Algolia

Algolia

Utilities / Application Utilities / Search as a Service
Android Tech Lead at CodeStringers·

I want to develop a mobile app with Cloud Firestore as backend. It's good until I realize need to implement FullTextSearch, and Firestore doesn't support it natively. Although they advise to use Algolia but at this time I'm not willing to pay for it.

Therefore, I'm thinking about using the built-in tool from Google Cloud. Since this app is online-only, the offline & sync are not a top priority, so how about use Google Cloud SQL? Or, do you recommend any stack for me? Thanks for your advice.

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5 upvotes·33.9K views
Replies (2)
Principal Software Engineer at Tophatter·
Recommends
Algolia

In the early days, people would set up their own Elastic Search clusters and have troubles maintaining it, keeping it secure, also this required a lot of manual work to get the data in, keep it current, query it... etc. A couple of years ago AWS came up with AWS Elastic Search Service, which reduced some of this overhead. My previous teams and I went through all of these different stages, and ultimately, discovering Algolia a couple of years ago, solved so many of our issues, kept the cost low, reduced dramatically Implementation therefore GTM timelines, and freed up so much of our engineering bandwidth. They have SDKs for most common languages and platforms, and you can achieve a complete solution in just a matter of hours if not minute. Value your own/your team's engineering time. Factor that in when comparing costs. There should also be entry-level tiers you can get a proof of concept rolled out with.

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How Algolia Works | Getting Started | Guide | Algolia Documentation (algolia.com)
7 upvotes·849 views

Since SQL Databases have a support for Full Text Search inbuilt into them, they are a better choice. With Firestore you can implement a full text search but it will still cost more reads than it would have otherwise, and also you'll need to enter and index the data in a particular way, So in this approach you can use firebase cloud functions to tokenise and then hash your input text while choosing a linear hash function h(x) that satisfies the following - if x < y < z then h(x) < h (y) < h(z). For tokenisation you can choose some lightweight NLP Libraries in order to keep the cold start time of your function low that can strip unnecessary words from your sentence. Then you can run a query with less than and greater than operator in Firestore. While storing your data also, you'll have to make sure that you hash the text before storing it, and store the plain text also as if you change the plain text the hashed value will also change.

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6 upvotes·596 views
Chief Technology Officer at TechAvanza·
Needs advice
on
AlgoliaAlgoliaElasticsearchElasticsearch
and
FirebaseFirebase

Hey everybody! (1) I am developing an android application. I have data of around 3 million record (less than a TB). I want to save that data in the cloud. Which company provides the best cloud database services that would suit my scenario? It should be secured, long term useable, and provide better services. I decided to use Firebase Realtime database. Should I stick with Firebase or are there any other companies that provide a better service?

(2) I have the functionality of searching data in my app. Same data (less than a TB). Which search solution should I use in this case? I found Elasticsearch and Algolia search. It should be secure and fast. If any other company provides better services than these, please feel free to suggest them.

Thank you!

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5 upvotes·252.4K views
Replies (2)
Co-Founder & CTO at Orbit·
Recommends
Algolia

Hi Rana, good question! From my Firebase experience, 3 million records is not too big at all, as long as the cost is within reason for you. With Firebase you will be able to access the data from anywhere, including an android app, and implement fine-grained security with JSON rules. The real-time-ness works perfectly. As a fully managed database, Firebase really takes care of everything. The only thing to watch out for is if you need complex query patterns - Firestore (also in the Firebase family) can be a better fit there.

To answer question 2: the right answer will depend on what's most important to you. Algolia is like Firebase is that it is fully-managed, very easy to set up, and has great SDKs for Android. Algolia is really a full-stack search solution in this case, and it is easy to connect with your Firebase data. Bear in mind that Algolia does cost money, so you'll want to make sure the cost is okay for you, but you will save a lot of engineering time and never have to worry about scale. The search-as-you-type performance with Algolia is flawless, as that is a primary aspect of its design. Elasticsearch can store tons of data and has all the flexibility, is hosted for cheap by many cloud services, and has many users. If you haven't done a lot with search before, the learning curve is higher than Algolia for getting the results ranked properly, and there is another learning curve if you want to do the DevOps part yourself. Both are very good platforms for search, Algolia shines when buliding your app is the most important and you don't want to spend many engineering hours, Elasticsearch shines when you have a lot of data and don't mind learning how to run and optimize it.

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8 upvotes·183.8K views
Founder at Moxit·
Recommends
Cloud Firestore

Rana - we use Cloud Firestore at our startup. It handles many million records without any issues. It provides you the same set of features that the Firebase Realtime Database provides on top of the indexing and security trims. The only thing to watch out for is to make sure your Cloud Functions have proper exception handling and there are no infinite loop in the code. This will be too costly if not caught quickly.

For search; Algolia is a great option, but cost is a real consideration. Indexing large number of records can be cost prohibitive for most projects. Elasticsearch is a solid alternative, but requires a little additional work to configure and maintain if you want to self-host.

Hope this helps.

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5 upvotes·186.3K views