Guides / Building Search UI / UI & UX patterns

If you want to search multiple indices, there are a couple of approaches you can take:

Synchronize two InstantSearch indices

This example uses a single search view controller to search in two indices. This is achieved through the aggregation of two HitsSearchers by the MultiSearcher. Each of them target a specific index: the first one is mobile_demo_actors and the second is mobile_demo_movies. The results are presented in the dedicated sections of a UITableViewController instance. The source code of this example is on GitHub.

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struct Movie: Codable {
  let title: String
}

struct Actor: Codable {
  let name: String
}

class SearchViewController: UIViewController {
  
  let searchController: UISearchController
  
  let queryInputConnector: QueryInputConnector
  let textFieldController: TextFieldController

  let searcher: MultiSearcher
  let actorHitsInteractor: HitsInteractor<Hit<Actor>>
  let movieHitsInteractor: HitsInteractor<Hit<Movie>>
  
  let searchResultsController: SearchResultsController
    
  override init(nibName nibNameOrNil: String?, bundle nibBundleOrNil: Bundle?) {
    searcher = .init(appID: "latency",
                      apiKey: "1f6fd3a6fb973cb08419fe7d288fa4db")
    searchResultsController = .init()
    actorHitsInteractor = .init(infiniteScrolling: .off)
    movieHitsInteractor = .init(infiniteScrolling: .off)
    searchController = .init(searchResultsController: searchResultsController)
    textFieldController = .init(searchBar: searchController.searchBar)
    queryInputConnector = .init(searcher: searcher,
                                controller: textFieldController)
    super.init(nibName: nibNameOrNil, bundle: nibBundleOrNil)
  }
  
  required init?(coder: NSCoder) {
    fatalError("init(coder:) has not been implemented")
  }
  
  override func viewDidLoad() {
    super.viewDidLoad()
    
    configureUI()
    
    let actorsSearcher = searcher.addHitsSearcher(indexName: "mobile_demo_actors")
    actorHitsInteractor.connectSearcher(actorsSearcher)
    searchResultsController.actorsHitsInteractor = actorHitsInteractor
    
    let moviesSearcher = searcher.addHitsSearcher(indexName: "mobile_demo_movies")
    movieHitsInteractor.connectSearcher(moviesSearcher)
    searchResultsController.moviesHitsInteractor = movieHitsInteractor
    
    searcher.search()
  }
  
  override func viewDidAppear(_ animated: Bool) {
    super.viewDidAppear(animated)
    searchController.isActive = true
  }
  
  func configureUI() {
    view.backgroundColor = .white
    definesPresentationContext = true
    searchController.hidesNavigationBarDuringPresentation = false
    searchController.showsSearchResultsController = true
    searchController.automaticallyShowsCancelButton = false
    navigationItem.searchController = searchController
  }
  
}

class SearchResultsController: UITableViewController {
  
  enum Section: Int, CaseIterable {
    
    case actors
    case movies
    
    var title: String {
      switch self {
      case .actors:
        return "Actors"
      case .movies:
        return "Movies"
      }
    }
                          
    var image: UIImage? {
      switch self {
      case .movies:
        return UIImage(systemName: "film")
      case .actors:
        return UIImage(systemName: "person.circle")
      }
    }
    
    init?(section: Int) {
      self.init(rawValue: section)
    }
    
    init?(indexPath: IndexPath) {
      self.init(section: indexPath.section)
    }
    
  }
  
  func numberOfHits(in section: Section) -> Int {
    switch section {
    case .actors:
      return actorsHitsInteractor?.numberOfHits() ?? 0
    case .movies:
      return moviesHitsInteractor?.numberOfHits() ?? 0
    }
  }
  
  func cellLabel(forRowIndex rowIndex: Int, at section: Section) -> NSAttributedString? {
    switch section {
    case .actors:
      return actorsHitsInteractor?.hit(atIndex: rowIndex)?.hightlightedString(forKey: "name").map { highlightedString in
        NSAttributedString(highlightedString: highlightedString, attributes: [.font: UIFont.systemFont(ofSize: 17, weight: .bold)])
      }
    case .movies:
      return moviesHitsInteractor?.hit(atIndex: rowIndex)?.hightlightedString(forKey: "title").map { highlightedString in
        NSAttributedString(highlightedString: highlightedString, attributes: [.font: UIFont.systemFont(ofSize: 17, weight: .bold)])
      }
    }
  }
      
