Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Mozilla is Ubiquitous

If you are subscribe to my Google Reader share, are one of my Twitter friends, or are connected to me on FriendFeed, then you might be sick of this topic already, since I've been kinda blabbing and sharing and tweeting ever since I found out about this when I came into work this morning, but... DUDE! Ubiquity is AWESOME!!!!

In case you, like me, have never heard of the Ubiquity project from Mozilla Labs before, let me enlighten you with this here little video:

Ubiquity for Firefox from Aza Raskin on Vimeo.

The reason that this tool is so cool is that it brings together the speed of command line work with the user friendliness of the graphical interface. With a few key strokes you can do the work of tons of mouse moves and clicks. What's more, the key strokes are completely intuitive. There's no memorizing a huge list of things just to make it work. I don't have to memorize the word "Twitter", I use it all the time, and if I start typing "Twitter" in the Ubiquity command box it guesses at what I'm trying to tell it before I'm even done. So, two letters in, I'm done with the "Twitter" part of the command and I can start telling it what I want it to tweet.

The interface for Weather is another great example of how easy to use this interface is. I called up the Ubiquity command box and started to type "we" and it knew I wanted weather. Then I typed Oakland (where the bestest daughter in the whole wide world is right now), and it immediately gave me the weather for Oakland, California. I decided to see about Oakland, New Jersey, though, just for a twist. *Poof* the weather info changed as I added in the state. Very nice.

There are lots of commonly used tools built into the application already. On the downside, non-programmers find themselves stuck with the options that someone else picked when they wrote the command. On the upside, however, with just a little bit of work you can learn how to edit existing commands or write your own, so you can make commands go to the sites that YOU want.

The first thing I plan to do with this? Create a command for mapping here in Israel using, since Google Maps are less than useless in Israel. (Apparently, in Israel we have no streets.) I shall post code and a general review of the coding experience here when I'm done.

Oh, oh, oh, you know what else would be nice? A command to blog things just like you can email things in Ubiquity. Yeah, that would be awesome. Who wants to write that one?