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What Are Swiftype Web Components?

I do a lot of Swiftype integrations with enterprise customers. Search applications are like christmas trees – everyone knows what they look like, but have very specific ideas about how to customize them. For developers, having the right resources to meet this expectation, in the desired project timeline, is a must. That is why we’ve launched Swiftype Web Components, a resource rich website built to support developers who are responsible for integrating search for their company or client.

Web Components is an emerging standard for developing more complex HTML elements. Swiftype Web Components is based on the React javascript library, but it’s not dependent on React. So, we’ve actually built a library that supports React, but can also support other web component libraries; such as Riot, Polymer or webcomponents.js, which follow Web Component design patterns. For those unfamiliar with React, it is a very popular JavaScript library that came out of Facebook.

The idea of web components is that you can take a complicated application, like a search results page, and break it up into a bunch of different components that all operate independently. In our catalog, which is the first place to start, we have about 30 to 40 components that all can sit on the page together and work to provide a powerful search interface. Each component is optional and can be composed easily to fit the desired experience. For example, some customers might not want faceting so they don’t have to include that component. Other things like pagination, most people are going to want and they’re going to put on every search results application.

The component catalog is broken up into categories for organization. Some categories are sorting, faceting, filtering, links, how to handle misspelling, pagination etc.. All these items are components, that put together, deliver a really powerful search application. Our goal is to standardize these components to make everybody’s search results powerful, easy to use, and based on the same flexible core library.

A developer who’s learning about how to use components can begin by clicking the Get Started Now button, which leads you to our install tutorial. We’ve built a starter kit, which brings you to a small search application that we’ve built. The nice thing about what we’ve built is that you can actually edit the search application and start working with the code from your browser without having to set up a development environment or anything. When you’re happy with your changes you can share the link with others and download the customized files.

Our site also includes technical documentation for the library and examples that demo how components can be composed to build different search applications.

We’ve love to get your feedback. So please reach out to us and let us know what other resources you need to be able available to build search very quickly and easily.

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