Ambedo Blog

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Yahoo Launches Open Shortcuts

Yahoo today launched their Open Shortcuts. It is basically a light version of Ambedo and Yubnub. The features are best described in their FAQ but it works like Yubnub but with all shortcuts starting with ! followed by the command and possibly a parameter. Example: "!amazon kingkong" would search for "kingkong". You can also read some more about it over at SearchEngineWatch.

Here's my short analysis if the service. Of course it is very biased since I like Ambedo a lot.

You have to be logged in
To use Yahoo's shortcuts you have to be logged in. With Yubnub you always access all commands immediately without logging in. Ambedo allows you to access your tags with a bookmarkable page that allows you to use tags, but not edit them.

Missing instant feedback
This is a problem with both Yubnub and Yahoo. You do not no for sure what will happen before you type a command (if you even remember it). Power users (which are the likely usage group) will have loads of commands and require instant feedback that they indeed have entered the correct command and what will happen before hitting enter to execute. Ambedo does all its tag matching on the client side (it is in fact not ajax as many people think), providing instant feedback before executing on a tag.

Cannot use multiple commands
With Yahoo it's not possible to create two shortcuts with the same name that go to different sites, or possibly where one shortcut accesses the search engine and the other one goes to the site's homepage. Ambedo lets you create multiple tags with the same name that do different things and letting you easily decide what happens client side before it happens.

There is nothing social about it
Yahoo's service is quite boring as there is nothing social in it. Yubnub takes it to the extreme and all commands are shared with everyone, that is you can't have your own personal commands. Ambedo does it differently and provides a directory where you can share your tags with other people and use theirs, but you don't "pollute" your own search box's "tagspace".

Good help and FAQ
There is something that is much better at Yahoo and that's their documents describing the system and explaining how to use it. Ambedo and to some extent Yubnub can improve in this areas.

Missing multiple parameters
Had I created a service like this today, I sure would have created multiple parameter support from the start, something that both Ambedo and Yahoo is missing. (It is since long on my todo list for Ambedo.)

There is nothing new
The release of Yahoo's shortcuts is quite boring, there is nothing new to it! They should have taken Yubnub's and Ambedo's concept and added some new cool feature to it.

Pattern detection
Things that I just love about Ambedo, and use every day, is the pattern detection. Enter a domain name and you can do Whois, Alexa lookup, DNS report etc on the domain instantly. It works for other things such as ISBN's and math as well. It is one of the most useful and important features of "the smart search box" imho.

Works in all search boxes
They say that the shortcuts should work in all their search boxes which should be great if that is correct. Does the browser toolbar work then as well? That's one of the things people are asking for Ambedo to have as well. Anyone interested can in fact implement it themselves since Ambedo populates the search box based on the q parameter.

Released too fast?
Yahoo owns really cool properties such as and runs its own MyWeb services. Why did they not connect the shortcuts to those systems? That would make a nice and cool service but now it is like they're having three systems that are similar without an idea what they're doing. Yahoo needs their own project Fusion perhaps?

I'm sure there are other things that I've missed here, but these are the things that come to mind right now. I've been saying it for quite some time now, but there is a cool feature coming to Ambedo really soon. Perhaps during the Christmas holidays if I get some spare time.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Basic bugs fixed

Finally fixed the bug so that pages that require login actually redirect much faster. I never noticed since I've always been logged in. But that was a serious bug and a lot of people must have had problems because of it. Too bad that it's often hard to find the "little" bugs (this was a one line fix).

And yes, there will be some nice, really nice, new functionality soon!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Blummy is nice

Found a new little tool today called blummy. I first had a hard time understanding what it was, the description is a bit confusing but the functionality is great. You probably know about bookmarklets, small pieces of Javascript you can save as a bookmark to quickly access some functionality. (Ambedo has bookmarklets to easily tag search engines.) Well, Blummy is a tool that lets you host your bookmarklets online and easily access them from any computer, through a bookmarklet of course. Also there is a directory where you can share your bookmarklets (or blumlets as they are called). Ambedo users can go grab Ambedo's blumlets, they're ready for use.

Really nice work by Alexander Kirk!

What is a blog without posts?

Nothing. I am ashamed. Why have a blog when you don't blog... Anyway not much has happened with Ambedo lately so I haven't blogged. However, there are a few things on its way so hopefully you can read something interesting here soon.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

TrimPath - Interesting Javascript code

The O'Reilly Radar wrote about the TrimPath project. It looks like some really interesting Javascript code. Thers is a template engine, a query language, a spreadsheet application, and more. All in Javascript.

Is RSS the TCP/IP Packet of Web 2.0?

Babak Nivi is writing an interesting series about RSS and its role as TCP/IP of Web 2.0. In the latest installment about Yubnub I made a comment outlining some of the differences between Ambedo and Yubnub. They are:

  • Everyone has their own “tagspace”. This means users can have their own tags and decide for themselves what a certain tag should do. So you basically avoid collisions. Still though there is a directory where you can share your tags and also import someone elses. With your own tagspace you can also use it for bookmarks stored on Ambedo. These can then handle things like logins or other repetitive tasks which you easily can access through a customized url.

  • It is based entirely client side - all your tags are loaded immediately in compact JS. With this it is very easy to see exactly what is going to happen before you hit enter.

  • There are features other than tags/commands. There is a built-in calculator and also detects patterns such as urls, isbns, domains, ip addresses etc. This makes it handy for most day to day tasks for me at least. I can type almost anything I want and get it done immediately with Ambedo.

Two feeds and counting

What is a website without some XML feeds? Not much these days. This blog already has an Atom feed. Today Ambedo's latest tags page got a RSS feed so you won't miss a single new tag that is added to the directory. I'll add a feed of directory searches later on as well. Any other feeds you think Ambedo needs? Let me know.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Better login

I finally came around and fixed the login functionality of Ambedo. Now you no longer have to login and hit back and reload after logging in to do what you planned to do. After logging in you will be forwarded to what you intended to do. The site should now operate like a site actually should operate. Coding things like this is really boring but still something a site just has to have. I have a few other items like this on my todo list for Ambedo which I'll get around doing some day.

It try to mix the boring things (like this login stuff) with the fun things such as playing with PHP's object autoloading. Too bad the PHP installed isn't version 5, I couldn't do the fun things I wanted to do. I really like Perl's autoloading and wanted to see what's possible to do in that area with PHP and doing something smart with the classes that map to databases. I've been looking for something like Ruby on Rails for PHP, but haven't found it.