Firefox's awesomebar: a command-line for web apps

April 23, 2008

Mozilla Firefox logo

One of the cooler features of Firefox 3 (which is currently in beta) is the awesomebar, which is the nickname for the URL bar and its new autocomplete features. Madhava, one of Mozilla’s talented interacticians, noticed something neat: this means that the URL bar can be used as a shortcut to perform commands in web apps like Google Docs.

Here’s how it works: instead of navigating to Google Docs and clicking the “new document” button, you can just type the words “new document” into your awesomebar. These search terms will match part of the query string of a Google Docs URL, and visiting that URL will pop you right into a new document.

This reason this works in Firefox 3 is because the awesomebar autocompletes anywhere in the URL or page title, not just at the beginning of the URL like older versions of Firefox. For more information about the awesomebar, check out Deb Richardson’s post, or see some of my older posts: Firefox 3 Awesomeness and Firefox 3 Beta 1: Usability impressions.

I just tried something similar when I went to write this post: instead of navigating to my blog’s admin page and then clicking “New post”, I just typed “new post” into the URL bar. The first hit was on the title of the Wordpress “Create New Post” page. Sweet!

I think this is pretty cool. It means that Firefox’s URL bar is now a command-line for web apps. Of course, this is just more evidence of the command-line comeback and the URL as a user interface.