Integrations / Platforms / Shopify / Front-end Choices
Jun. 19, 2019

Front-end Choices

When implementing Algolia on your store front, you have to decide between two main approaches:

  1. You can use the widgets provided by our Shopify plugin.
  2. You can handle the implementation yourself, using Algolia’s InstantSearch libraries.

Depending on your needs, one method will likely prove more convenient than the other.

Here is what you should know to make the right choice.

Using Widgets provided by Algolia for Shopify

Algolia for Shopify comes with one-click install widgets:

  • Autocomplete widget: an Algolia realtime search bar and menu which replaces Shopify’s default search bar.
  • InstantSearch Page: an Algolia powered search results page, which comes preconfigured with features such as filtering and sorting.

You can enable the autocomplete widget from the Display tab and the InstantSearch widget from the Search Options tab.

Both widgets are configurable from the plugin dashboard.

Limitations in customizing the provided widgets

While we provide a complete documentation on how to customize provided widgets, the widgets are built using InstantSearch v1 (last stable version is v3), which leads to some limitations:

  • InstantSearch v1 does not support infinite scroll.
  • InstantSearch v1 is not longer maintained and will not benefit from bug fixes or new features.

We plan to release new widgets using InstantSearch 3 in 2019. However, existing widgets will not be migrated.

The following customizations should be implemented using Algolia InstantSearch v3 Libraries, rather than on-top of existing widgets:

  • infinite scroll
  • revamping the design of facets and sort orders
  • advanced routing strategy (introduced in v3)

Using InstantSearch libraries

To set up a custom Algolia InstantSearch on your Shopify site, you need to know how to code. A personalized implementation can yield a more customized search UI, but will take more time.

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