Spring ‘21 Release is Now Live!

Authors:

Nick Oropall, Senior Manager of Platform Product Marketing
Jessie Smith, Associate Platform Product Marketing Manager
Vic Meyer, Associate Platform Product Marketing Manager

Blog Date: March 2021

Overview

For those of you who are new to Hitchhikers — Welcome to Yext's training platform & community! Hitchhikers is the home for all of Yext's product and release updates so we encourage you to create a free user and check out the platform.

Yext's seasonal releases are always packed with new features and functionality to keep Hitchhikers on the cutting edge of search, and the Spring '21 Release is no different. Across the product suite we have added new features that will help you to drive value and improve your user experience.

Here are just a few of the powerful new features in the Spring '21 Release:

Document Search with Extractive QA

The modern searcher asks complex questions and expects direct, rich results. Sometimes those answers are buried in unstructured long-form documents — like blogs, bios, support articles, product manuals. But your end-user doesn't care how you store the data, they just want an answer. This is why we've added another component to our multi-algorithm story: Document Search, powered by Extractive QA.

With Document Search, Answers can return direct answers to user's questions (via Featured Snippets) by surfacing them from unstructured documents. This is made possible by Extractive QA, which pulls out the relevant snippet using advanced Natural Language Processing technology to match the query's intent to that snippet.

Now you can answer even more questions than ever, regardless of where your data resides. This opens up several new use cases, like helping customers search your support articles, or enabling employees to search an internal knowledge base. With expanded use cases comes greater value for you through reduced support costs, new search intelligence, and increased revenue.

You can read more about configuring this feature in the Document Search Hitchhikers module.

Note: As of the Spring '21 release, Document Search is only available in English.

Data Connectors With the Yext Crawler

The most powerful Knowledge Graphs are robust with data that reflect your entire business. But it can be challenging to unify that data into a single source. This release we are launching Connectors to allow Hitchhikers to easily manage incoming data from a growing number of sources.

A Connector is anything that takes data from a source and transforms it to entities in the Knowledge Graph. Existing sources include: manual inputs, file upload, Site Crawler, or an app like Google My Business, Shopify, Magento, Zendesk, or ServiceNow.

Once you select a Connector source, you can follow a workflow to customize the Connector configuration, including sync frequency, endpoints, and more. This one-stop-shop UI will help you save time and integrate disparate data sources, by managing your integrations in one place.

One new source that we want to highlight is the Crawler. The Yext Crawler helps users scrape web pages to extract content to store in the Knowledge Graph. Our customizability features allow you to extract precise data based on CSS or XPath or use built-in selectors that capture commonly extracted data, like Page Title and Body Content. You can also set a schedule for repeated crawls and blacklist URLs you want to exclude.

Look out for more data connectors that we'll add over time. Have one in mind that you'd like? Let us know in the community!

Answers Search UI SDK, Core SDK, and API

With the Spring '21 Release, you can now create a customized look and feel for your Answers search engine while still using Yext's powerful Answers algorithms. You have several options for building your own frontend including our Answers Search UI SDK (a Javascript library of pre-built components), the Answers Core SDK (a wrapper for the Answers API), and the Answers API. Your choice of method depends on your preferred level of customization and flexibility in the build process. All three of these allow you to build a custom frontend search experience that delivers direct answers to your end-user and perfectly matches the user experience of your website. To learn more, click here.

Don't want to invest in developer resources? You can get your search experience up and running quickly with our out-of-the-box solution — using an Answers Hitchhikers Theme and Jambo within the Yext platform! You can learn more about how Jambo and the Hitchhikers Theme work together in the Hitchhikers Module, Overview of Answers Frontend.

Yext CLI

The Yext Command Line Interface (Yext CLI) provides a new way for Hitchhikers to manage account configurations directly from their local machines. Without ever entering the Yext platform, the Yext CLI enables you to:

  • Edit your Yext Account configuration from your local machine
  • Clone configuration from one Yext Account to another Yext Account
  • Save a version of your account configuration as a backup to revert to when making big changes

Be on the lookout for new functionality that will be added to the Yext CLI during future releases. To get started, you'll need to install the CLI. Once installed, we recommend checking out one of our new guides:

Answers for Authenticated Use Cases

Even within platforms containing sensitive information, people expect great search. In cases of non-public search like employee intranet sites, support sites, or knowledge-base search, users want to find answers quickly and accurately. Yext can provide a layer of security required for these search environments. How does this work? Developers can use their API token to call our secure API token endpoint, which generates a JSON Web Token that can be used as authorization for other calls to Live API. These time-bound tokens can include user context, so that only verified individuals will be able to access Answers results. By powering your platform with Answers, you can make your content more accessible, and drive impactful user action through clear calls-to-action. To learn more about our Secure Token API, click here.

That's not all! To learn more about the Spring '21 Release including demos, deep dives, new publishers and more, check out the Hitchhikers exclusive Sneak Peek: Fall '21 Release webinar recording with Max Shaw, Yext's SVP of Product.

If you have any questions or feedback related to the release, please stop by the Hitchhikers Community. We have specific topics for each release item and will have the experts standing by, ready to answer any questions you have.

We know many of the Hitchhikers will want to check out everything in the Spring '21 release. For the full list of features head to the Spring '21 Release Notes.

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Spring ‘21 Release is Now Live!

Nick Oropall, Senior Manager of Platform Product Marketing

Yext's seasonal releases are always packed with new features and functionality to keep Hitchhikers on the cutting edge of search, and the Spring '21 Release is no different. Across the product suite, we have added new features that will help you to drive value and improve your user experience.