Concepts / Building Search UI / Getting started
Mar. 12, 2019

Getting started

You are reading the documentation for Angular InstantSearch v3, which is in beta. You can find the v2 documentation here.

Welcome to Angular InstantSearch

Angular InstantSearch is an Angular library that lets you create an instant search results experience using Algolia’s search API.

To get started, you will build a search UI for an e-commerce website. You will learn how to:

  • Display and format the search bar and results
  • Use pre-built UI components (widgets) to filter results

Your goal is to create a fully working Angular InstantSearch app as fast as possible. We provide you with the data, installation instructions, and a step-by-step process with all necessary code. We will not explain how everything is wired together yet, but you’ll be able to dig into the library immediately after.

Live Demo

Here’s what you’ll build in a couple of minutes:

If you haven’t done so yet, take a look at our interactive getting started tutorial. It literally takes 2 minutes to complete.

⚡️ Let’s go!

Build a simple UI

Bootstrap your application

To easily bootstrap a working Angular InstantSearch app in seconds, you can use an app we set up with Angular CLI in which we installed Angular InstantSearch.

Open a terminal and paste these lines:

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git clone https://github.com/algolia/doc-code-samples/
cd doc-code-samples/Angular\ InstantSearch/getting-started

This generates a folder on your machine that looks like this:

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getting-started/
├── node_modules/
├── src/
├── e2e/
├── package.json
├── tsconfig.json
├── tslint.json
├── angular.json
├── README.md
└── yarn.lock

Your application uses predefined credentials (application ID, API key and index name) that we provide as part of this getting started.

Angular InstantSearch can be installed via an npm package in your already existing Angular application. This is covered in detail in the installation guide.

Initialization

If you are not using the repository for this demo, but are starting from an existing angular project, you can install Angular InstantSearch like this:

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npm install angular-instantsearch@beta instantsearch.js@latest algoliasearch instantsearch.css

We will also need to import NgAisModule into your app root module

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// app.module.ts
import { BrowserModule } from '@angular/platform-browser';
import { NgModule } from '@angular/core';
import { NgAisModule } from 'angular-instantsearch';

import { AppComponent } from './app.component';

@NgModule({
  declarations: [AppComponent],
  imports: [NgAisModule.forRoot(), BrowserModule],
  providers: [],
  bootstrap: [AppComponent]
})
export class AppModule { }

Then you need to update the file named polyfills.ts to add, at the bottom of the file:

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(window as any).process = {
  env: { DEBUG: undefined },
};

Add the Search UI Code

Then, open the src/app/app.component.html component, replace the whole file with the following:

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<ais-instantsearch [config]="{ appId: 'YourApplicationID', apiKey: 'YourSearchOnlyAPIKey', indexName: 'demo_ecommerce' }">
  <ais-search-box></ais-search-box>
  <ais-hits>
    <ng-template let-hits="hits">
      <ol class="ais-Hits-list">
        <li *ngFor="let hit of hits" class="ais-Hits-item">
         {{hit.name}}
        </li>
      </ol>
    </ng-template>
  </ais-hits>
</ais-instantsearch>

Then in your src/style.css file, add:

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body { font-family: sans-serif; }
.ais-SearchBox { margin-bottom: 1em }

Run your project

Now that we have bootstrapped the project and added the search UI code, let’s do a first run! Inside your terminal, type:

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npm install
npm start

Then open your browser and navigate to http://localhost:3000.

You’ll see this:

💅 You nailed it! You just bootstrapped an instant-search UI in no time. Now, let’s dig into the code.

Dig in and understand the code

When you read the code of the file src/app/app.component.html, you will see three InstantSearch widgets:

  • ais-instantsearch is the root Angular InstantSearch component. All other widgets need to be wrapped by this one for them to function.
  • ais-search-box displays a nice looking Search Box for users to type queries in it.
  • ais-hits displays the results from Algolia, based on the query.

We have a lot more widgets, you can discover them all in the widget showcase.

Additionally, you can see that widgets have a pre-defined style. Read more about this in the styling guide).

