We are so passionate about search, that despite even our best efforts to build amazing search experiences we are just a hair short of this amazing tool. Concerning Searchkit, we can’t help but brag about what might appear as a competitor, because our new friends at TenEleven have such a great library (check it out on Github). Qbox liked the project so much, we have begun contributing infrastructure to the project.
The challenge with such a project is making the tools generalized enough to be useful to a wide range of users, flexible enough to accommodate each user’s eccentric needs (EVERY user has at least one, if not more, of these), while still being easy to use and secure. Elasticsearch is so very powerful, but it still is far from being accessible to the non-developer design community, the type of people and agencies that are more hired to make UX accessible to a company’s internal and external users. Elastic itself has been focusing on creating analytics tools like Kibana, and leaving the enterprise search innovation to the community.
Searchkit was released January 5 and is the product of Joe McElroy and Ash Etemadieh, longtime collaborators and founders of the UK-based agency TenEleven. Joe and Ash were first colleagues at London-based marketing automation consultant, Vyre (now Northplains), and then formed TenEleven. Their customers include the massive restaurant reservation service, OpenTable.
Since it’s release a month ago, it has amassed thousands of downloads and quite a few contributors. “You really need a deep knowledge of Elasticsearch to build a great search experience, and front-end development is hard, ” said McElroy. “It takes a lot of effort to build a great search experience from scratch. We wanted to build a framework that was really extensible and really easy to get started with.”
The framework includes basic components such as searchbox, components for faceted search like hierarchical and numerical refinement, range filters, sliders, pagination, and so on. The complete documentation can be found here. In case you’re wondering, Searchkit works flawlessly with Qbox endpoints as well as self-hosted endpoints.
By the time you read this post, it is expected that version .7 will be out. McElroy said their commercial angle was to just provide consulting opportunities for TenEleven. As of now, there are no plans to offer commercially supported versions.
“We want to build a really good open source framework,” McElroy said. “It’s about having clients to use Searchkit, up to speed with building a basic experience, and hopefully needing ten eleven to customize that experience.”