Archive for January 2010

Quix, a bookmarklet and toolbox of web-oriented commands

Quix is a new tool that allows you to unclutter you bookmarklets by using a “command-line” like syntax. You simply drag-and-drop their bookmarklet to your bookmarks and invoke its prompt by clicking it on the page you need it. For example, if you’re on this page and type “gs wiki”, it will Google Site Search this page for the term “wiki” (see video below).

Two very concrete uses of this I see here is accessing a wider variety of search engines and dictionaries and submitting to social sites. The webmaster tools seem very interesting too, if you’re into that.

By the way, this is similar to the Firefox “bookmark keyword” feature, which, combined with the “Add a keyword for this search…” feature gives a similar functionality (see Lifehacker guide). Yet, Quix has a wide range of integrated commands (just reading the list I made a bunch of fun discoveries) and the replacements are more flexible.

Sure earlier there were “command lines for the Web” such as, notably, YubNub. But Quix is different in that it executes in the context of the current page, allowing it to be a portal to other bookmarklets. YubNub is interesting for the wide variety of commands it already has, by the way (and it could be integrated through Quix easily, I guess).

You can also add custom commands to use in the Quix prompt. To do this, you have to understand its syntax, but it’s very simple. As an example, I added a command to clean up the current page for easier reading with the “Instapaper Text” tool (which is similar to Readability, which I posted about about a year ago). The basic command structure is:

command  "bookmarklet code or url"  "description"

To use your own extension (go there for form), you’ll have to put up a text file somewhere on the Web. I suggest using Pastie, and clicking on the “Raw” link. Here’s the textfile for the above Instapaper command.

Update: as this new Lifehacker guide suggests, you can even get the Quix prompt quicker by setting up a keyword/keybinding in Firefox, or similarly in other browsers. See the guidelines for each browser. Also, Lifehacker points to Merlin Mann’s own extensions.

Via ReadWriteWeb.