Now that I’ve written a lot of posts I thought it would be good to add search functionality. I have created the first iteration of my search, give it a try. You should be able to find it on the left hand side. For context my blog is statically generated using Jekyll meaning every possible page to render is compiled ready to be served as just client-side code HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Essentially no queries to a database are made on request for a page. How can I add dynamic search that content?

sway bridge across mountain forest Photo by Kevin Mueller on Unsplash

My first thoughts were around using vanilla JavaScript filtering on a JSON document that referenced all the posts. Using the Liquid open-source template language my blog uses, I was able to generate the necessary JSON object. I’ve found Liquid easy to code and the documentation is good enough to help get unstuck. Below is the code snippet:

{ "posts": [{ for post in site.posts }
      "title": "{ { post.title } }",
      "excerpt": "{ { post.excerpt | strip_html | strip_newlines | escape } }",
      "publishDate": "{ { } }",
      "url": "{ { site.url } }{ { post.url } }",
      "tags": "{ { post.tags | join: ' ' } }"
    } { if post != site.posts.last }, { endif } { endfor } ]}

article-data.json file on GitHub

I then started looking for a fuzzy search library and found one that looked really promising. Fuse.js is a fuzzy search library written in JavaScript and it has no dependencies - which is quite neat as it avoids a potential crazy dependency chain. Fuse has a few options that you can apply which affect how the search performs and I found the following configuration worked best for me.

The important properties are tokenize: true, matchAllTokens: true and threshold: 0 - which essentially means it has to match any word(s) for it to show rather than the individual characters. This seemed to give best results. However, the keyword testing was limited. The keys property is to tell Fuse which properties in the list to query against.

function search(text, searchData) {
  const options = {
    tokenize: true,
    matchAllTokens: true,
    threshold: 0,
    includeMatches: true,
    maxPatternLength: 32,
    minMatchCharLength: 1,
    keys: ["title", "excerpt", "tags"]
  const fuse = new Fuse(searchData.posts, options);

Design wise I decided to show the results in the right hand column (where you are reading this post) when someone starts typing in the search field. I pre-load the search results on each page load and then the search is done in memory. Since this is the first iteration it seems fine for now, but I would like to optimize this approach.

  async function() {
    const postSearch = document.getElementById("PostSearch");
    const searchData = await fetchSearchData();
    postSearch.addEventListener("keyup", handlePostSearch(searchData), false);

I wait for the whole HTML document to load by listening to DOMContentLoaded event. Fetch the JSON document and listen to keyup event on the search input field. When a user types two or more characters the search starts to render in the right hand column.

The search results are built by creating each element document.createElement("article") and appending it to the main content area id="MainContentArea". You can check out the search code on GitHub.

It will be great to know what you think, so if you’ve got a moment go ahead and tweet it or comment below.