  weak var actorsHitsInteractor: HitsInteractor<Hit<Actor>>? {
    didSet {
      oldValue?.onResultsUpdated.cancelSubscription(for: tableView)
      guard let interactor = actorsHitsInteractor else { return }
      interactor.onResultsUpdated.subscribe(with: tableView) { tableView, _ in
        tableView.reloadData()
      }.onQueue(.main)
    }
  }
  
  weak var moviesHitsInteractor: HitsInteractor<Hit<Movie>>? {
    didSet {
      oldValue?.onResultsUpdated.cancelSubscription(for: tableView)
      guard let interactor = moviesHitsInteractor else { return }
      interactor.onResultsUpdated.subscribe(with: tableView) { tableView, _ in
        tableView.reloadData()
      }.onQueue(.main)
    }
  }
  
  override func viewDidLoad() {
    super.viewDidLoad()
    tableView.register(UITableViewCell.self, forCellReuseIdentifier: "cellID")
  }
  
  override func numberOfSections(in tableView: UITableView) -> Int {
    return Section.allCases.count
  }
  
  override func tableView(_ tableView: UITableView, numberOfRowsInSection section: Int) -> Int {
    guard let section = Section(section: section) else { return 0 }
    return numberOfHits(in: section)
  }
  
  override func tableView(_ tableView: UITableView, cellForRowAt indexPath: IndexPath) -> UITableViewCell {
    let cell = tableView.dequeueReusableCell(withIdentifier: "cellID", for: indexPath)
    guard let section = Section(indexPath: indexPath) else { return cell }
    cell.tintColor = .lightGray
    cell.imageView?.image = section.image
    cell.textLabel?.attributedText = cellLabel(forRowIndex: indexPath.row, at: section)
    return cell
  }
  
  override func tableView(_ tableView: UITableView, titleForHeaderInSection section: Int) -> String? {
    guard let section = Section(section: section), numberOfHits(in: section) != 0 else { return nil }
    return section.title
  }
  
  override func tableView(_ tableView: UITableView, didSelectRowAt indexPath: IndexPath) {
    guard let section = Section(indexPath: indexPath) else { return }
    switch section {
    case .actors:
      if let _ = actorsHitsInteractor?.hit(atIndex: indexPath.row) {
        // Handle actor selection
      }
    case .movies:
      if let _ = moviesHitsInteractor?.hit(atIndex: indexPath.row) {
        // Handle movie selection
      }
    }
  }
  
}

You can find the complete example on GitHub.

Combine search for hits and facets values

This example uses a single search view controller to search in the index and facet values for attribute of the same index. This is achieved through the aggregation of the HitsSearcher and the FacetSearcher by the MultiSearcher. The results are presented in the dedicated sections of a UITableViewController instance. The source code of this example is on GitHub.

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struct Item: Codable {
  let name: String
}

class SearchViewController: UIViewController {
  
  let searchController: UISearchController
  
  let queryInputConnector: QueryInputConnector
  let textFieldController: TextFieldController

  let searcher: MultiSearcher
  let categoriesInteractor: FacetListInteractor
  let hitsInteractor: HitsInteractor<Item>
  
  let searchResultsController: SearchResultsController
    
  override init(nibName nibNameOrNil: String?, bundle nibBundleOrNil: Bundle?) {
    searcher = .init(appID: "latency",
                      apiKey: "6be0576ff61c053d5f9a3225e2a90f76")
    searchResultsController = .init(style: .plain)
    categoriesInteractor = .init()
    hitsInteractor = .init(infiniteScrolling: .off)
    searchController = .init(searchResultsController: searchResultsController)
    textFieldController = .init(searchBar: searchController.searchBar)
    queryInputConnector = .init(searcher: searcher,
                                controller: textFieldController)
    super.init(nibName: nibNameOrNil, bundle: nibBundleOrNil)
  }
  
  required init?(coder: NSCoder) {
    fatalError("init(coder:) has not been implemented")
  }
  
  override func viewDidLoad() {
    super.viewDidLoad()
    
    configureUI()
    
