Ever wished you could search any site you wanted to without first going to the site, finding the search box, typing in the search? Ever wish you had a quick and easy way to go directly to a word on dictionary.com or thesaurus.com? Ever wish you had something like the Google Bar for any website? Now you can! I just discovered a nifty feature in Firefox called Bookmark Keywords.
What Bookmark Keywords let you do is create a bookmark which you can access by typing a keyword into the address bar. For instance, I might make the keyword “doug” pull up my blog. I addition to that I can create a special bookmark which allows me to use that keyword to search the site by typing something like “doug coldfusion”. That would spawn a search of DougHughes.net for the keyword “coldfusion”. Like most everything in Firefox it’s a hidden feature, but it’s easy to use when you know how.
To create a Bookmark Keywords go to a search results page on any website and add a bookmark. For instance, I went to my blog, ran a search, and bookmarked the search results page. The bookmark ended up being a for this url:
After creating the bookmark I open up the properties of the bookmark using the Bookmark Manager. I replace the text which I searched for with “%s” and assign the keyword “doug” to the bookmakr. I used “doug” as the keyword. The “%s” tells Firefox to insert the text you type after the keyword where the “%s” is the URL. My bookmarked URL now looks like this:
After saving the updates to my bookmark I can now search DougHughes.net for coldfusion by typing the following into my address bar:
Some great uses I’ve found for this are to setup keywords for dictionary.com and thesaurus.com. This lets me easily look up synonyms for “vociferous” quickly and easily or to find the definition of the word “cudgel”.
The one thing I don’t think you can do, which I’d love to be able to, is chain a set of keywords to search across multiple sites and open the results in new tabs. That would allow me to assign the keyword coldfusion to lots of coldfusion sites and I could easily search across all the sites with one query. Ah well, maybe I should suggest that to the Firefox guys. (Hell, maybe you already can do this!)