11 March 2008 - 23:43Using the AwesomeBar

How are people using the AwesomeBar in Firefox 3 Beta 4 [mozilla.com]? (Please comment. [ed.agadak.net])

There have been a lot of positive comments already: searching for multiple words like the domain plus title, adaptive learning that immediately brings previously selected results to the top.

But there are a few that say the desired results aren’t showing up. I’m not sure if they haven’t tried Beta 4, or if they’re just commenting based on previous versions. Or maybe they’ve installed extensions that revert the look of the location bar and haven’t really tried the new features.

Common complaints include typing “news” and getting results that match in the title instead of the url. However, that should be instantly fixed when the user selects the desired result from the list after typing out more of the url. Next time typing “n” will have the previously-selected page at the very top.

Below is a sample thought process that could only be possible with the AwesomeBar*.

I’m trying to find a news article I read yesterday..

Searching for “news”

The first result has news matching at the beginning of the url

Oh, it’s matching a lot of pages that I’ve tagged. I know it’s something in my history that I haven’t bookmarked.

Searching for “news ^”

Restrict results to non-bookmarked pages

Much better. I actually see some Firefox results that I was looking for to begin with. Let’s filter out the pages I don’t want.

Searching for “news ^ fire”

History pages that match the url and title

Beta 2? Beta 3? I just want beta 4 news articles!

Searching for “news ^ fire “beta 4″

String matches for pairs of words like “beta 4”

Perfect! I love the awesomebar! Hehe, thanks shaver. 😉

* The screenshots were taken with a trunk build (win32, os x, linux [build.mozilla.org]) that contain some patches: 393678, 419656, 417441, 415397, 421315, 407946, 415403, 418257, 392143, 249468, 395161, 407204, 406257, 420437, 414326 [bugzilla.mozilla.org]. Feel free to try it out and see if it finds results better or just looks better (6 rows and smaller font size).

* edited downloads to include word boundary matching

36 Comments | Tags: AwesomeBar, Mozilla

Comments:

  1. […] Verkar som Firefox 3 beta4 har fått en bra behandling mot alzheimers. Och för oss användare finns detta. […]

  2. sysKin says: 12 Mar 2008 - 1:53

    It is good, but I really wish it matched from beginning of word only.
    “ebay” should never match “thepiratebay”, and no amount of learning logic will change that fact.

  3. Benjamin_L says: 12 Mar 2008 - 3:03

    What I really dislike is when the mouse is somewhere in the dropdownlist and you press CTRL+L and enter some text, arrow down and press enter, the entry one under the one your mouse is on is selected, this in relly annoying. This is latest Ubuntu hardy running beta3.

  4. Benjamin_L says: 12 Mar 2008 - 3:05

    when not moving the mouse after pressing ctrl+l, the top most entry should be selected by default IMHO.

  5. sysKin: That’s somewhat addressed with the adaptive learning because it’ll remember that you selected ebay.com when you type “e” next time. But yes, there can be ordering issues with the list before you select anything.

    Benjamin_L: I believe your first issue should be fixed for beta 4 with bug 408723. Please try it out and then comment.

    For auto-selecting the first entry, how would that work? You type out something and press enter and it’ll select the first entry? What if you’re typing something new.. say “http://ed.agadak.net/”, but the only entry in your history was “http://ed.agadak.net/2008/03/”? You’re trying to go to a new page. Perhaps if the auto-complete popup is open, it’ll autoselect, but how will the user know to close it before pressing enter?

  6. sysKin says: 12 Mar 2008 - 7:52

    Benjamin_L: you’re talking about beta3, they fixed that in beta4.

  7. sysKin says: 12 Mar 2008 - 8:04

    edilee: yes, adaptive learning helps a lot to bring the right result on top, but imho such match should never happen. It should only match a word after a punctuation symbol or space (so “ebay” should match urls or titles having “.ebay”, “/ebay”, “=ebay”, “ebay”, maybe even “123ebay” etc, but not “piratebay”).

    Note that it’s unlikely to cause any problem: if I want to visit “thepiratebay” but enter “pirate”, it will still match even after that change (which is bug 393678), because of title match.

    Yes, in theory there might exist “thisplacetoronto.com” which does not have “toronto” in title, and a user *might* want “toronto” to match, but at this point cost of bringing useless results is bigger (imho of course) than gain of matching such unlikely case.

