A new application framework.

We are now publishing release notes 🙂 The Connect 211 Search Engine is really coming together as a usable, refined piece of software.

The biggest update I’d like to share is that we hired a new developer for the project in October, 2020. Chris Short has been a cornerstone of our local developer meetups in Yakima, WA, and has proven himself as a really top notch architect and engineer since coming on to the project. The tempo and scale of updates have both increased, which is why we are starting release notes.

We pushed some major updates out to production yesterday, including:

  • Switch to a new and more robust application framework called NextJs (we previously used Preact).
  • Move filtering of resources by service area to Algolia (the search engine) for better performance for faster search queries. Previously, we did this filtering on the front end after the initial search, and it was really slow.
  • Improve accessibility by adding Aria tags, and making sure keyboard navigation works smoothly.
  • Improve overall user experience, including:
    • Taxonomy searches can now have an address added to them.
    • Search terms being used are always visible in the search box.

We’ve put a major focus on delivering truly accurate service area data for resources in our database. To that end, we’ve been creating a separate software service that turns text definitions of services areas (for example, “King County, WA”) into actual geo-shapes of that area. With this method, we can deliver precisely accurate results without missing any records, and it also brings us into the age of GPS devices like smartphones.

Stay tuned for more updates as they are released.

Thanks for following along!