Hotcakes Search Module

Overview

The search module is the work-horse (so-to-speak) when it comes to how the search functionality works for the customers on your site.  It's often referred to as the search results module as well.  This is the module that displays search results, as well as search filters we refer to as facets.  This module is most often used together with the search input module, and together they give your customers a complete product discovery experience.

Requirements

The following prerequisites will be necessary to accomplish the goals of this article:

  • Have access to your Hotcakes store administration
  • Configure your store using the getting started wizard or do it manually
  • Have a basic understanding of how search works on a traditional website

Getting Started

The information provided here is based upon the default configuration of Hotcakes and the default viewset. Your views may have more or less functionality, depending on how it was implemented by your technical team.

Search Module

If you've used the wizard to set-up your store pages, you'll already have the search module placed in your site.  In a default configuration, that page will be found under the "Hotcakes Store" menu, on the "Search Results" page.  In most instances, those pages will have been moved and/or renamed on your site though.

When you arrive on the search result page, you'll see a total of 3 modules in the default configuration.  The bottom two are both the search module.  The first one is the search input module.  The two search module instances may be the same module, but they both have different settings saved.  The settings are described below.

What Makes the Search Happen

If you view the page after a search has been executed, you should arrive on the same page, but with an extra chunk of text added to the end of the search results page URL, like shown below.  This additional value is known as a querystring.  Your keywords that were entered by the search input module will be found after the "?search=" part of the URL.  This is what tells the search module what to look for in your store.  Without it, you'll continue to get the empty view seen above.

As you'll see in the example below, both instances of the search module are working together to display all products found to be relevant to "sample" in the search input.

Search Results & Facets

The search results are displayed in two ways.  First, you have the actual products in your catalog that match the search query on the left side.  Next, you have the filters that are available to the search module on the right, called facets.

Results

The search results view is quite simple - it displays all of the products that match the current search and facet selections.  In the default viewset, you'll see the image of each product, it's name, and price.  The name and image are clickable to go to it's respective product page.  However, the search results you see are also helping to load the search facets in the background.

This is a paged view as well, or it uses pagination.  Meaning, that the default settings will show 9 products here, and you'll be able to click to the next page to see the next 9 products returned by the search.

Facets

The search facets you see will almost always be different.  This is because the available options you see will depend upon how you have your catalog configured, as well as the facets that are available from the products seen in the search results on the left.  For example, you don't see a category named "Shoes" because there's no products shown that contains that category.

In the example below, you can see a very big difference in how customers can find products, with only a few minutes of additional configuration in your catalog.  After adding a few vendors and manufacturers, customers can now use that information to make decisions.  If these products were using product types, you'd see product types and product type properties here as well.

Module Settings

This module has settings that are unique to how it works on your site for you and your customer.  If you're not already familiar with how module settings work, you should see the module settings documentation to learn more.

Setting Used By Description
View Both This read-only setting will simply show you the view that was selected before viewing the current settings.
Select a View Both If you wish to change the view that's being used to display the results or facets views, select the alternative view if your design team has created and added alternatives for you.  You'll see "Index" as an option and this view is used by default.  More about the views can be seen below.
Page Size Results This setting is 9 by default and it sets the number of products that are initially displayed when the search results are shown to customers.  They're more than this number, additional pages of the same quantity will be presented as options for the customer to look through.  This value affects all customers and individual customers may not change this value.
Show Manufacturers Facets This is checked by default.  When checked, it will show the vendors that are available to filter search results by.  This will only be useful if your products are actually using manufacturers.
Show Vendors Facets This is checked by default.  When checked, it will show the manufacturers that are available to filter search results by.  This will only be useful if your products are actually using manufacturers.

When it comes to the views available to this module, you'll probably notice that they look the same as the options in the search input module.  The "Index" view is the one that shows the results.  You'll also see "LinksFilters" and "SearchInput" as choices in the drop down list.  "LinksFilters" is meant to be used for facets, and "SearchInput" is used by the search input module.

Viewset View Location

You'll find the views for this module in the following location in your viewset:

~\Views\Search

 

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