Choose the Right Approach

Coveo provides a number of frameworks and REST APIs to build a search interface. Which framework and/or REST API is the best for you depends on your business needs, desired performance, complexity, etc.

Which is the Best One?

Tip

These two diagrams show that Atomic might be the best choice if performance, development speed, and customization are equally important for you.

If you rather need to quickly create a simple search interface, especially for test or demo purposes, the search interface builder, which uses the Atomic library, is an ideal, codeless alternative.

Diagram showing relations between development time and performance for the search interface builder

Diagram showing relations between development time and UI/UX customization for the Atomic

The Comparison Matrix

The following matrix presents an in-depth comparison of the tools that we provide.

Tip

The stars in this table are score points. The higher, the better.

The last row shows the total score for each tool.

Search interface builder Atomic Headless JS Search Framework REST API

Programming Skills Required

None

⭐⭐⭐

Low

⭐⭐⭐

Medium

⭐⭐

Low

⭐⭐⭐

High

Performance

High

⭐⭐

High

⭐⭐

High

⭐⭐

Medium

N/A

Bundle Size

N/A

Light

⭐⭐

Light

⭐⭐

Heavy

N/A

Pre-built Components

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

No

Server-side Rendering

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

N/A

UI/UX Customization

Low

Medium

⭐⭐

High

⭐⭐⭐

Low

High

⭐⭐⭐

Analytics

Included

Included

Included

Included

Excluded / DIY

Time to Build a Search Interface

Minutes

⭐⭐⭐

Days

⭐⭐⭐

Days to Weeks

⭐⭐

Days

⭐⭐⭐

Months

Score

12 pts

15 pts

13 pts

11 pts

5 pts

See the dedicated sections below for details on each approach.

Combine Frameworks

Technically, you can use two frameworks simultaneously. For example, this might come in handy if you want to gradually migrate from JS Search Framework to Atomic.

Warning
JS Search Framework vs Atomic

We strongly recommend against using both the JavaScript Search Framework and Atomic in the long term unless absolutely required.

If you use these two frameworks at the same time, you are likely to face inconsistency-related issues in the long term.

All frameworks either wrap the Coveo REST APIs directly or wrap a framework that does. It’s safe to use a given framework in conjunction with a tool from the same hierarchy, e.g., Atomic and Headless or Atomic and REST APIs.

The diagram below shows how frameworks relate to each other:

Diagram showing how Coveo UI frameworks and REST API relate to each other

Search Interface Builder

Coveo’s search interface builder is available via the Search Pages (platform-eu | platform-au) page of the Administration Console and works with the Atomic library. It allows you to create a simple search interface in a couple minutes without writing any code.

Search pages created with the builder are hosted by Coveo, which makes them ideal for test or demo purposes. You can share a link to your search page with anyone, even people who don’t have access to the Coveo Administration Console.

Should you want to create a custom search interface, however, you should opt for Atomic or another library or framework.

Pros Cons

Requires no programming skills.

Limited UI/UX customization.

Allows you to create a basic search interface within minutes.

Atomic Library

Atomic is a collection of pre-built UI components meant to quickly create versatile search interfaces. You can theme and customize the Atomic components to suit your needs. Under the hood, Atomic relies on the Coveo Headless library to interface with Coveo and handle the search application state.

See Use the Atomic Library for details.

Pros Cons

Requires minimal programming skills.

Coupling between the UI and business logic.

Faster to build than the JavaScript Search Framework.

Both browser and mobile compatible.

Lightweight and higher performance than the JavaScript Search Framework.

Extendable through custom components.

Headless Library

The Headless library is a Redux-based toolset for developing your own search UI component libraries. It provides the underlying functionality of the Atomic library or of the JavaScript Search Framework without tying that functionality to a specific UI implementation.

See Use the Headless Library for details.

Pros Cons

Usable in any environment that can run JavaScript.

Requires advanced programming skills.

Extendable through custom middlewares and reducers.

JavaScript Search Framework

The JavaScript Search Framework is a UI component library that you can use to assemble feature-rich search interfaces. It’s both customizable and extendable to suit your individual use cases.

Pros Cons

Customizable through styling.

Only suitable for building web-based search UIs.

Extendable through custom components.

Strong coupling between UI and logic layers.

REST APIs

The Atomic and Headless libraries, as well as the JavaScript Search Framework, are built on top of the Coveo REST APIs. Those APIs are publicly documented, and you can develop directly against them if you need to integrate Coveo search features in an environment that can’t run JavaScript.

Pros Cons

Flexible.

Complex.

Lets you build a Coveo-powered search UI in an environment that can’t run JavaScript.

Error-prone.

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