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Basic Mozilla Ubiquity Commands September 5, 2008

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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Last week I discussed Mozilla’s new project, Ubiquity. Ubiquity is an add-on for Firefox that allows you to quickly perform tasks that would normally take several extra steps (and involve you having to access other web sites). It’s a great little tool that makes power-users giddy with excitement. Ok, maybe just me… 🙂

I’ve been experimenting with the commands in Ubiquity, and I managed to create a few that will be pretty helpful at work. The three commands I’m sharing are:

  • lms
    Type in lms topic – and Ubiquity will take you to your LMS search results page for that topic.
  • cd
    Type in cd name to search for somebody in your company’s directory with that name.
  • q
    type in q searchTerm to search for information in your company’s intranet site.

(All three of these commands assume you can access these systems via the query string. If nothing else, the commands will help you understand how Ubiquity works, which may help you build your own custom commands.)

To get started, make sure you have installed Ubiquity in Firefox.

Next, go to this URL: chrome://ubiquity/content/editor.html (sorry, I couldn’t make this a link – WordPress wouldn’t let me).

Paste these code snippets into the editor:

CmdUtils.CreateCommand({
  name: "lms",
  takes: {"your search string": noun_arb_text},
  preview: "Search the LMS for courses.",
  execute: function(searchString) {
    Application.activeWindow.open(Utils.url("http://
www.INSERT_YOUR_LMS_URL_HERE.com?courseName=
"+searchString.text));
  }
})

CmdUtils.CreateCommand({
  name: "cd",
  takes: {"your search string": noun_arb_text},
  preview: "Search our company directory.",
  execute: function(searchString) {
    Application.activeWindow.open(Utils.url("http://
www.INSERT_YOUR_COMPANY_INTERNAL_DIRECTORY_
URL_HERE.com?query="+searchString.text));
  }
})

CmdUtils.CreateCommand({
  name: "q",
  takes: {"your search string": noun_arb_text},
  preview: "Search our company intranet.",
  execute: function(searchString) {
    Application.activeWindow.open(Utils.url("http://
www.INSERT_YOUR_COMPANY_INTRANET_URL_
HERE.com?query="+searchString.text));
  }
})

(Note that you’ll probably have to fix the line wrapping for the Application.activeWindow.open line of each command before they’ll work in Ubiquity.)

Finally, insert in your custom URLs in the 3 places where it says “http://www.INSERT_…”

Now you’ll be able to press Ctrl+Space to open Ubiquity, and then you can use the lms, cd, and q commands.

I used the Ubiquity Author Tutorial site to create these commands. I recommend that you start there if you’re interested in creating your own commands. Plus, it shows you how to package and share the commands with the rest of the world (or just your organization).

Happy command-writing!

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Mozilla Ubiquity as an On-Demand Learning Tool August 28, 2008

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
7 comments

Earlier this week, Mozilla (the makers of Firefox) released Ubiquity – a small application that allows you to quickly perform web-related tasks without having to surf out to different web sites. Watch their video for a quick introduction.

So, can this relate to learning? My answer would be absolutely! My main job is to help people learn (acquire knowledge and skills) and then apply what they know on the job. Sometimes this is done by providing them with the right tools. Ubiquity is one of these tools. It gives learners faster access to a wide range of information; it empowers them.

Now here’s where things get interesting: Mozilla has built Ubiquity in a way that allows outside developers (you and me) to add commands and actions to the tool. Think of this scenario: You have a user who is interested in taking a class on leadership skills. Imagine if they could pull up Ubiquity and type lms leadership to bring up a list of classes offered at your organization related to leadership. Or imagine if they had to look up information that was specific to your organization: They could type widget XYZ to immediately pull a spec sheet for a product. Ubiquity allows them to grab information very quickly without having to surf around to different web sites. This is on-demand learning!

If you’re using Firefox, install Ubiquity and then take a look at the tutorial. (If you’re not using Firefox – get it now! It’s definitely the best web browser out there.)

Have you tried Ubiquity? What do you think?

(I plan on developing some Ubiquity commands in the coming weeks. I’ll report back on what I find. Please let me know if you do any work in this area. I’d love to know more…)