My Furl Archive and Firefox Search

UPDATE DEC. 20: Ask, and you shall receive. An enterprising Contentious reader built exactly what I wanted. Now you can use it too

I dearly love the free Firefox web browser – especially all the cool add-ons people have developed for it (since it’s open source). Lately I’ve been having fun adding new search engines to the search field in the toolbar. Several good search engines are included with the browser – but if you want more, there are plenty of Firefox search plugins to choose from.

For instance, with the right search plugin installed I can search my del.icio.us page of recommended reading links right from my web browser, without having to go to del.icio.us first.

Alas, I can’t yet do that with my Furl archive – where searchability is more important to me, after all. Maybe some dashing developer will make this little wish of mine come true (hint hint).

Here’s what I’d love to see…

I use Furl primarily because it stores a copy of all the web pages I save there, creating a searchable archive of all the cool stuff I’ve found on the web. This means that when I’m trying to remember if I read anything cool on, say, flex-fuel vehicles, the first thing I’ll do is search my Furl archive.

I tend not to make many comments in my Furl archive though. It’s mainly a storage system for me. I store far more pages than I wish to share with Contentious readers. I share my recommended link list through Del.icio.us, so that’s where I make my most of comments and do detailed tagging. (I explained my system for that in this article.

Right now, though, if I want to search my Furl archive, I need to go to Furl and log in. Not a big deal, really.

Still, I would love it if I could go to my search toolbar, choose “My Furl archive” from the drop-down list, and it would log me in to Furl and let me search my archive there (both public pages and private). Not just the metadata: the actual contents of the pages stored in my archive. For instance, a search for “AVFIC” would turn up this article on the Adaptive Variable Fuel Internal Combustion engine, which I archived today in Furl.

Right now there is a Firefox search plugin for Furl, but that searches ALL the public archives in Furl – not just my archive, let alone the private pages in my archive.

I don’t know if a “My Furl archive” search plugin is possible, but I would love it….

Just daydreaming…

7 thoughts on My Furl Archive and Firefox Search

  1. It’s not s search plugin, but I made a Bookmarklet tool that can do a quick search in your Furl archive:
    http://jade.mcli.dist.maricopa.edu/alan/furl_search_maker.php

    It is designed to do a Furl search if you highlight a chunk of text on a web page, and click the bookmarklet. If no text is selected, it provides a text box to type in your key words.

    Your mileage may very; I’ve not used it in a while, but it did work when I tested it.

    I have another one that allows you to search any WordPress Blog:
    http://jade.mcli.dist.maricopa.edu/alan/wp_search_maker.php

    made because I hated baving to load my whole blog page to get at the search box.

  2. Otis: I’ve already got an extensive Furl archive and I like their system. I’m not inclined to switch to Simpy. And I disagree with you that Furl “isn’t going anywhere anyway.” It’s useful to me as it is, and it doesn’t appear to be going away.

    – Amy Gahran
    Editor, Contentious

  3. Steven: Thanks for reminding me about the Furl toolbar. That gets me about halfway where I want to go.

    The thing is when I use that toolbar to search my Furl archive, all it does is log me in to Furl and take me to the search page. That helps, but what I REALLY want is to be able to search my Furl archive right from the Firefox search toolbar — just like I can search my del.icio.us archive from there.

    So I’m still hoping for the perfect solution….

    – Amy Gahran
    Editor, Contentious

  4. @Amy: If I use the Furl search from the Firefox toolbar I do get to search my own archive right away. The first results are ‘Results from My Archive’.
    But it’ll probably only do that if you stay logged in on Furl.

  5. Aha! Caspar probably sees something different from Amy, because she was using Unix. Before Firefox 1.5, most unix users could not install search plugins, only root could.

    This means that the furl search engine plugin was probably not installed when she installed the Furl toolbar. Thankfully, Christian already fixed this for Amy.

    But I am glad that Firefox also fixed this issue for unix users. Sadly, it seems Furl Toolbar 0.6 is not fully compatible with Firefox 1.5.

    David

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