  8. Benjamin_L says: 12 Mar 2008 - 8:42

    great, thanks for letting me know, looking foward to beta4

  9. sysKin: Thanks for bringing up the word boundary issue. As you already know, there’s bug 393678. You can try out a build with forced word boundary matches (front . / – _). Potentially it could also treat = and # as boundaries as well.. maybe &.. perhaps I should just put an ascii range 0x20-0x2f and 0x3a-0x40 and 0x5b-0x60 and 0x7b-0x7e?

    edit: link removed; see later comment

  10. Here’s an updated build that treats all those ascii ranges described above as word boundaries as well as correctly finding the latest word boundary before trying to match.

    edit: link removed; see later comment

    0x20-0x2f: !”#$%&'()*+,-./
    0x3a-0x40: :;< =>?@
    0x5b-0x60: [\]^_`
    0x7b-0x7e: {|}~

  11. typing ‘http’ matches everything which is annoying.

    Other than that, the awesome bar is OK 🙂

    monk.e.boy

  12. Benjamin_L says: 14 Mar 2008 - 4:51

    beta4 just got uploaded to hardy and while the situation is a bit better, the mouse still selects entries when over the dropdown menu and doing the same steps as above, this is really annoying.

  13. bomfog says: 14 Mar 2008 - 9:49

    monk.e.boy says
    “typing ‘http’ matches everything which is annoying.”

    It’s an old joke, but then so am I…

    “Doctor, it hurts when I do this.”
    “So don’t do that.”

  14. bomfog says: 14 Mar 2008 - 10:40

    Ed said:
    “For auto-selecting the first entry, how would that work? You type out something and press enter and it’ll select the first entry? What if you’re typing something new.. say “http://ed.agadak.net/”, but the only entry in your history was “http://ed.agadak.net/2008/03/”? You’re trying to go to a new page. Perhaps if the auto-complete popup is open, it’ll autoselect, but how will the user know to close it before pressing enter?”

    I type in “agadak”. The drop-down drops, with my frecencically/adaptively-learned most likely candidate at the top of the list, highlighted. I hit enter and go there, without needing to hit tab or the down-arrow first. If that’s not the entry I wanted, I can manually adjust by editing what I typed or selecting an entry by keyboard/mouse or such-like, the same as if the top entry wasn’t highlighted/selected.

    Note: this isn’t about auto-completing (autoFilling?) in the location bar text field, just about going to the top drop-down entry by default. At least for me.

    On the subject of auto-filling, though, it seems to me the behavior should be consistent across protocols (http: vs https:, mostly). With urlbar.autoFill turned on I type “ed.agadak” and it works, but “bugzilla.mozilla” doesn’t due (I assume) to the “https:”.

    Re: the awesomebar generally, sliced bread isn’t even in the running. Thanks.

  15. bomfog said: I type in “agadak”. The drop-down drops, with my frecencically/adaptively-learned most likely candidate at the top of the list, highlighted. I hit enter and go there, without needing to hit tab or the down-arrow first.

    But how did you type agadak to begin with? If you start typing a and it auto-highlights the first result, how would you continue typing?

  16. bomfog says: 14 Mar 2008 - 12:39

    0. ^L to put cursor in location bar.
    1. I type “a” in the location bar
    2. The drop-down drops down, with the top entry (for me): “http://ed.agadak.net/”. No entry is selected.
    3. I hit enter.

    Desired result: Go to “http://ed.agadak.net/” (top entry).
    Actual result: Google search for “a”, unless I tab or down-arrow to the top entry.

    I guess the highlighting, auto-selecting, etc, stuff was at least red-herring-ish, if not plain wrong.

    Revised request:
    When the cursor’s in the location bar text field and the drop-down is showing and no entry is selected, I would like hitting [enter] to take me to the top drop-down entry.

    Does that make better sense? When I manage to confuse myself, I know I haven’t thought things through much 🙂

  17. Right, but that goes back to my original concern of editing a url. Using your example, you type “a” and the first result is ed.agadak.net. What if you type out “agadak.net” to try going to http://agadak.net/ ? The first result will still be ed.agadak.net, and by your request, it would go to ed.agadak.net instead.

  18. bomfog says: 14 Mar 2008 - 14:01

    Type in “a”, which opens the drop-down

    Arrow/tab down to the http://ed.agadak.net/ entry, which puts that URL in the location bar text field

    Edit it to delete “ed.”, which *collapses the drop-down*, thereby keeping “enter” from sending me to that ed.agadak.net top entry, right?

    “Enter” then sends me to the edited URL (http://agadak.net/) without much further ado.

    I think.

    Of course, if it screws up editing URLs, then never mind. It’s only a single keystroke saved, after all.

  19. Benjamin_L says: 15 Mar 2008 - 12:31

    Epiphany gets this right, the locationbar dropdown isn’t selected by the mouse when using ctrl+l and the arrow keys.

  20. Are you talking about pressing enter causing it to select the entry the mouse is under? Have you tried beta 4? It should be fixed there.

