Iquality developed an Elasticsearch connector for Sitecore
The search function within a website has an important role when it comes to user experience. Often a simple search functionality suffices, but if it becomes more complicated, Elasticsearch is a suitable solution. Other well-known search solutions are Apache Solr, Azuresearch, GSA (Google Search Appliance), Algolia and Coveo, which is commonly used in the Sitecore world. Until now Elasticsearch was not easily implemented in Sitecore's CMS. Iquality acknowledges the value of a good synergy between this search functionality and Sitecore CMS.
Iquality has been working with Sitecore since 2004 and has implemented various search solutions. Through years of experience with Lucene-based solutions, such as Lucene.NET, Solr and Elasticsearch, we have been able to build an Elasticsearch connector module.
Advantages of the connector
Both Sitecore and Elasticsearch have a proven track record. The Iquality connector ensures that the benefits of both solutions can be used together. This connector is the only one of its kind. With this connector module Sitecore has access to Elasticsearch’s flexible search functionality. This means saving time for the developer, because less configuration is needed to achieve the same quality level as with Coveo or Solr. Another advantage is that Elasticsearch moves smoothly when there is an increase in scale, for example, due to peak load.
Elasticsearch’s standard NEST library can be used for the search and all Elastic functionalities can be used. The most important and indispensable functions of Elasticsearch are synonym comprehension, geographic search, fuzzy search and scalability. All in all, this provides more possibilities than the standard integration with Solr and Azuresearch.
How does the connector work?
The functioning of the Elasticsearch connector module is similar to Solr: when publishing content, it is uploaded to the website as well as to Elasticsearch. Then, per template, it is determined in which form a content item must be stored in the index. The significant difference lies within the approach: our module determines which data should be indexed per template, while other solutions determine this at field level. This provides a better structure in the index, resulting in clearer and better results for the end user.
Content editors publish content the way they are used to. While publishing, the Elasticsearch index is also updated and the newly published content can be found directly via the search function on the website. By automatically tagging content, search results are further improved. An existing taxonomy or thesaurus can be used as a tagging source.
Is this module suitable for replacing the GSA?
Elasticsearch has evolved over the years. Because of this, and because of this newly developed connector with Sitecore, the same results as with Google Search Appliance are possible (and sometimes even better results). Since Google already announced in 2017 to stop the GSA, our Elasticsearch connector has come right in time.
The module put to practice
One of our clients uses the Elasticsearch connector module to implement the search function on their various websites. They had the specific desire to provide information in several languages, on several websites and filtered on various sub-sections of the websites. By going through a few simple steps, customers can quickly find specific answers to their questions.
The goal of Iquality is to design applications that help our customers, and ultimately their end users, to help them in their journey constructively. The Elasticsearch connector gives the users and developers who work with Sitecore extra possibilities and quality. Simple solutions for complex challenges, that's what we are about.
Remco van Toor is involved in the implementation of complex questions from various customers. He can tell you all about this with great enthusiasm. Want to know more? Don't hesitate to contact him.