14 jQuery Live Search Plugins

A live search is an enhanced search form that uses AJAX technology to deliver results or suggestions within the same view. This is different from a regular HTML input field that is given autocomplete powers from a modern browser like Chrome, Firefox or Safari. A live search is often an input field that has been programmed to load suggestions from a specific dataset.

July 6th, 2017: This article was rewritten to update the list of plugins, and include some bonus, non-jQuery libraries.

Using live search in your application greatly improves the user friendliness of your site. Whatever back-end technology you are using — PHP, Java, Python, Ruby — JavaScript is your best bet in implementing a client-side live search feature.
Before I proceed, I would like to point out that the term live search is a bit ambiguous. There’s no authoritative definition for that term. Other terms that are frequently used to mean the same thing are autocomplete and type ahead.
I’ve come across a number of solutions labeled as live search which lack certain critical features. For this article, I’ll only shortlist live search solutions that fit the definition I’ve defined above.
1. Ajax Live Search

The first one on this list is a pretty amazing open-sourced, live search jQuery plugin. It is well documented and works perfectly in Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, and IE8. The most impressive feature is that it can return results in the form of a paginated table! How cool is that?
You can learn more about it in the following links:


2. Semantic UI Search Component

If you are into CSS frameworks, you should check out Semantic UI. They have a cool Search Component that allows you to implement live search on your forms very easily. Just take a look at this example code: