Search add-on Reviews

While working on a new store, I've been exploring the different Search add-ons available. I hope that others may find this useful.   I looked at four different Search add-ons:

A) Store Search (BS)
   http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/9328

B) SiteSearch Plus v1.4
   http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/6351

C) SmartSuggest - Self-learning Ajax Search Suggestion    v1.0.3
   http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/8926

D) Twitter Typeahead Autocomplete Search v1.6
   http://addons.oscommerce.com/info/9351


All of these have support pages on the forum.

I installed these individually on a clean installation of osCommerce v2.3.4bs - Edge. The tests were run on the stock database. For comparison, I used the search phrase 'mic' in each of the tests.

All of these either enhance the stock Search box in the header, or replace it. If replaced, the new Search box can have the bootstrap column width adjusted in Admin, just like the stock one.


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                                                                           |      A      |         B        |        C       |      D      | 
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Requires core file edits                                       |     No     |      Yes *      |     Yes      |     No     |
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# of hits searching for 'mic'                                 |     6 *      |        3         |      3 *       |      5      |
(using as-installed default settings)                    |               |                   |                  |              |
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When clicking on a result, are you sent to the    | Product  | Advanced  | Advanced | Product |
Product page, or to Advanced Search Results   |               |req. 2 clicks|                  |              |
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Shows Product Image in Search Results            |     No      |       No        |      Yes      |    Yes    |
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Shows Product Description in Search Results    |     No      |       No        |       No      |    Yes    |
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Can select what pages to include in Search       |    Yes     |        No       |        No      |    No     |
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Records Searched for Words                             |     No      |       No        |      Yes      |    No     |
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Emails Store Owner if Search Not Found           |      No     |       Yes       |       No      |     No    |
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Pretty ranking (1=best) (in my opinion)              |       3      |         4         |        2       |      1      |
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Comments and thoughts:
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A) Store Search (BS)

Plug and Play. Highly configurable. I like the 'Search Results Highlight' feature. Changing the configuration can alter the number of search hits. Using the 'out of the box' configuration, this gave the most number of search hits:

1 category
3 products
2 'other' pages

If you want your Search to be able to include searching pages other than just products, this is the one.

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B) SiteSearch Plus  

If your server has PHP in strict mode, there are additional edits needed in a file. This is mentioned on the support thread, but is not included in the downloaded package.

This is the only package that has the email option.

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C) SmartSuggest - Self-learning Ajax Search Suggestion   This is the only package that records the Searched for words. Personally, I find this feature very useful.

Changing the configuration can alter the number of search hits.

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D) Twitter Typeahead Autocomplete Search   Plug and Play. This is clearly the prettiest of the add-ons. There are *many* options one can adjust and configure. Using the 'out of the box' configuration, this gave the second highest number of search hits.

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Final thoughts:   I like the search functions that allow the user to go directly to the product or page, without having to make a detour through Advanced_Search_Results.   If I could pick-and-choose features, I'd start with D, add the ability to select the searched pages from A, and the recording of the searched for words in C

Your results may vary. Only you can decide what is important for your shop.

HTH

Malcolm