DIY a Firefox Search Engine – Twitter People

I mentioned it already: I love Firefox’s feature of “Manage Search Engines” (Internet Explorer 7 has copied introduced a similar one as well). Simply love it, and the reason for it is that it saves me lots and lots of time.

One of the “custom” search engines I had installed was called Flickr Tags. Ironically, though, using it was always a burden. Most of the times I didn’t want to simply search Flickr; what I wanted instead was to search Flickr for Creative Commons images(ones I could put on my blog, for instance), sorted by interestingness (to keep the lame ones out). One way to do this would have been to simply search Mycroft Project for a better one. One other way, though, was to just create my own custom search engine, and this proved to be much simpler than expected (the proof is the little plugin over on mycroft.mozdev.org called Flickr Creative Commons Interesting).

For tutorial purposes, I’ll show you how to build, step by step, a Firefox Search Engine for Twitter contacts.

For this:

  1. We’ll need a favicon for the project. Let’s go to http://twitter.com/favicon.ico and save it on our computer.
  2. Go to http://mycroft.mozdev.org/submitos.html. Check the “Full Instructions” checkbox if you need verbose indications, or just continue.
  3. Choose the icon as the Twitter favicon you previously saved.
  4. Fill in the project name, your email, the project description..
  5. Now for the nice part: The Search URL:

    When I used the search feature on Twitter (see screenshot), I saw that the page url gets changed to include the searched terms. I’ll just copy the url in the Search URL: field, replacing my searched terms by {searchTerms}. Therefore, a url like http://twitter.com/tw/search/users?q=george gets changed into http://twitter.com/tw/search/users?q={searchTerms}. Easy as PI!
  6. Fill in the remaining fields: the plugin category, language, default page(Search Form URL:), comment.
  7. Click on Generate Plugin

That’s it, you’re done. You’ll see a link to your plugins list. Clicking on the plugin’s name will prompt you to add it in the Firefox Search Engines bar.

It took me less than 2 minutes, and I got my custom search engine. You can do it as well. What’s best, by carefully looking at other parameters a search form sends you can, for instance, change the sort order, fine grain the search results and more.

If you ever find yourself using an online search form time and time again, you should consider using(or even creating) a Firefox custom search engine that could save you many hours in the future.


Similar Posts:

Leave a Reply