  21. Benjamin_L says: 15 Mar 2008 - 14:12

    As I already mentioned, beta4 doesn’t fix the issue. And sometimes the first entry is highlighted by default and when pressing enter firefox does a google search on what I already entered, this is strange too.

  22. Benjamin_L says: 15 Mar 2008 - 14:17

    At least that’s what it does under ubuntu, don’t know if this is what the default firefox does.

  23. I’ve updated the word boundary matching to allow for CamelCase that is common in wikis.

    edit: Word boundary matching is in, so I’ve updated the build to be faster/smaller/more optimized:

    https://build.mozilla.org/tryserver-builds/2008-03-21_17:06-edward.lee@engineering.uiuc.edu-awesome.smallNfast.bar/

  24. meneer R says: 21 Mar 2008 - 14:18

    Just one more feature request!

    When we do not select any suggestion and it is not an url, then please just use a default search engine. It would be totally perfect if the default-search-engine for the urlbar would be i-feel-lucky (google’s i feel luck)

    So, when I type:

    download firefox[enter]

    I go to firefox’s download page, even when I have no relevant history or bookmarks.

    People hate urls anyway.

    I know this is doable with the old firefox using about:config, i hope it is still possible with firefox 3. Its such a nifty feature. Much better than trying http://www.[word].com and it also works when there are more than one keywords on the row.

    I understand that search queries are often not objective. But all search provides put the most ‘object’ owner of a word on top. Even when its less relevant. They tend to put the official website on top.

    Example queries and sites they take you:

    download firefox ==> http://www.mozilla-europe.org/nl/products/firefox/ (obviously a refer to a localized version)

    4 + 5 ==> google tells me its 9

    snow patrol ==> http://www.snowpatrol.com

    reddit programming ==> http://reddit.com/r/programming/

    amazon firefox development ==> http://www.amazon.com/Programming-Firefox-Building-Internet-Applications/dp/0596102437

    mozilla blogs ==> blogs.mozilla.com

    awesome bar ==> http://www.typetive.com/candyblog/item/sees_awesome/

    Alright, so that last one proves it doesn’t always get it right.
    But it would still be the most brilliant default behavior when we just press [enter]

  25. Does it not do that functionality already? I believe it uses Google’s “browse by name” search.

    http://kb.mozillazine.org/Keyword.URL

  26. meneer R says: 22 Mar 2008 - 13:42

    @ed .. yes using about:config you can turn it on.

    I was asking if this still works and if its a good idea to make it the default.

  27. […] and competition has helped that, resulting in things like our amazing memory footprint and the incredibly useful AwesomeBar and literally thousands of other […]

  28. […] and competition has helped that, resulting in things like our amazing memory footprint and the incredibly useful AwesomeBar and literally thousands of other […]

  29. […] AwesomeBar […]

  30. Benjamin_L says: 08 Apr 2008 - 2:39

    ‘my’ mouse selection bug is fixed now in beta5, thank you!

  31. […] mi w tej prezentacji pokazania całej potęgi nowego paska adresu, tak jak to opisał Edward Lee w poście 1 i poście […]

  32. Thanks for the post

  33. THANK YOU SIR!

    IENJOY THE AWESOME BAR

    A TIME SAVER!

  34. Roy Sallows says: 08 Jul 2009 - 23:47

    I applaud the programming skill and concept. However, I wish to turn it off, and I can’t. I have tried everything I could find on the forums without success… theRichResult set to 0, and the autocomplete.enabled set to false. I really don’t like the computer thinking for me, and I seldom have to find a site again. Please help me. Computing shouldn’t be about who has the latest bell or whistle. It should be about fulfilling the needs of the user, however antique and retrograde they are .

  35. I wish to turn it off, and I can’t.

    If you’re using Firefox 3.5, Tools -> Options -> Privacy -> Location Bar, suggest “Nothing”.

  36. Angelia says: 03 Jan 2010 - 17:57

    It’s too bad that a lot of us got used to the old firefox 2.0. What annoys me is that it worked very well for me. I am a computer novice and have had to take tutorials at least once or twice a week. The last thing that I want is to have a drop down list of mudane things that I probably wont have to look up again.

    At first, when I downloaded 3.5 I thought that my computer crashed because of some other problem. After trying to troubleshoot and find the problem someone on a mozilla forum informed me of the problem.

    Every time that my finger slips on a key on the drop down list and I am graced with an old search I am reminded of how much of a hassle that this whole situation has been.

    While I know that change is always inevitable, I just don’t understand why this download had to be changed the way that it has been.

    P.S. Bomfog is right. It hurts….


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