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What is retail analytics and how can it inform your data-driven ecommerce merchandising strategy?
e-commerce

What is retail analytics and how can it inform your data-driven ecommerce merchandising strategy?

There is such tremendous activity both on and off of retailer websites today that it would be impossible to make ...

Catherine Dee

Search and Discovery writer

8 ways to use merchandising data to boost your online store ROI
e-commerce

8 ways to use merchandising data to boost your online store ROI

New year, new goals. Sounds positive, but looking at your sales data, your revenue and profit aren’t so hot ...

John Stewart

VP, Corporate Communications and Brand

Algolia DocSearch + Astro Starlight
engineering

Algolia DocSearch + Astro Starlight

What is Astro Starlight? If you're building a documentation site, your content needs to be easy to write and ...

Jaden Baptista

Technical Writer

What role does AI play in recommendation systems and engines?
ai

What role does AI play in recommendation systems and engines?

You put that in your cart. How about this cool thing to go with it? You liked that? Here are ...

Catherine Dee

Search and Discovery writer

How AI can help improve your user experience
ux

How AI can help improve your user experience

They say you get one chance to make a great first impression. With visual design on ecommerce web pages, this ...

Jon Silvers

Director, Digital Marketing

Keeping your Algolia search index up to date
product

Keeping your Algolia search index up to date

When creating your initial Algolia index, you may seed the index with an initial set of data. This is convenient ...

Jaden Baptista

Technical Writer

Merchandising in the AI era
e-commerce

Merchandising in the AI era

For merchandisers, every website visit is an opportunity to promote products to potential buyers. In the era of AI, incorporating ...

Tariq Khan

Director of Content Marketing

Debunking the most common AI myths
ai

Debunking the most common AI myths

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE CAN’T BE TRUSTED, shouts the headline on your social media newsfeed. Is that really true, or is ...

Vincent Caruana

Senior Digital Marketing Manager, SEO

How AI can benefit the retail industry
ai

How AI can benefit the retail industry

Artificial intelligence is on a roll. It’s strengthening healthcare diagnostics, taking on office grunt work, helping banks combat fraud ...

Catherine Dee

Search and Discovery writer

How ecommerce AI is reshaping business
e-commerce

How ecommerce AI is reshaping business

Like other modern phenomena such as social media, artificial intelligence has landed on the ecommerce industry scene with a giant ...

Vincent Caruana

Senior Digital Marketing Manager, SEO

AI-driven smart merchandising: what it is and why your ecommerce store needs it
ai

AI-driven smart merchandising: what it is and why your ecommerce store needs it

Do you dream of having your own personal online shopper? Someone familiar and fun who pops up every time you ...

Catherine Dee

Search and Discovery writer

NRF 2024: A cocktail of inspiration and innovation
e-commerce

NRF 2024: A cocktail of inspiration and innovation

Retail’s big show, NRF 2024, once again brought together a wide spectrum of practitioners focused on innovation and transformation ...

Reshma Iyer

Director of Product Marketing, Ecommerce

How AI-powered personalization is transforming the user and customer experience
ai

How AI-powered personalization is transforming the user and customer experience

In a world of so many overwhelming choices for consumers, how can you best engage with the shoppers who visit ...

Vincent Caruana

Senior Digital Marketing Manager, SEO

Unveiling the future: Algolia’s AI revolution at NRF Retail Big Show
algolia

Unveiling the future: Algolia’s AI revolution at NRF Retail Big Show

Get ready for an exhilarating journey into the future of retail as Algolia takes center stage at the NRF Retail ...

John Stewart

VP Corporate Marketing

How to master personalization with AI
ai

How to master personalization with AI

Picture ecommerce in its early days: businesses were just beginning to discover the power of personalized marketing. They’d divide ...

Ciprian Borodescu

AI Product Manager | On a mission to help people succeed through the use of AI

5 best practices for nailing the ecommerce virtual assistant user experience
ai

5 best practices for nailing the ecommerce virtual assistant user experience

“Hello there, how can I help you today?”, asks the virtual shopping assistant in the lower right-hand corner ...

Vincent Caruana

Senior Digital Marketing Manager, SEO

Add InstantSearch and Autocomplete to your search experience in just 5 minutes
product

Add InstantSearch and Autocomplete to your search experience in just 5 minutes

A good starting point for building a comprehensive search experience is a straightforward app template. When crafting your application’s ...

Imogen Lovera

Senior Product Manager

Best practices of conversion-focused ecommerce website design
e-commerce

Best practices of conversion-focused ecommerce website design

The inviting ecommerce website template that balances bright colors with plenty of white space. The stylized fonts for the headers ...

Catherine Dee

Search and Discovery writer

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Editor’s note: This blog post is an April Fool’s faux product launch. However, to see how we actually built the real demo for ‘launch’, see our full explanation.

At Algolia, we are always pushing the boundaries of search. Today is an important day for us as it marks the official release of our 11th API Client: the CSS API Client.

CSS is an awesome language. It only takes you a few years of practice to be able to style a minimalist website in a matter of days.

Lately, we’ve seen more and more discussion about its place in regards to JavaScript. One side thinks that CSS and JavaScript have very different goals, and should be kept in separate parts of your code, to have a clearer separation of concerns. Others argue that one cannot live without the other and that CSS should be inlined directly inside JavaScript.

At Algolia, we’ve decided to take a stance to stop this never-ending debate once and for all. We came to the conclusion that both sides were wrong, and that CSS was a language so powerful that you do not actually need any JavaScript.

That’s right: we decided to get rid of JavaScript altogether.

JavaScript: 1993-2017

Look, JavaScript is an impressive language. We even considered rewriting our whole engine with it at some point. JavaScript is asynchronous, so it is fast by definition.

Unfortunately, the language is not mature enough for us. A new version of it is released every year, which shows how unstable it is. On the other hand, CSS3 was released in 1998, without any new version since then. We think it sends a clear signal that CSS is the mature and stable tech.

CSS: superiority through simplicity

CSS also has none of the features that bloats other programming languages. It has no conditions, no loops, no functions and no regexps. It is pure. You can write concise selectors like #class.id:not(:checked) + a blink:nth-child(2n+1) that clearly expresses your intent at first glance.

We’ve exposed our entire search engine using just CSS, and you can try it live.

Seriously, it actually exists. It’s typo-tolerant, handles synonyms, highlighting, faceting & more.

Animated demo of the CSS API Client in action
Try it live!

A truly offline search for your web browser

The best part of the client is that it works offline. There are no actual requests done to our servers, everything is directly handled by your browser. It means that once you’ve download the initial CSS file, you can unplug and search away. That’s what we call Offline Search!

No call to the API also means that you have unlimited operations. You can search all day long in the same 100 records, and it won’t cost you a cent. Every request being handled by your browser means that you are now using your 8 cores at their maximum potential. We’ve actually started shutting down 2/3 of our datacenters because we are anticipating a much lower load thanks to this CSS release.

One API Client to rule them all

You know the saying: “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away”. So, we removed a lot of features.

You won’t need data instantly replicated all around the globe to reduce latency because the data now lives in your browser; you can’t get any closer than that.

At Algolia, we also take great pride in having extensive documentation and code examples for all our API clients. We’ll remove those other clients, obviously, because we know you won’t need any other API client than the CSS one.

We are so confident in the quality of this release, that it will work flawlessly, everywhere, every time, and that there will never be any bugs, that we decided it’s no longer necessary to offer support for it. This shows how committed we are.

Finally, because there are no calls to the API, we decided to remove Analytics and the 99.999% SLA from our services. It was a hard decision to make, but when we weighed the pros and cons, it was clear that we needed to remove all the features that didn’t bring any value. Instead, we added support for flexbox.

Next Steps: CSS Everywhere

This whole experiment opened our eyes on a brand new world. We’ve already starting working on our new Machine Learning processing pipeline in CSS. Stay tuned!

Try our new CSS API Client live

About the author
Tim Carry

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