Adding a universal search bar

Is there any way yet with Softr or custom code, to create a universal search bar?
I mean a search bar that is always visible and where I can search pages of different databases.

For reference:

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I think this could be done with custom code + algolia, but not a trivial one…

Meanwhile, dear @Tim_ClimatEU, noted and added your message as a suggestion to our feature request list!

Just spent a few minutes thinking about this.

In one model, let’s call it A, you need the search to be scoped to only what the currently logged in user can see? In another model, call it B, you are only searching data that is already available to anyone on your site without a login.

If I were going to implement model B, what I would do is set up an Airtable automation that ran on every record create and update, generated a text rendition of the record using Airtable’s scripting, and then sent the text off to some kind of cloud search tool. I looked at Algolia and I agree that it would not be trivial to use it for this. Maybe there are other ones that have easy Airtable or Zapier/Make integrations?

Model A kind of makes my head explode, because I am not sure that an Airtable automation has access to the information you’d need to compute whether a given record was visible to a given user.

Another question that came to mind is what the search results need to look like in order to be useful. This is really two questions, one about presentation of the list of results, and one about highlighting the search terms on a page that is reached through the list of results. I think these kinds of features are what make search truly useful, but they make the problem a lot harder.

Finally, another question that came to mind is whether it’s ok for the search results to be only on Airtable records, or whether you also need to search content that is stored in Softr, e.g., the text fields of a CTA block.

I think I have convinced myself that the only reasonable way this can work well is as a Softr feature, but I’m not sure yet. Thoughts?

One more thought, of course, because that’s what hitting the Reply button always does! :slight_smile:

If model B is good enough, maybe you can do a really low-rent version of a universal search bar with Google Programmable Search Engine?

Haha yet another thought is to explore the miniExtensions search page for Airtable. My gut feeling is that with model A, reconciling the user permission model between Softr and miniExtensions will be hard, but maybe model B is doable?

It’s definitely model B - just to give users the opportunity to search universally by company name. This would be one column in two respective Airtable columns.

Then, of the perspective record, I would just like to portray the logo and the name of the respective record. On click, it would need to open the allocated Softr URL.

Thanks so much for all the feedback as always David, I’ll check out algolia and the mini extension now. Sounds like it will only be professionally as a Softr feature though :smiling_face_with_tear: