Understanding the Integration Phases| Hitchhikers Platform

What You’ll Learn

In this section, you will learn:

  • Learn the four integration phases in an Answers implementation

Understanding the integration phases

Implementation Phases

When it’s time to go live, the Admin and Developer will work closely together to integrate Answers onto a domain.

The role of the Admin is to make sure that the experience lives on a Production URL and to provide guidance and strategy around the Answers search bar and the Answers search results page.

The role of the Developer is to follow the Admin’s integration guidance and instructions, and to deploy code for the new Answers search bar and Answers results page.

Integrating an Answers experience can be broken up into four phases:

  1. Adding and/or updating a search bar on the main domain (in the header or through an “overlay” module) - Developer and Admin Action
  2. Adding an Answers Domain - Admin Action
  3. Publishing the experience to Production (after completing QA in Staging) - Admin Action
  4. Standing up the Answers results page - Developer and Admin Action

Adding a search bar on the main domain (Developer and Admin action) A search bar can be added to the main domain either (a) through the header of the page or (b) through an “overlay” module. If you add a search bar to your header, you will link the user out to a separate results page where Answers will be served. If you add a search bar through the “overlay” option, you can present Answers inline, within the overlay panel, or you can use a redirect URL and link the user out to a separate search results page.

Add a Domain consists of adding an Answers domain to the Yext platform and assigning it to your Answers site. The domain format you select will depend on your results page integration path (either JS Snippet or Subdomain).

Publishing the experience (Admin action) consists of standing up an Answers experience in Staging for testing and then in Production for integration. You already learned about how to publish to Staging in the ANS150: Frontend Overview module, but you’ll learn how to publish to Production in Unit 4 of this module (it follows the same flow as publishing to Staging, but you’ll need to set a specific build).

Standing up the Answers results page (Developer and Admin action) follows executing one of two paths - “JS Snippet” or “Subdomain”. The “JS Snippet” integration path means the integration will be injected onto an existing (or newly created) search results page with a Javascript snippet. The “Subdomain” integration path means the experience will live off a subdomain on the main site using a CNAME. A results page is required to go live if you are adding a search bar to your header or using the overlay module and linking the user out to a results page. You do not need to create a results page if you are using the overlay module without a redirect URL (results will instead be inline within the overlay).

At a high level, the main difference between these two methods for standing up a search results page is the header/footer implication (due to the differences in how the Answers experience is surfaced). As the “JS Snippet” path injects the experience as a component on an existing search results page, it will maintain the integrity of the website’s native header/footer. With this path, any changes made to the header/footer will flow through as they are managed separately from the Answers experience. Alternatively, the “Subdomain” path surfaces the experience as the search results page (i.e. search results page now resolves to the Answers experience). With the “Subdomain” path, Yext will recreate the header/footer and workflow is required with Yext any time the header/footer is updated to ensure changes flow through.

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Note that we also have out-of-the-box integrations for certain Content Management Systems and Website Builders - check out our Wordpress Answers Connector as an example! You can find our integrations in our App Directory.
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    Please select the three integration phases for an Answers implementation.

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    What is the main difference in the two methods for standing up a results page?

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