    let facetsSearcher = searcher.addFacetsSearcher(indexName: "instant_search",
                                                    attribute: "categories")
    categoriesInteractor.connectFacetSearcher(facetsSearcher)
    searchResultsController.categoriesInteractor = categoriesInteractor
    
    let hitsSearchers = searcher.addHitsSearcher(indexName: "instant_search")
    hitsInteractor.connectSearcher(hitsSearchers)
    searchResultsController.hitsInteractor = hitsInteractor
    
    searcher.search()
  }
  
  override func viewDidAppear(_ animated: Bool) {
    super.viewDidAppear(animated)
    searchController.isActive = true
  }
  
  func configureUI() {
    view.backgroundColor = .white
    definesPresentationContext = true
    searchController.hidesNavigationBarDuringPresentation = false
    searchController.showsSearchResultsController = true
    searchController.automaticallyShowsCancelButton = false
    navigationItem.searchController = searchController
  }
  
}

class SearchResultsController: UITableViewController {
  
  var didSelectSuggestion: ((String) -> Void)?
  
  enum Section: Int, CaseIterable {
    case categories
    case hits
    
    var title: String {
      switch self {
      case .categories:
        return "Categories"
      case .hits:
        return "Hits"
      }
    }
    
    var cellID: String {
      switch self {
      case .categories:
        return "categories"
      case .hits:
        return "hits"
      }
    }
                
  }

  weak var categoriesInteractor: FacetListInteractor? {
    didSet {
      oldValue?.onResultsUpdated.cancelSubscription(for: tableView)
      guard let interactor = categoriesInteractor else { return }
      interactor.onResultsUpdated.subscribe(with: tableView) { tableView, _ in
        tableView.reloadData()
      }.onQueue(.main)
    }
  }
  
  weak var hitsInteractor: HitsInteractor<Item>? {
    didSet {
      oldValue?.onResultsUpdated.cancelSubscription(for: tableView)
      guard let interactor = hitsInteractor else { return }
      interactor.onResultsUpdated.subscribe(with: tableView) { tableView, _ in
        tableView.reloadData()
      }.onQueue(.main)
    }
  }
  
  override func viewDidLoad() {
    super.viewDidLoad()
    tableView.register(UITableViewCell.self, forCellReuseIdentifier: Section.categories.cellID)
  }
  
  override func numberOfSections(in tableView: UITableView) -> Int {
    return Section.allCases.count
  }
  
  override func tableView(_ tableView: UITableView, numberOfRowsInSection section: Int) -> Int {
    guard let section = Section(rawValue: section) else { return 0 }
    switch section {
    case .categories:
      return categoriesInteractor?.items.count ?? 0
    case .hits:
      return hitsInteractor?.numberOfHits() ?? 0
    }
  }
  
  override func tableView(_ tableView: UITableView, cellForRowAt indexPath: IndexPath) -> UITableViewCell {
    guard let section = Section(rawValue: indexPath.section) else { return UITableViewCell() }

    let cell = tableView.dequeueReusableCell(withIdentifier: Section.categories.cellID, for: indexPath)
    
    switch section {
    case .categories:
      if let category = categoriesInteractor?.items[indexPath.row] {
        cell.textLabel?.text = category.value
      }
    case .hits:
      if let hit = hitsInteractor?.hit(atIndex: indexPath.row) {
        cell.textLabel?.text = hit.name
      }
    }
    
    return cell
  }
  
  override func tableView(_ tableView: UITableView, titleForHeaderInSection section: Int) -> String? {
    guard let section = Section(rawValue: section) else { return nil }
    switch section {
    case .categories where categoriesInteractor?.items.count ?? 0 == 0:
      return nil
    case .hits where hitsInteractor?.numberOfHits() ?? 0 == 0:
      return nil
    default:
      return section.title
    }
  }
  
  override func tableView(_ tableView: UITableView, didSelectRowAt indexPath: IndexPath) {
    guard let section = Section(rawValue: indexPath.section) else { return }
    switch section {
    case .hits:
      // Handle hit selection
      break

    case .categories:
      // Handle category selection
      break
    }
  }

}

Use Autocomplete

Suppose you need to display multiple result types in an Autocomplete or search in several Algolia indices at a time. In that case, you can set up a multi-index search with Autocomplete.

Check out the Autocomplete guide for more information. Even though the guide focuses on a query suggestions implementation, you can use it with any source or Algolia indices.

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