, easier, and less expensive for companies to deliver relevant and personalized site-search experiences on their websites. It has a rich seat of features with those we’re interested in:

  • Auto-suggest/auto-complete search
  • Faceting (refinements)
  • Pagination and sorting
  • “Did-you-mean” misspelling feature
  • Apply transformation functions to show fields
  • AI/ML that supports Auto-suggest and Related Searches

After you create an account, the next step would be to install SearchStax Connector which integrates into publishing pipeline to intercept and pass the published data to a SearchStax Cloud instance. The connector automates many of the manual tasks involved with connecting a Sitecore installation to a SearchStax Cloud instance and accelerates the process (you must be the account Owner, an account Admin, or a Technical Contact to have enough permissions to it).

Next, you configure content indexes and a custom crawler for Content Hub. Under the hood SearchStax uses old good Solr, so I assume the scope is similar to what I described in the previous post (common schema, sharding, etc.). But since SearchStax is a SaaS solution, it is not something you can do by yourself, SearchStax will do that job for you, however, this one-time job comes at a separate expense.

The good news is that SearchStax Studio fits well into a composable and headless world. You still need to implement Next.js front-end search components (only UI part of it) using provided Search API which is pretty powerful. There is also eDisMax query parser you can incorporate into your front-end implementation and simply pass queries as URL parameters against emselect endpoint, as below:

https://ss123456-cvrfzabx-us-east-1-aws.searchstax.com/solr/ss123456-SearchStudioCorpSite/emselect?q="sitecore plugin“~20

There is also built-in Search Analytics for tracking searches and clicks.

Pricing varies per tier, the most advanced Enterprise tier with up to 1M of indexed items and 1M of requests/month costs ~$1.5K/month.

You may also want to take a look at the SearchStax Studio real-world implementation available through this link which demonstrates most of its features in action: content type, facets, multisite, paging and sorting, as well as the search bar itself and page results – all done in a nice headless manner.

In the next part, we’ll go through a more advanced (but at the same time more expensive) offering – Coveo.

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Martin Miles

Martin is a Sitecore Expert and .NET technical solution architect involved in producing enterprise web and mobile applications, with 20 years of overall commercial development experience. Since 2010 working exclusively with Sitecore as a digital platform. With excellent knowledge of XP, XC, and SaaS / Cloud offerings from Sitecore, he participated in more than 20 successful implementations, producing user-friendly and maintainable systems for clients. Martin is a prolific member of the Sitecore community. He is the author and creator of the Sitecore Link project and one of the best tools for automating Sitecore development and maintenance - Sifon. He is also the founder of the Sitecore Discussion Club and, co-organizer of the Los Angeles Sitecore user group, creator of the Sitecore Telegram channel that has brought the best insight from the Sitecore world since late 2017.

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