An extraordinary User experience is extremely important to keep your visitors hung-on to your website and to keep them coming back for more. Of course you need to have great content and a product but also an exceptionally easy to use navigation and information architecture. Having a brilliant Search functionality on your Drupal page solves half the problem.
There are many ways you can integrate a Drupal Search functionality with your Drupal website. Here we are going to discuss a few options you can choose from depending on your requirements and existing structure.
Drupal Search API
Search API is an out-of-the-box Drupal search module that provides a framework for building searches using any backend search engine. It consists of a list of additional modules for improving searching capabilities and providing advanced full-text search features. With these additional contributed modules, it becomes so much easier for the developer to customize and improvise their search functionalities.
Search API Database Search is a module that’s built as the backend for the Search API module. Since it can use any normal database for indexing, it is far cheaper and simpler than using other backend solutions like Solr. Nonetheless, it is also used by large Drupal websites like Drupal.org itself where they’ve combined the Search API Database with the Search API module.
Apache Solr Search module integrates your Drupal website with the Apache Solr Search platform. Solr is an extremely reliable, fast and a stand-alone search engine written in Java and built on Lucene for full-text search. Some of the other extraordinary features offered by Apache Solr search are:
- Faceted navigation which allows visitors to navigate through a list of information by applying multiple filters.
- Hit Highlighting enables you to highlight those words or phrases that helped in returning the search results.
- Near Real-time Indexing makes sure your documents are all set to be searched as soon as they are indexed.
- Dynamic Clustering helps grouping related search results and assigns readable labels to these groups.
- ..and many more
Solr indexes all your data in a specifically designed data structure (in an ‘inverted indexing’ style) and stores these indexed files on the file system. So instead of reaching out to your Drupal database, it maintains its own data store and runs all queries against it. These features make Apache Solr a super-fast, fault-tolerant and highly scalable search server.
Search API Solr Search is a module that provides a Solr backend for the Search API module and uses Apache Solr servers to index and search content. It supports facets and multi-index searches and is suitable for large websites because of its flexibility and scalability. You can customize the search functionalities like changing how the search results are returned or changing the way it indexes/searches data.
You can also choose from many web Solr hosts which are compatible with search API if you do not want to install your own Solr server.