Enbase Apps maintains a huge database of groceries and other Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) found in supermarkets worldwide. They publish an Android App that lets people scan barcodes using the smartphone’s camera to make an inventory of what they have in their fridge, freezer and pantry (cupboard) or compile a shopping list.
They wanted a search page on their website (Joomla CMS on Windows) so that consumers could quickly enter a product name to find its barcode, and be able to click through to find more information such as a description, product image, nutrition table or link to a vendors website.
Enbase Apps chose the dtSearch Engine for Win & .NET and developed a Java Servlet to provide a RESTful interface to their search page in Joomla. For indexing they chose to use the dtSearch Indexer executable and used scripts to extract the required data from the tables in their MySQL database into a csv file, then they scheduled the dtSearch Indexer to carry out a nightly index update.
A particular issue noticed while developing the site was that searching for Chivers jam would often find chives on several supermarket sites; this is due to the English stemming used on those sites that reduces Chivers to 'chiv'. Enbase Apps adapted the dtSearch stemming rules to ensure that searching on enbase.com always finds Chivers and not chives.
Customized user thesaurus
Unlike searching on a supermarket site that is aimed at delivering goods to customers within its own country, enbase.com provides links on many products to amazon.com (USA), amazon.co.uk and other vendors; this meant that it was important that customers in the USA or UK could easily find items where the same item is known with different names, for example cilantro - coriander, crisps - chips; to overcome this Enbase Apps created a special synonym file using User Thesaurus Plus, this made it easy to maintain and add more synonyms, including common misspellings, in the light of actual user searches.
Migration to Amazon Web Services (AWS)
After running for some time on in-house live, test and failover servers, it was decided to migrate to Amazon's EC2 service. This was successfully achieved with minimal changes to the search servlet, in addition Amazon's S3 storage and CloudFront service were used to create a Content Delivery Network (CDN) for faster loading of hundreds of thousands of images.
Enbase Apps is a trading name of ElectronArt Design Ltd. www.enbase.com was established in 2015 to provide mobile apps and a barcode lookup service for FMCG items. For further information contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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