Concept - Intershop-SPARQUE Integration


For many years, searching and browsing within the storefront was done with Solr. Solr will be replaced by SPARQUE.AI.

This concept describes the MVP of the integration into the Intershop ecosystem. Hint: it is very different from the Solr integration.

The full integration will be built in agile fashion. This document describes the MVP of the integration - which in the future will further grow, and also might change in some aspects.



AI-powered search solution provided by Intershop

SPARQUE workspace

Encapsuled environment within SPARQUE


Progressive Web App

Graph, Knowledge Graph

SPARQUE term for search index. Contents from the data sets are combined into a structure which allows for making very efficient search queries. The structure of the graph can be defined very freely within the SPARQUE desk.


SPARQUE Desk Documentation

Guide - Setup a Project with SPARQUE

Architecture Overview

Involved Components




Usually all REST requests from the PWA go to the ICM. With the SPARQUE integration, some requests now are routed to SPARQUE.

Policy Enforcer

Service between PWA and SPARQUE. Required to ensure requests (esp. personalized request) are properly authenticated.


AI-powered search solution provided by Intershop.

Data Provider

SPARQUE needs always complete data sets. For this purpose, the Data Provider stores the most recent version of all files in one location. From this place SPARQUE can pull the data easily and build a new graph.

For the MVP we use Azure file storage.


Creates JWT Token including User ID and Channel. With that additional information the Policy Enforcer can authorize the search requests.

Versions and Compatibility




Policy Enforcer

Data Provider

feature branch can be used in project

ICM 11.2.0

will be provided as services from Intershop


  • PWA capabilities (via API calls)

    • browsing category pages (i.e., pages with sub-categories)

    • product search suggest

    • product search (without filtering)

  • One search graph per channel

  • Full graph build

    • scheduled

    • manually started


Some REST calls go directly to SPARQUE to retrieve information. They are not routed through ICM.

All other requests (customer data, baskets, cms, etc.) continue to be handled by ICM.

The standard integration provides a number of endpoints which fit perfectly into the PWA.

Known Limitations

Currently the Intershop-Sparque integration does not have full feature parity with the existing Solr-based functionality. Since the concepts of Solr and SPARQUE are different, this state will not be reached - to keep the flexibility of SPARQUE, there will always remain customization for each project.

This integration is intended as prefabrication - there is still some work to be done in the project. Over time, the prefab part will grow.

The following features are not supported at the moment. Some of them will be added in the future.



Hints for project development


ICM 7.10 support

The authentication via JWT SPARQUE extension was implemented for ICM 11.

Can be added to 7.10 in a project.


Responsive Starter Store support

The integration was built into the PWA only.

RSS support is not on the roadmap.

  • Some concept work is needed, because the concepts of PWA integration might not be applicable 1:1 to the RSS.

  • Check out options from existing SPARQUE projects.


Configuration (filters and facets, synonyms, etc.)

Since the integration is mostly outside the ICM, the ICM back office cannot be used for configuration. A new GUI is needed, and will be built in either SPARQUE desk or the Intershop Administration Portal.

On the roadmap.

  • Easy (however somewhat unconventional) solution is using a Google spreadsheet for configuration. Used in some existing SPARQUE projects already.


10+ Channels

We plan to put data from 1 channel into 1 data set, to make sure that ICM product sharing is fully supported. SPARQUE has no experience of this kind of setup for a high number of channels. Possibly this setup does not scale well for graph rebuilds and API updates.


Personalized searching and browsing

For the MVP, we only use product and catalog data. For personalization, additional data is required, e.g. order or tracking data.

Can be added in project.

  • Effort depends on the data and the complexity of the personalization rules.

  • Personalization rules exist as show case and can be used as inspiration.

  • Prototype for collaborative recommendations REST API via order data exists and can be used.

  • Prototype for content-based recommendations REST API via product data exist and can be used.

  • Prototype for hybrid recommendations REST API (combining collaborative and content-based) exist and can be used.


Partial graph updates

Limitation within SPARQUE.

The way the SPARQUE knowledge graph is calculated basically requires a full rebuild. No partial or real-time updates are possible.

  • No workaround. Graph build is relatively fast (depending on the amount of data and complexity) - so this might not be an issue at all.


Full end-to-end process automation

Automation will grow over time.

On the roadmap.

  • Prototype for product and catalog data export from ICM and transport to the data provider exists and can be used.

  • Graph rebuild can be scheduled.


Compatibility with ICM staging

On the roadmap.

  • SPARQUE allows different “configurations” within a workspace - use these for edit/live.


Storefront features

The current feature set is limited. Some missing elements are:

  • family page browsing

  • filtering of product lists

  • sorting

  • content search

On the roadmap.

Setup and Configuration

As described above, the integration connects many separate elements. These are lying in various areas of responsibility. Some need to be setup individually, others just need additional configuration.

Follow Guide - Setup a Project with SPARQUE for details.

Search Graph Building Process

SPARQUE works very differently from Solr. We recommend the lecture at SPARQUE Desk Documentation and/or user training, to familiarize yourself with the concepts.

Customization Options

SPARQUE has powerful configuration options. Refer to Guide - Setup a Project with SPARQUE for an overview of possibilities that can be used in projects.

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