Installing Documentation Open Search

Firefox, and several other browsers, have a second text entry field in the address bar (at the top of the browser window) where you can type in what you're looking for, and send that to a search engine automatically, rather than having to visit the search engine's main page first. For example, you can type a word into this field and automatically do a Google search on that word without having to visit Google's home page first.

Most search engines have "search plug-ins", which are just little XML files that teach your browser how to send proper queries to that search engine. If you know the standard for these XML files, it's very simple to write your own. The XML format is documented at, and the Firefox developers have also written a more concise page with an example of an XML file, just waiting to be customized.

That's what I did- I took their example, plugged in the values needed in order to search the PageStream documentation database and the bug tracking database, saved the XML file on my web server, and added a "<link>" tag to the top of the page you're reading right now, so that if your browser knows how to deal with OpenSearch plugins, your search field should be indicating that there is a search plug-in available. With Firefox, that indicator is a blue circle around the triangle between the search engine's icon and the text entry area. I had never noticed it before- these images show you what to look for:


Search Plug-in Available

(Note: I took these screen shots using Firefox on my Mac. If you are using some other browser, or using Firefox on some other platform, what you see may be slightly different.)

When you click on the icon for the currently selected search engine (in these images, Google) you will get a list of the search engines you have installed, and there will be a selection to add the plug-in available through the page. When you select the option to add the plug-in, it will be installed in your browser and activated. You should see the icon for the new search engine.

Menu with option to install new search plug-in

New search plug-in installed

Now when you look at the menu, you will see the new "search engine" on the list. You can now do searches using that "search engine" by typing what you're looking for in the search box and hitting ENTER. In this case, you can enter a PageStream term, phrase or script command for example it will show you the relevant pages.

Menu including the new option


Installing Documentation Open Search  Section  url:WWWuser/docopensearch
  created:2007-12-04 13:34:09   last updated:2007-12-06 16:59:04
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