Archive for the 'bookmarklets' Category
The ResearchBuzz blog had an article recently about the blog search features of Yahoo’s news site.
Start at Yahoo’s News Site. look at the search box in the upper middle part of the page. Note that you have the option to search news and blogs, just news, news photos, or video/audio. Do a search with the default setting, say for Fred.
Note on the results page that the news results are directly below your query box. The blog results, however, are to the right of the page. To just get blog results, click on the “More Blog results…” link at the bottom of those results. . .
The process to access Yahoo’s blog search results is a bit convoluted, so I put together a Yahoo! Blog Search bookmarklet.
In terms of bad examples, I’ve seen a lot on populicio.us. Populicio.us is a great way to find new and interesting sites, but it offers no context about why the site is interesting. It’s often not immediately apparent why people are bookmarking it. Many web designers would benefit from the advice in the Spark This post:
So how do you engage in a conversation in three seconds or less?
There are four things you can do to improve your odds:
- What’s in it for me?
- Call to Action
As in, “WAIT WAIT! Don’t back-button me!”
I know my own site’s front page could use a redesign. Now I have a better idea of how to go about it.
Incidentally, I’ve created a Google Blog Search bookmarklet for times when I can’t immediately figure out what might be interesting about a site I’ve run across on populicio.us. Searching on the URL will give you a list of other sites with posts about the page in question. The delicious linkbacks bookmarklet is also useful for providing context.
UPDATE (05/08/06): I’ve created a more generic version of the Google Blog Search bookmarklet that prompts for a search string, rather than prompting with the current URL.
I ran across a new site called similicio.us that allows you to search for groups of similar websites, using data from del.icio.us and EasyUtil. So far, the results seem much better than Google’s similar pages search or others that I’ve tried.
To make it even easier to search similicio.us, I created a search similicio.us bookmarklet. If you’re not already familiar with bookmarklets, Lifehacker’s article “Ten Must-Have Bookmarklets” provides a good introduction.
Are your written messages easy to read and understand? One way to know is to look at how often people respond positively to your requests; or whether they respond at all.
From there, I found links to a couple of web forms that analyze text for readability:
I’ve been creating a lot of web pages containing email forms lately. To help streamline testing of the forms, I modified the AutoFill Anonymous bookmarklet to create my own AutoFill Testing bookmarklet. It will fill in any text fields with testing and email fields with email@example.com.
In my opinion, bookmarklets are underappreciated. I decided to collect some of my favorites here and describe why I think they are useful. I have probably 75+ bookmarklets in my bookmark file, but these are my favorites.
Most of these bookmarklets are not my creations. If I’ve mis-credited any of the originators, please let me know. Do follow the links, since most of the sites feature lots more bookmarklets than I’ve included here.
Sure, there are plenty of Firefox extensions now and they too have their place, but bookmarklets are easier to install–simply drag the links below to your bookmark toolbar. Another plus is that you don’t usually have to worry about compatibility with newer versions of Firefox.
These may not work with all browsers, but they all definitely do work in Firefox.
- Dup – This creates a separate window or tab containing the same contents as the current one. It’s handy for backtracking in a new tab or window, without having to lose your place. (originally from WorldTimZone)
- Frmget – Changes any forms on a page from push to get. This is especially handy for the purposes of bookmarking and emailing URLs to specific pages. (originally by Jesse Ruderman)
- Google Cache Viewer – Prompts for a URL and then takes you to a Google Cache version of the page. It’s useful for quickly viewing the contents of PDF and Word document URLs. (adapted from WorldTimZone)
- Go Wayback – Similar to the Google Cache Viewer above, this one can bring up archived pages from the Internet Archive’s “Wayback Machine.” It’s great for seeing how a site has changed over the years or for tracking down the info from a now defunct bookmark. (originally from Fagan Finder)
- Go to Referrer – If you use tabbed browsing and open links in background tabs, this tool can be handy for backtracking to find out why you opened a particular link. (originally by Jesse Ruderman)
- Linearize – Reformats a page so that the entire contents is in a single column. It’s great when you want to copy a lot of text from a page. I use it to more easily grab text from long articles with complex layouts, which I sometimes dump into a text-to-speech reader when my eyes are tired. (originally by Jesse Ruderman)
- PurpleSlurple – Adds faint purple numbers throughout a page which represent anchors. Purple numbers make it easier to link to a particular section within documents, even if the original document doesn’t include anchors. It’s another one that can be useful when emailing a URL to someone, if you want to point out a particular sub-section of a page. (originally from Matthew A. Schneider)
- Sort Table – This one adds links to table columns to make them sortable. Until sortable tables catch on, this is a very handy hack. (originally by Jesse Ruderman)
- Google Search & Amazon Search – These should be self-explanatory, but be aware that they can both prompt for a search term or automatically search for the terms highlighted when clicked. They aren’t as fancy as some of the other bookmarklets above, but I use them all the time.
- Also check out the two variations of the Make My Search bookmarklets, which allow you to create your own customized bookmarklets for just about any site that allows searching.
The most useful bookmarklets are probably the ones you make yourself. I used the Bookmarklet Builder and LibraryLookup Project to create my own customized library + price search bookmarklet. Clicking on the bookmarklet from a book page on Amazon.com or BarnesAndNoble.com, will open three search windows, including the two library systems that I have access to, plus the AddALL price comparison site.
Feel free to leave a comment, if you’d like to let others know about your favorites.
The Scarborough-Phillips Library at St. Edward’s University recently changed to new card catalog software. Today, I used the LibraryLookup Project to create a new ISBN search bookmarklet. The bookmarklet allows quick searching of the library catalog from sites such as Amazon.com.
On the extremely unlikely chance that someone might search for it, I’m posting the SEU Scarborough-Phillips Library Bookmarklet here. To use the bookmarklet, simply drag the link above into a browser’s bookmarks or toolbar, then when browsing Amazon.com click on the bookmarklet to check if the library has the book in its collection. For more general information on bookmarklets, see Wikipedia.