Guides / Getting started / How Algolia works

To ease integration, Algolia built a set of libraries and tools to help you implement Algolia on your website or application.

REST API

The entirety of the Algolia ecosystem is built on top of the REST API. While it allows you to carry out everything search and indexing related, it’s highly recommended to use one of the official API clients instead.

You should only use the REST API to develop new API clients. Targeting the REST API without an API client cancels the SLA terms.

Indexing and configuration

Using the Algolia dashboard

The dashboard allows you to:

  • manage your subscription to the Algolia service and related options
  • configure your team members’ access rights
  • see analytics data
  • manage indices and API keys

You can also handle indexing and configuration programmatically via the API clients.

Using the API clients

Official API clients exist for the most common programming languages and platforms. These clients are advanced wrappers on top of the REST API itself and have been built to help you integrate the service within your apps. Each client provides various methods for communicating with Algolia’s API related to both indexing and search. For example, you might choose to use the Ruby client for your indexing logic, while your front end relies on the JavaScript client. All official clients are open source and available on GitHub.

PHP
Ruby
JavaScript
Python
Swift
Kotlin
Android
.NET
Java
Scala

The API clients include a retry strategy to ensure you are always able to reach Algolia’s servers.

Framework integrations

Built on top of the API Clients, framework integrations hook into framework ORMs to help take care of data synchronization out of the box. For most use-cases, leveraging one of these integrations is the recommended option if you’re already using the respective framework.

Rails
Symfony
Django
Laravel

Extensions

Additionally, there are a few extensions that help you implement Algolia in the matter of minutes.

If you are using one of these products, the appropriate extension will most likely be the path of least resistance for adding Algolia to your website. The extension handles all indexing and synchronization, and also offer a solid front-end user experience out of the box.

As of today, there are five official extensions.

Magento 2
WordPress
Shopify
Salesforce Commerce Cloud B2C
Netlify

On top of that, there are also extensions that are maintained by the community:

Building a search user interface

Several different libraries that leverage the API clients provide even higher-level concepts and interactions to the developers. In particular, these libraries help shorten the development time necessary for creating a search user interface. For a deeper dive into the capabilities of these libraries, see the search libraries documentation.

InstantSearch

The InstantSearch library provides an extensive library of widgets to power your search and build a state-of-the-art instant-search experience. InstantSearch is also available in React, VueJS, iOS, and Android flavors.

Autocomplete

The Autocomplete library lets you build an accessible, as-you-type autocomplete user interface that you can integrate anywhere on your site or application.

DocSearch

DocSearch is the easiest way to add search to technical documentation.

To get started, fill out the form on the DocSearch website and Algolia will respond with the code snippet necessary to integrate your new search into your website. Not only does DocSearch handle crawling your documentation pages, Algolia configures and maintains your search experience for you.

DocSearch is provided for free and *doesn’t require creating an Algolia account**.

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