Engineering

Engineering Blog

Intern Project: Building the Yelp iOS Widget

We recently launched Yelp’s new Today Widget, so now you can search Yelp with a single tap from anywhere on your iPhone or iPad (iOS 8+). Today Widgets live in Notification Center, which can be accessed anywhere on the device by swiping on the top of the screen. You can search directly for a category near your current location, or open up the app directly to search input. App Extensions Today Widgets are a type of app extension (which include action, share, and photo editing extensions, custom keyboards, and document pickers). An app extension is a separate binary from the...

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Designing the Android Navigation Drawer

Since the dawn of time – or a very long time at least – the Yelp Android app has relied on a springboard design pattern for its navigation. This once-popular pattern served us well through the years as it allowed users quick access to Yelp’s most-used features. However, the design came with a series of trade-offs. The Yelp Android app back in 2009 and 2011 Navigating Yelp is inherently a free-form action. Users may search for a business, look through some of that business’ reviews, then check Talk for the latest news in their community, before finally liking some of...

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Automatically Categorizing Yelp Businesses

At Yelp, we use categories for businesses to help determine search results, improve search relevance, inform our users of what a business does, as well as help our sales team target groups of businesses. For example, Starbucks is categorized as Coffee & Tea, and Walgreens stores are often categorized as both Drugstores and Convenience Stores.   A number of our businesses don’t have categories, but they do hold other clues which can be used to infer categories. They tend to be businesses with relatively few reviews and photos, since more popular businesses would have eventually been assigned a category by...

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Docker in the Real World at Yelp

Thousands of businesses use Yelp SeatMe every day to manage their seating and reservations. Having a stable system is incredibly important to us, given how critical this system is to many businesses. This blog post is going to dive into how we use Docker to reliably develop and deploy Yelp SeatMe. Docker is an incredibly powerful productivity booster and has simplified our deployment pipeline. Hopefully, from this post, you’ll understand how to do it for your team. First, we’ll give a little bit of background on what Yelp SeatMe is, how it’s developed, and deployed. What is Yelp SeatMe? Restaurants...

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Yelp Dataset Challenge Rides Again

6. An impressive number. It’s 1 x 2 x 3 AND 1 + 2 + 3. It’s brilliant AND the number of degrees of freedom a rigid object has to move in three dimensions. It’s where we are in the history of the Yelp Academic Dataset challenge. We’ve had 5 rounds, hundreds of academic papers written, and we are excited to go at it again. Our dataset for this iteration includes information about local businesses in 10 cities across 4 countries. This dataset contains 1.6M reviews and 500K tips by 366K users for 61K businesses. It also comes with rich...

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Roaring into August

Most of July was spent ramping up for our internal hackathon so it was a little slower for us. Last month, we hosted a small PyLadies workshop and celebrated the Designers + Geeks 4 year anniversary (2.5 years of which have been hosted at Yelp!). We also had Tera- Nicholle Nelson, the VP of Marketing for MyFitnessPal and Under Armour, stop by our office to discuss how to “disrupt” yourself. Since hackathon recently wrapped up, we’re slowly recovering from dinosaurs, hacking, and our food comas (look out for our official hackathon post coming out soon!). Coming up this month, we’ve...

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iPhone vs. Android: What Does Your Phone Say About You?

It’s the battle of our generation - iPhone vs. Android - and Yelp has some novel data on what makes these devices different. Users of both are aligned in their passion of using Yelp to find restaurants as well as nightlife, plumbers and even dentists. However, when we dug into the search queries, some interesting differences were revealed - some stereotypical (brunch, Starbucks, cheap, luxury, whole foods/organic), some not so much (beer vs. wine, ramen vs. steaks). Regardless of the differences, we discovered some things for certain: everyone loves sushi, pizza, and delivery of all kinds! Let’s start with a...

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Know Thyself: My Internship Quest to Build a Framework to Analyze Our Yelp Feed

Over the years Yelp has built cool integrations with partners such as Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo and many others that have enabled users to interact with our rich dataset in unique ways. One of the methods we’ve used to achieve these integrations is by building a robust, scalable data feeds system, which contains information for over 50 million businesses. As we allow partners to have their own configurations, information included in these feeds may vary from one partner to another and we did not have an easy way to access the history of data feeds that were delivered to our partners....

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