Learn a CTO’s perspective on Algolia vs. Elasticsearch.

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On June 19 & 20th, I had the chance to participate to LeWeb 2012 London edition. This year theme was “Faster than Real Time” and we had an impressive list of speakers! But the true value of LeWeb is elsewhere: It’s in the 1283 people from 52 countries who were present and with whom you could network!

They chose Presdo Match to help people meet and honestly… this tool would benefit from some improvements, especially a mobile version! Still, I was able to find no fewer than 100 participants having the “mobile” keyword in their profile and, from there, organize a handful of meetings. Thanks to all of you who accepted to meet me or whom I met unplanned, with a special thanks to Paul ArdeleanuGora SudindranathLindsey C. HolmesMarius RostadKevin McDonagh and Alexandre Delivet for their precious feedbacks about Algolia.

Cities Suggest Demo
Cities Suggest demo @ LeWeb

I had the opportunity to do the very first demonstrations of our instant suggest lib, and that was both exhilarating and frustrating! We chose to develop a small proof of concept suggesting city names from anywhere in the world. Here’s what I learned:

  • A demo is better than many words! Even if most people knew what I meant by “google instant suggest”, the demo was key in clarifying our offering.
  • Even if we chose cities because it was easy to demonstrate (thanks to the geonames database), it can be interesting in itself!
  • 100ms seemed a pretty fast response time in our initial testing, but it’s actually way too slow to have a smooth user experience.

Over all that was a very good experience, and I came back with a few improvements to implement (most coming from my own frustration showing the demo while the feedback was actually very positive!)

The most important piece of feedback was about the perceived sluggishness of the app. We decided to implement an asynchronous version of the lib. Beware, it actually comes with a drawback for our users; It’s significantly more difficult to integrate. But it did not take long for us to decide it was the way to go, since the perception of speed is so natural that the benefit far outweighs the longer integration code. We’ll now work on simplifying it!

We’ll soon do a post about this demo. In the meantime, stay tuned!



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