Testing out the new Ecosystem

i’ve been all over the netvibes ecosystem.

i’ve browsed the library of modules (94 modules at last count).
i’ve added some modules (with one click) to my netvibes page.

one modules that i particularly like was the “Web Search” module.

at first glance, the name alone doesn’t appear very impressive. in fact, some particularly astute observers might say: “hey, that’s nothing special. doesn’t the default netvibes page already include a search google, yahoo, icerocket, wikipedia?”.

what make this modules different, and the reason i thought it might be a useful addition to my netvibes page is because it lets you add any search engine. not just the 4 search engines mentioned above. what’s more (and this was the kicker for me), if you can make sense of “search query urls“, you can create any number of refined, or specialized searches for any given search engine.

For example, let’s say i wanted to search del.icio.us from my netvibes page using the Web Search module:

The first thing i would do is go to the actual del.icio.us site and enter a search term like “technews” into their search box. Once you land on the results page, take a look at the URL in the addressbar of your browser.

In this case, i get the following url in the addressbar on the results page:

http://del.icio.us/search/?all=technews

Note that the term i used “technews” appears in the URL (at the very end).

Congratulations, you’ve just figured out the logic behind a basic del.icio.us search and can now make sense of “search query urls”.

The only thing left to do now is replace the search term “technews” with the symbol %s so that the newly modified URL reads as follows:

http://del.icio.us/search/?all=%s

Paste this new URL into the Web Search module to complete the configuration and hit save. You can now search del.icio.us from your netvibes page.

i also added technorati search in a similar way.

http://www.technorati.com/tags/%s

(in case anyone was wondering).

obviously, the very first thing you need to do is add the actual “Web Search” module to your netvibes page before you can configure it to use new search engines, but the entire process went relatively smoothly for me.

also, you could probably add more specific custom searches, as i mentioned earlier in this post.
for instance, searching tags for specific users of del.icio.us or the “blog search” feature in technorati could be configured (just apply the same steps taken above).

to end my experience, i added my entire “technews” tab to the ecosystem to be shared with all netvibes users but there was a message about it needing to be validated before it becomes available to all users. [ Update: It didn't actually take very long to validate and my "TechNews" tab can be seen on the "Tabs" page of the netvibes ecosystem, with all the other shared tabs. ]

so until then (it might already be validated – i haven’t checked in a few hours) and to end this post i’ll add the code i got to let visitors add my “technews” tab to their Netvibes page.

here goes..
Add to netvibes

if you click on the button, it will add a bunch of tech related sites to your netvibes page as a new tab. your existing tabs will remain undisturbed. so enjoy!

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