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Building for developers—a tour of new features and resources in 2017

Jun 7th 2017 algolia

Building for developers—a tour of new features and resources in 2017

New API features, libraries, dashboard upgrades and community tools have been rolling out this year at a steady pace. In case you missed anything, I’m here to give you a panoramic look at what Algolia has made available to developers since the year began. Milliseconds matter, so let’s go!

New API features

Search for facet values

In March, we announced search for facet values. Faceting is an essential element of search but sometimes the number of facet values can be hundreds or thousands. A list of checkboxes would be way too long to handle that, but a search box is just the right size.

Search for facet values requires no additional index configuration by the developer, just add the InstantSearch widget to your UI. To learn more check out this video with Solutions Engineer Alexandre Collin, recorded at our React-themed Search Party in January.

Algolia Vault

Developers who work in sensitive fields like government and healthcare have additional compliance requirements. Algolia Vault is a way to address these needs in a convenient but highly secure way. Send us an email to schedule a demo.


InstantSearch React

Since the launch of InstantSearch React last December, we have continued to act fast on the feedback coming from the early adopters. The latest version, 4.0.0, lets you query multiple indices simultaneously and also connect an external autocomplete. We also created a new video that shows how to build a fully working search with React in less than 15 minutes.

We are very proud of our InstantSearch React engineer Marie-Laure Thuret, who was selected to give a talk about testing React UI components with React Storybook at ReactConf 2017.

Algolia engineer Marie-Laure Thuret speaking at React Conf 2017

InstantSearch Android

InstantSearch Android is the newest member of the Instant Search family. Read the release announcement to learn about the challenges of building search on Android and how this library helps you address them. If you’re an Android developer we’d love for you to try it out and share your feedback.

InstantSearch v2

The original, framework-agnostic JavaScript InstantSearch has just kicked off a beta for v2. This represents a significant upgrade, adding among other things a connector-style API similar to React InstantSearch, which makes working with components much more flexible.

Algolia Offline

In February we announced the release of Algolia Offlinea solution for providing a mobile search experience even where there is little or no network connectivity. This is available today for both Android and iOS. We’re very happy to count great applications like AllTrails in the community of early Algolia offline users – read here about how AllTrails uses Algolia offline.

Unifying Algolia iOS

We now support both Swift and Objective-C API clients with the same codebase, written entirely in Swift. Read more about the journey to supporting two languages done by our engineer Clément Le Provost, who deserves a big hand for all of his contributions on mobile.


If code is the heart of the developer experience, then documentation is the soul. We understand how critical accurate, complete documentation is to our developers. In the last year, we have done one major reorganization on and we are taking all of your feedback into account as we prepare for another big update soon.

Please continue to share your feedback by clicking on the icon in the top right-hand corner of each documentation panel.


The Algolia dashboard is the go-to destination for configuring relevance, locating API keys, inviting team members and much more.

More intuitive ranking formula interface

Configuring and fine-tuning relevancy is essential to shipping a successful search. We’re progressively trying to make it easier to understand and debug without taking away flexibility. In the last month, we released an enhanced Ranking Formula component which gives alerts about relevancy issues and suggests optimizations.

Faster record explorer

We released a faster, cleaner record explorer built with our own library, InstantSearch React. The record explorer lets you explore the data you’ve uploaded inside of the Algolia dashboard, and includes the ability to facet and narrow down the search by all filter types.


Community forum

Officially released in December, the Algolia community forum has grown to over 600 users and now averages over 40 new posts per day. The forum is the official place for our developers to ask questions, get help and exchange useful information about search.

The forum is also the home of the Show & Tell category, where we invite you to share projects that you’ve built with Algolia. We always love to see what you build. Upon request, we’re happy to provide feedback or help you promote your project.

Code of Conduct

The Algolia Community Code of Conduct is live and applies to all of the Algolia community. We are committed to providing a welcoming, harassment-free space at all of our events and online spaces. We want to extend our sincere gratitude to Keen IO, LadyNerds and LGBTQ in Technology – our code of conduct draws heavily on their efforts.

Newly-designed open source site

Our site for helping you discover open source Algolia libraries,, has been updated to match our new design and it now has a search! This is just the first in a series of improvements to come. We’ve heard your feedback that you’d like a clearer path to submitting projects to be included – expect a better way to do that soon.

Search Party

Search Party is a meetup series for exploring the possibilities of what search can be used for and used with. So far, we’ve had a Search Party in four locations around the world, and next up is June 22 in Paris.

For each Search Party we also invite speakers to talk about broader technical topics that our developers are also interested in. In January, Preact creator Jason Miller joined us in San Francisco to speak about performance and the story of Preact, a 3KB drop-in React replacement.

Jason Miller, creator of Preact, presents at Search Party

Yarn package search

Just before the holidays, we continued our tradition of making a yearly contribution to the community by releasing an Algolia-powered package search for Yarn. Then, in March, our intern (and now employee) Haroen Viaene made it easer to find by putting a search bar at the top of every page. But that wasn’t all – at the end of April we added new package detail pages that show popularity, contributors and file trees from Here’s an example of the detail page for React.


DocSearch is now used by 250+ open source documentation sites and API portals. We’re thrilled to have Stripe in the DocSearch family and to help developers get even more out of Stripe’s amazing docs. We’re also very excited to power search for webpack, a team doing great work that we are excited to also support with an Open Collective sponsorship.

Swag – a new take

Last month at Twilio Signal we tried something new with swag. Instead of giving out bulky physical items, we donated $10 to Women Who Code for every badge we scanned. All in all, that represents over $3,000, an investment we’re thrilled to make in an organization that connects over 100,000 women working in technical careers globally. Anyone who donated received a special occasion sticker to show off on their shirt or conference badge.

Developers serving developers

Algolia only exists because of our customers, many of whom are are developers. The way we organize the company is with this in mind.

We now have a dedicated Developer Experience squad as part of our engineering organization. This squad is responsible for documentation, guides, tutorials and building tools and integrations that support our developers and customers.

We also have a Developer Advocacy team that now has three full-time developer advocates in San Francisco, Portland and Paris. We expect to add several more advocates to the team this year – yes, we’re hiring!

Beyond these teams, the majority of our engineers actively contribute to the community. This has been a tradition since the beginning of Algolia, which we make sure continues today with our culture-defined content strategy and our Speaker Program, which provides a 2-day public speaking workshop and CFP assistance to anyone in the company who wants to get up on stage.

Thank you!

Last but never least, I want to say thank you to all of the developers who are choosing Algolia to build their search. We know that search is one of the most critical features of your application and we will continue to work hard to fulfill your expectations – to be open and transparent about our technology, our roadmap and our goals as a company. Let’s continue to build great things together!

About the author
Josh Dzielak

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