Create your own Firefox search plugin

The search box on the FireFox toolbar is a pretty useful thing, giving you quick access to various search engines and other sites, like Amazon, eBay and Wikipedia. It’s based on a Mozilla project called Mycroft (that being the name of Sherlock Holmes’ brother) and if you have a browse around, you’ll find plugins to enable you to search loads of different sites using that single box on your browser.

Well, I found out today just how damn easy it is to make one of these for yourself. You don’t even need to know any XML – the format used to code the plugins – just fill a form in on the Mycroft site. I did this to create a search box for DavePress, which you can install by visiting this page.

The form is simplicity itself to complete, with only one tricky field, which is where you specify the URL to use when carrying out searches. Here’s a tip for WordPress users, you need to input:

http://yourblogurl.com/index.php?s={searchTerms}

For a less-than-five minute job, you’d be mad not to. Might be a useful thing for local councils, government departments etc to do to make their stuff that bit more simple to find.

6 thoughts on “Create your own Firefox search plugin”

  1. Gaaaa, if only our search form wasn’t ‘request.form’ based!

    I’m going to have to tinker to try and get the querystring version out instead.

  2. @simon

    All you need to do is create a page which takes a single argument and then “posts” it onto the search page.

    /mysearch/index.htm?q=string

    –> redirects to

    /reasearch.htm

    ie carefully frisk the GET values, maybe record the event, then turn those values into POSTS.

    That way your mycroft box url can be as simple as:
    /mysearch/?q=

  3. What’s the point? The search box seems to be one of the first things people remove when customising toolbars because typing into the location bar also searches.

    Anyone wanting a specialist search can make a bookmark of the bit up to and including the = sign and enter something in the keyword field (say dp). Then type “dp searchterm” into the location bar and away you go…

    Encouraging people to download and install stuff from many websites is not good.

  4. MJ Ray. I agree its simple to make your own useful shortcuts to searches.

    However, my google search in FF drops down and shortcuts to google (uk) google (fr), chambers dictionary, thesauri, wikipedia, google code search, amazon, yahoo, answers .com, weather.com, ebay and so on.

    I wouldn’t be able to remember my own self-made short cuts to all these sites, and I find them terribly intuitive and easy to use.

  5. @Dave.

    Its a wonder you didn’t make a google search bar for localgovglossary.

    I’d be tempted to re-use its definitions if I could access them via REST or SOAP or some other xml-like structure.

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