Add more widgets

To make your search UI more efficient and practical for your users, let’s add some more widgets:

  • pagination
  • a way to filter the store by brands
  • a way to clear active filters

Open the file src/app/app.component.html and update its content with:

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<ais-instantsearch [config]="{ appId: 'YourApplicationID', apiKey: 'YourSearchOnlyAPIKey', indexName: 'demo_ecommerce' }">
  <div class="left-panel">
    <ais-clear-refinements />
    <h2>Brands</h2>
    <ais-refinement-list attribute="brand" searchable />
    <ais-configure :hitsPerPage="8" />
  </div>
  <div class="right-panel">
    <ais-search-box />
    <ais-hits>
      <ng-template let-hits="hits">
        <ol class="ais-Hits-list">
          <li *ngFor="let hit of hits" class="ais-Hits-item">
           {{hit.name}}
          </li>
        </ol>
      </ng-template>
    </ais-hits>
    <ais-pagination />
  </div>
</ais-instant-search>

Here are the new widgets you added:

  • ais-clear-refinements displays a button to clear the current refinements
  • ais-refinement-list displays a list of brands to filter your search
  • ais-configure allows you to pass search parameters, to reduce the number of hits
  • ais-pagination implements paging logic

In order to create the two column layout, let’s replace the content of our src/style.css file:

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body { font-family: sans-serif }
.ais-Hits-list { margin-top: 0; margin-bottom: 1em }
.ais-SearchBox { margin-bottom: 1em }
.ais-Pagination { margin-top: 1em }
.left-panel { float: left; width: 250px }
.right-panel { margin-left: 260px }
.ais-InstantSearch { max-width: 960px; overflow: hidden; margin: 0 auto }
.ais-Hits-item { margin-bottom: 1em; width: calc(50% - 1rem) }

Go to your browser, and you’ll see this:

🍬 Sweet! You just added a bunch of widgets to your first instant-search page.

Customize hits and add a final touch

Our search UI is almost complete as a simple demo. The last step is to customize the rendering of the hits to display more information than just the name of the products.

Add more information

Open the file src/app.component.html and replace the content of ng-template tag with:

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<ol class="ais-Hits-list">
  <li *ngFor="let hit of hits" class="ais-Hits-item">
     <img src="{{hit.image}}" alt="{{hit.name}}" align="left" />
     <div class="hit-name">
       <ais-highlight attribute="name" [hit]="hit"></ais-highlight>
     </div>
     <div class="hit-description">
       <ais-highlight attribute="description" [hit]="hit"></ais-highlight>
     </div>
     <div class="hit-price">${{hit.price}}</div>
   </li>
</ol>

Add formatting

For the final touch, update the content of the src/style.css file with:

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body { font-family: sans-serif; }
.ais-SearchBox { margin-bottom: 1em }
.ais-Pagination { margin-top: 1em }
.left-panel { float: left; width: 250px }
.right-panel { margin-left: 260px }
.ais-InstantSearch { max-width: 960px; overflow: hidden; margin: 0 auto }
.ais-Hits-item { margin-bottom: 1em; width: calc(50% - 1rem) }
.ais-Hits-item img { margin-right: 1em }
.hit-name { margin-bottom: .5em }
.hit-description { color: #888; font-size: 14px; margin-bottom: .5em }

Now open your browser, you’ll see this:

🚀 That’s it!

You just learned how to customize the rendering of the Hits widget. Learn more about customization in our customization guide.

Learn how we configured our dataset

You can download the dataset here.

Have a look at how to import it with Algolia here

Then you can quickly configure the index using the following code:

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// composer autoload
require __DIR__ . '/vendor/autoload.php';

// if you are not using composer
// require_once 'path/to/algoliasearch.php';

$client = \Algolia\AlgoliaSearch\SearchClient::create(
  'YourApplicationID',
  'YourAdminAPIKey'
);

$index = $client->initIndex('your_index_name');
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$index->setSettings(array(
  "searchableAttributes" => [
    "brand",
    "name",
    "categories",
    "unordered(description)"
  ],
  "customRanking" => [
    "desc(popularity)"
  ],
  "attributesForFaceting" => [
    "searchable(brand)",
    "type",
    "categories",
    "price"
  ]
));

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