No one at MapQuest is more passionate about our APIs than our fantastic Product Managers. They know their products inside and out, backward and forward; in fact, you might call them a little evangelical. Each month, we sit down with one of our PMs to discuss what they wish our users knew about our APIs. This month, we sat down with Senior Product Manager, Jonathan Harahush, and asked him what he wishes users knew about our Search Ahead API.

Autocomplete and Type Ahead

For those of you wondering “What is Search Ahead, anyway,” it is, quite simply, our version of type-ahead, autocomplete searching. As users enter their query, Search Ahead utilizes our powerful, predictive backend search prowess to return relevant suggestions.

Modern response

The API was designed to adhere to the latest API design standards. It also embraces GeoJSON as the standard for expressing location data, which integrates well with other geospatial libraries, like Leaflet. We provide just enough information about each suggestion in a lightweight manner, so it’s easy to get up and running.

The right amount of data

Search Ahead returns data in a variety of collections -- think of them as "buckets" of data -- which represent certain categories (e.g. addresses, admin areas, airports, etc.). You can choose whether or not you want to use all of the collections, or just some. For example, maybe your application is used to find airports. Choose just the airport collection to ensure your users’ queries return Denver International Airport, instead of Denver, CO or Denver Garage Door Experts.

Location, location, location

Sometimes you need a little location relevancy bias in your Search Ahead search results, and sometimes you don’t. Search Ahead lets you choose whether or not to submit a user’s location, thus returning location-relevant data. The choice is yours.

Customization for days

The Search Ahead API returns responses in a complete or piecemeal format, providing endless customization options for display within your application. Do you want to bold the street address? Italicize the city? Display the result as two or three lines? The preassembled string response, or individual pieces enable you to customize as much or little as you want.

All that’s missing is you

For more information, check out our Search Ahead API documentation.