I am looking for a product recommendation only. I have spent a day searching google already and have NOT found what I want (assuming it actually exists), so am hoping that someone on this site can recommend something they have used in the past.
We build websites for dealers that sell vehicles (cars, motorbikes, boats, etc.) and need an advanced search system that will allow users to easily find the vehicle they are looking for, based on selecting 1 or more search criteria in the search box.
You can see 2 live examples of what we want/need here:
http://www.drive.com.au and http://www.carsales.com.au
As I said above, I would prefer a referral to an existing product that you know can do this (which we would just purchase) - to save us time. Alternatively, if you don't know of such a product, perhaps you can recommend someone who could code this for us (preferrably without charging a fortune)...
It is very important that this plugin works in most/all WP installs, as it will be used for multiple clients and multiple sites.
It needs to be easy to configure/use and (ideally) not so complex that it stops working every time WP makes a change to the way sites are coded.
It also needs to be scalable, in the sense that some sites might have 10 vehicles listed which it needs to search, while others might have thousands or even 10s of thousands. Because of this, the speed with which it operates is also a consideration, as we can't have it taking 30, 60, even 90+ seconds to return search results.
I had it in mind that every time we added a new vehicle [using a WP post] to a site, we could tag all the vital criteria (Engine Size, Age, 2/3/4 Door, Manufacturer, Model, etc) to the post and then this plugin would search through all listings on the site, refining the results until it comes back with only the listings that meet all the selected criteria.
HOWEVER, if you have a better way to achieve this result (whether for convenience, speed, functionality, etc), please advise how you recommend achieving this result and why.
Out of the box, we want the plugin to be setup for the following search criteria (facets):
Age/Year of manufacture
Number of Doors
Transmission (auto, manual, etc.)
Location of Vehicle
Type of Vehicle (eg: sedan, coupe, convertible, van, SUV, etc)
Drive Type (4WD, 2WD, Front Wheel Drive, etc)
Keyword (field allows searcher to add additional non-standard terms/words to search for, in addition to above criteria)
As new vehicles are added to a site, the plugin needs to adapt to those available options. An example might explain what I mean by this.
Let's assume the searcher selects Ford as the Manufacturer. It then needs to automatically update the Models field (via AJAX I would assume) so that when a user drops that down, it only shows Ford vehicles. Once they select a specific model, it then needs to update the data shown in the Year of Manufacture, based on the vehicles already in the database....
This will ensure searchers don't get irrelevant search results.
Minor (but important) point: Since this plugin will be mostly used in Australia, it needs to be able to switch between Imperial & Metric measurements. I don't want users forced to see pounds, inches, mph, gallons, etc when they are used to kilograms, centimetres, litres, km/hr, etc.
Ideally there will be a setting in the plugin admin area that can be changed to switch between either type of measurements, which will adjust what is displayed on the site itself.
OK, that should do for now.
PLEASE - before you give a recommendation, go and see the live examples mentioned above (and below) to see how they work. Otherwise I fully expect to just be given the names of a few faceted search plugins listed on the WP site - none of which SEEM to meet my needs.
Thanks in advance for your help.
You could use the Shopp plugin: http://shopplugin.com/. It comes with a widget for faceted search, is well optimized for a huge product catalog, and has an option to turn off the shopping cart functionality (for a "catalog-only" site, which sounds like what you'd need).
Interesting idea! I never thought of it from that perspective...
I am looking at their site right now, trying to determine if it will meet my needs.
Somewhat difficult to tell yet, but fingers crossed.
Marko Nikolic answers:
I'm not sure if you can achieve all requirements with this plugin, but that one is probably the most close to what you need.
It is Relevanssi (Premium version) plugin. You can check it at http://www.relevanssi.com/
Perhaps you will need some customisation on this.
Thanks for the suggestion, but I have already found this plugin & made contact with the writer.
I don't think it will fulfil my needs out of the box unfortunately, so I am still looking around.
Pali Madra answers:
Another option that you can go in for is http://www.searchblox.com/.
Having said that you will have to go in for for customization of the WordPress installs. Maybe a custom taxonomy needs to be added to the installation for the kind of search you are trying to implement.