I’ve been trying to find clever Ubiquity commands in the Herd. I want to see things that use the preview functionality in interesting ways, like the built-in map command does. What I’ve wound up doing so far, though, is sifting through dozens of commands that do nothing more than what could be done with a custom entry in the Firefox Search Bar, or commands that are nothing but links to another page.

While I think it’s useful to be able to search and go to websites from a command line, it’s not what I have in mind when I search for new commands.

I think that search engines and bookmarks should be separated from the rest of the commands, and that posting search engines or bookmarks as commands to the command part of the Herd should be discouraged. This will help in several ways:

  • Users who don’t know JavaScript will have an easy time adding bookmarks and search engines to Ubiquity and assigning them strings
  • I’ll be able to add search engines and bookmarks from websites without having to look at the code or decide whether I can trust the people who write the code
  • If I provide a bookmark or search engine on my website I won’t have to worry about convincing my users to trust me enough to install it, since it won’t be able to send any information from their browser to my website except for a search query
  • I won’t have to sift through bookmarks and search engines to find commands that provide advanced functionality
  • It will encourage website owners to create more powerful Ubiquity commands

Ubiquity is at an early stage, so I won’t be surprised if someone’s already working on separating simple commands from more complex ones. I hope so. I really want to see Ubiquity catch on, and for that to happen I think it needs to be easier for users to customize their commands.

2 thoughts on “On finding interesting Ubiquity commands…

  1. Agree with everything you say. I want to see more powerful commands too, beyond just pure search commands. Part of the solution for this is categorizing commands. Another thing we are also adding is the ability to create your own search commands using another command. This is good for the user because it is simpler to create your own searches rather than subscribing to others’ search command.

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