Concepts / Building Search UI / Getting started
Jan. 07, 2019

Getting started

You are currently reading the documentation for Vue InstantSearch V2 currently in Beta. Read our migration guide to learn how to upgrade from V1 to V2. You can still find the V1 documentation here.

Welcome to Vue InstantSearch

Vue InstantSearch is a Vue.js 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 Vue 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 Vue InstantSearch app in seconds, you can use an app we set up with Vue CLI and installed Vue InstantSearch in.

Open a terminal and paste these lines:

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git clone https://github.com/algolia/vue-instantsearch-v2-starter

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

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ais-ecommerce-demo-app/
├── node_modules/
├── src/
├──── App.vue
├──── main.js
├── package.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.

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

Initialization

If you were not using the repository for this demo, but instead initialized your app with Vue CLI, you can install Vue InstantSearch like this:

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npm install vue-instantsearch@beta algoliasearch instantsearch.css

We will also change the contents of main.js to include the Vue InstantSearch library:

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import Vue from 'vue';
import App from './App.vue';
import InstantSearch from 'vue-instantsearch';

Vue.use(InstantSearch);

new Vue({
  el: '#app',
  render: h => h(App),
});

Add the Search UI Code

Then, open the src/App.vue component, replace the whole file, with the following:

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<template>
  <ais-instant-search :search-client="searchClient" index-name="demo_ecommerce">
    <ais-search-box />
    <ais-hits>
      <div slot="item" slot-scope="{ item }">
        <h2>{{ item.name }}</h2>
      </div>
    </ais-hits>
  </ais-instant-search>
</template>

<script>
import algoliasearch from 'algoliasearch/lite';
import 'instantsearch.css/themes/algolia-min.css';

export default {
  data() {
    return {
      searchClient: algoliasearch(
        'B1G2GM9NG0',
        'aadef574be1f9252bb48d4ea09b5cfe5'
      ),
    };
  },
};
</script>

<style>
body {
  font-family: sans-serif;
  padding: 1em;
}
</style>

One thing to note here is that we need to provide an Algolia search client to the ais-instant-search. It has to be created as part of the data, so that it can be passed to the template.

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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cd ais-ecommerce-demo-app
npm start

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

You’ll see this:

Getting started 1

💅 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.js, you will see three InstantSearch widgets:

  • ais-instant-search is the root Vue 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.vue and update the content of the App component with:

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<template>
  <ais-instant-search index-name="demo_ecommerce" :search-client="searchClient">
    <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>
        <div slot="item" slot-scope="{ item }">
          <h2>{{ item.name }}</h2>
        </div>
      </ais-hits>
      <ais-pagination />
    </div>
  </ais-instant-search>
</template>

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, here 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 the style tag with:

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body {
  font-family: sans-serif;
  padding: 1em;
}

.ais-Hits-list {
  margin-top: 0;
  margin-bottom: 1em;
}

.ais-InstantSearch {
  display: grid;
  grid-template-columns: 1fr 4fr;
  grid-gap: 1em;
}

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

Getting started 2

🍬 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.vue and replace the content of the ais-hits item slot with:

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<div slot="item" slot-scope="{ item }">
  <h2>{{ item.name }}</h2>
  <img :src="item.image" align="left" :alt="item.name" />
  <div class="hit-name">
    <ais-highlight attribute="name" :hit="item"></ais-highlight>
  </div>
  <div class="hit-description">
    <ais-highlight attribute="description" :hit="item"></ais-highlight>
  </div>
  <div class="hit-price">{{ item.price }}</div>
</div>

Add formatting

For the final touch, update the content of the style tag with:

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body {
  font-family: sans-serif;
  padding: 1em;
}

.ais-Hits-list {
  margin-top: 0;
  margin-bottom: 1em;
}

.ais-InstantSearch {
  display: grid;
  grid-template-columns: 1fr 4fr;
  grid-gap: 1em;
}

.ais-Hits-item img {
  margin-right: 1em;
}
.hit-name {
  margin-bottom: 0.5em;
}
.hit-description {
  color: #888;
  font-size: 0.8em;
  margin-bottom: 0.5em;
}

Now open your browser, you’ll see this:

Getting started 3

🚀 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 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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