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Algolia DevCon: The making of the Dev Builds videos
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On September 14th and 15th, 2022, Algolia ran a conference called DevCon — check out the recap and view presentation videos here. There were many fantastic talks, like the Senior DevRel at OpenBase talking about five lessons that they learned while building their extremely popular service, and Alexandre Collin, a Product Manager at Algolia, walking us through the evolution of InstantSearch. And at any big event that we watch through our devices, the commercials are part of the program, too! So if you’d like to get the rundown on and view the cool projects — Dev Builds — made by dev community members that we slipped in between the main talks at DevCon, then keep reading!

Anthony — Orchestra Search

Anthony is a core maintainer of the RedwoodJS project and a Developer Advocate at QuickNode. Before learning web development, he was a music teacher (there seems to be so many people in tech with a music background), so Anthony has always had a mind for creative problem-solving.

I’m sure that those of us outside of the music world have wondered about how orchestras work at one point or another, so Anthony put together an app to help us search through the different instruments in an orchestra, the categories that they belong to, and the notes that they can hit. You can find the open index here — upload that JSON into any Algolia application to get started experimenting with, even before you have any data of your own.

Ashley — Ecommerce Chatbot

Ashley is a Developer Advocate at RenderATL and a Community Engineer at Mux. As a sociologist and an alum of Pinterest, Tumblr, and Mailchimp, she’s well-equipped to build tech that truly helps people and makes us feel good.

For Algolia DevCon, she built a vintage luxury consignment store prototype with Commerce.JS, React Simple Chatbot, and Algolia to put fashion sense at our fingertips. That storefront page contains a chatbot that functions as a more interactive search tool, allowing users to fluidly describe their style, with the bot suggesting some items that fit the user’s particular aesthetic. It works by isolating keywords from the messages that the user sends to the chatbot and dynamically loads Algolia search results into that window, giving the customer the flexibility to find what matches their abstract style without searching by brand name or other specific qualifiers.

One of the biggest challenges that Ashley faced was synchronizing the product inventory in Commerce.JS (which customers would see displayed in the storefront) and the search index in Algolia (which is what the chatbot is searching through). One way to fix this would be to use the Algolia Commerce.JS official integration, which removes the complexity of that data pipeline, but she opted to roll it herself with a custom Commerce.JS webhook that triggers an Algolia index update whenever the product database changes. A great showcasing of the tools combined abilities!

Trezy — Twitch Bot

Trezy is a popular coding live streamer and serial open-source contributor known especially for his project fdgt.dev, an API so testing and debugging Twitch apps doesn’t actually empty our wallets.

For Algolia DevCon, Trezy built a Twitch bot to interface with DocSearch to bring documentation information to stream viewers without them ever having to leave Twitch. The app has three commands that work together to look up something in a DocSearch-enabled docs site and then paginate through the results. It’s a useful tool for chat moderators, as it lets them easily explain what’s going on in the stream and how the viewers could follow along at home, even without prior experience.

If you’re interested in learning how Algolia works and what you can do with it on your team, that’s what the rest of DevCon was about! Take a look at this playlist on YouTube to watch the full-length presentations and demos, and feel free to reach out to us on Twitter if you have any specific questions!

Until next year,

Algolia DevCon Team

About the author
Jaden Baptista

Technical Writer

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