what you didn't[?] know about Firefox

April 18th, 2006
  • Do you know how html forms work? Most people would probably say "no".
  • But do you know how Google works? I'm gonna go out on a limb here and assume that most people would say "yes".

Why am I talking about this? Because I just found a cool feature in Firefox that I didn't know about before. To give a little background first.. have you ever wanted bookmark a search result? But they're not usually "bookmarkable", are they? Well you can, if you know how. It has something with how searches (or in general: form submissions) are handled on the server side. If the form is a post, then bookmarking the url in the navigation bar won't work. If the form is a get (eg. Google), then you can bookmark the search.

So picking up user patterns like that is what makes good software and Firefox has done something to make searching nicer for us. The idea is very simple, but it's the kind of thing that is done easily in software which is inconvenient to do manually by the user.

Seeing is believing so try this one for size. Open http://www.imdb.com/ in Firefox [duh], right click on the input box where you type in your search words and select Add a Keyword for this Search.... I'm not sure which version of Firefox you need for this, but I'm on You will see a dialog box that looks like this:

I have filled it in already, you can copy mine if you like. Now, in your location bar, type m paul walker and hit Enter.

See what happens now? You search imdb for the term paul walker just by typing m searchword in the location bar. What you've set up here is essentially a bookmark, with a keyword. The keyword is m, what you type in to run a search. It could just as well have been imdb or moviedatabasesearch, then again m is shorter, no?

Needless[?] to say, this isn't limited to imdb.com, you can use this function to create a bookmark for every search box anywhere and set up short keywords to run searches more conveniently. I didn't demo this with google because Firefox already has the google search integrated, but I think this is actually a nicer way to google than using the google input box.

:: random entries in this category ::

5 Responses to "what you didn't[?] know about Firefox"

  1. ash says:

    Umm, Firefox (at least my version) also has an IMDB search bar too.... :P
    But yeah, it is neat, I love the different search bars. In a beta version of Firefox the search bars worked a little differently, and you could set up your own keyword searches like the one you did, although you needed to copy in the actual get term from the address bar. Glad to see they've simplified it.

  2. numerodix says:

    Well mine doesn't have the imdb search from the pull down menu, but doing it this way is quicker anyway. Besides, you can do it for _any_ search at all, of course you knew that already.

  3. ash says:

    And btw, on a completely unrelated note, I've found Erik' website!! :eek:
    Thanks to Martin clicking on the link to my page from there, you see...I recognised the "erikpleyte.com" in my logs immediately. I also sent you a long message about a small problem, and about finding the site, using your contact and report forms - but they don't work! How do you report a problem with reporting a problem?
    Anyway, aside from the forms not working, the Contact link on the menu sends you to the gallery.

    But it looks really good anyway, and I'm looking forward to seeing what's on there. Is the blog going to move there? Are there RSS feeds there too?
    I would have e-mailed you asking all this Erik, but I don't have your address! And since you hadn't told us all on your own blog, I wasn't sure about commenting there on my discovery, in case you wanted to break the news yourself. :D

  4. erik says:

    Oohh damn you Martin - this is only still a trial version of the site that nobody was supposed to see :mad: :D

    BTW: boats. I was looking up Paul Walker on IMDB just yesterday.

  5. numerodix says:

    [4] oopsie :D

    Why do you think I used Paul Walker as example, only because you mentioned him a few days ago and it stuck in my mind :D