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Bookmarklets are an example of a nifty web technology that is only now starting to get the attention it deserves.

Snippets of javascript code held in browser bookmarks, bookmarklets are designed to provide quick access to web resources, using information from the current page being browsed. As javascript can be addressed by a URI, it's easy enough to turn code into an appropriate URI and then share it with friends and colleagues. It's a technology that's ideal for searching the web for similar documents or specific terms - or for grabbing links and posting them to blogs. One thing to note - while bookmarklets are a key to a two-way web they only use your local browser resources - they are not part of the web site you're using.

An excellent example of this technology is this Google News bookmarklet (copy this short cut into your browser as a bookmark, and then start using it!) detailed here on Danny O' Brien's Oblomovka blog. Just add the bookmarklet to your browser's favourites, and when exploring news sites, click on the bookmarklet to see Google News' list of related stories.

The bookmarklets.com web site contains many more bookmarklets, all free for use - and modification.

Now why aren't there any Live Journal bookmarklets out there?


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 16th, 2002 09:14 am (UTC)
It's not *quite* the same sort of thing, but here's one that I inherited from a colleague at QCA and must have put on dozens of machines at Sony:
Basically, it switched table borders on and off -- which was an absolute godsend when working on the (*nd*rs*n C*ns*lt*ng-designed) Playstation.com e-shop.

As you'd expect, it doesn't work for framesets or in non-IE browsers.
Dec. 16th, 2002 09:19 am (UTC)
No, it's exactly the same thing! There's a whole class of design oriented bookmarklets. Excellent tools that come in really useful...
Dec. 16th, 2002 09:18 am (UTC)
Galeon encourages bookmarlet use. I tweaked their Google one to search on an entire phrase, rather than just the words, since that's what I want to do much more often.

I just wish I could grant greater privs to bookmarklets than to embedded JavaScript. Maybe they should run in a separate instance of the JavaScript runtime? That way you wouldn't have to do those variable uglification tricks either...
Dec. 16th, 2002 09:24 am (UTC)
I think that's going to have to be something for the next generation of browsers - probably time to start talking about it in various Mozilla forums, seeing as that's where the innovation's happening again...
Dec. 16th, 2002 10:15 am (UTC)
"I just wish I could grant greater privs to bookmarklets"

I've sometimes wished for that, but it would be a security hole -- get somebody to "add this cool bookmarklet, and..." boom!

If you could adjust privs on a per-bookmark basis it would work; Phoenix, at least, has a "properties" dialog for bookmarks, which would be the obvious place to add it.
Dec. 16th, 2002 12:09 pm (UTC)
Frankly, it doesn't seem to be hard to get users to download and run completely untrusted executables with the highest privileges, clicking "yes, do it" to every dialog that says "You seem to be handing control of every computer you've ever used and ever will use to a gang of criminal psychopaths. Are you sure? (Y/N)" - the "dancing pigs" principle. In that sense, giving users the power to run programs not trusted by some outside authority is a security hole.

However, there may be a stronger point in there, since privs for bookmarklets might violate reasonable user expectations in a way that privs for executables doesn't.

It would also be straightforward to add this checkbox to Galeon.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )