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The Web Browser Address Bar is the New Command Line


How is this stuff new? And, javascript:alert(‘Hello, world!’) doesnt work in Firefox. Just IE, Safari and Chrome


Cwayman, that’s typical of geeks. They abhor dumbing down technology to the less capable masses. Plus, they have this preference of taking almost every sentences literally.

I guess I would like something like this as my command line. I just type what I want, and let it figures out what I want to do and do it. Don’t need no thick textbook and manuals for that!

Or am I missing the point?


@Mike: that does work in Firefox, BTW.


Personally I really love this feature of Chrome. At first I thought it would be weird, but now I hate using other browsers and having to find the Google toolbar (or actually go to www.google.com) to start searching.

By the way, where’d you come up with ‘defenestrate’? I just learned it a few months ago, great word!


I’m very paranoid about using Chrome’s address bar as a search field, for the reason that I don’t trust it to go to the website I want to go to with 100% accuracy.

If I want to go to some local financial institution’s website, I will type the address in directly to ensure that I go to the correct website.
I’m not going to go look up the site in a search result and click on that.
I don’t want the browser performing some additional guesswork behind the scenes.


What a wonderful way to look at it. That’s really neat. I can’t wait and see what happens if this idea, or point of view, actually manages to catch some wind in it’s sails. It could be something totally cool.


Wow, a new coding horror low… Can someone point me to the REAL programming blogs? You know, the ones that help us avoid coding horror. Preferably written by a real programmer, not some Google fanboy.


Did you hear about Wolfram Alpha? Imagine that into your address bar, I think it will be great!


Jeff, you can of course say whatever you want but please leave Amiga references out. If you ever powered up an Amiga, you would know that CLI was a very useful tool - Powershell which came 20 years before Powershell. Playing games on Amiga did not require CLI, though.


Visual Basic is the new C#

Look, it can do everything you want.


No Jeff. You should add tags combo search in the StackOverflow’s UI.


Another bump for yubnub.org.
Add YubNub to your Firefox address bar by typing about:config in the Location Bar then scrolling down the list and changing keyword.URL to http://yubnub.org/parser/parse?command=

I personally like hyperwords much better than ubiquity.


One word: Vimperator :smiley:


We communicate with people via language more often than by pointing and grunting. Is it a surprise then that a command lines provide expressive features that point and click do not easily duplicate? Consider further that even most point and click operations are really just pointing at words (menus, buttons, labeled fields).

There are plenty of valid use-cases for point and click. Take graphics software: I could type postscript I guess, but I will take the mouse, thanks. Point and click is also more discoverable (when done right) than a command line.

Once you get to complex operations (especially chained together) the expressiveness of words trumps pointing and clicking. Note the many failed visual programming systems that have come and gone, or the fact that even graphics packages allow scripting by recording commands to a command list.


I personally cannot stand Chrome’s URL bar. The built in search suggestions are nice but I get no results for anything outside of the most generic queries. It also does not seem to bring up my history correctly and doesn’t search in page titles. By contrast, Firefox’s URL bar is much faster and searches within URLs and page titles, which is quite handy since I almost never remember URLs.


I don’t think its necessarily a good thing all round. It would be much cooler with a proper UI to complement it for those who struggle with syntax and grammar or remembering the commands.

This stuff is certainly very cool from the programmers perspective (especially JavaScript in the address bar, which has practical value for us), but this comes from it having been designed, for programmers as well as for users. Google provides a reasonably good UI for some stuff like this on their search homepage, but its clearly a pile of hacks (e.g. it generates, visibly, the search string). :slight_smile:


Back in the old DOS days, I used to abhor GUIs. When Win95 came out, I decided that the best approach was a hybrid one. Some tasks are easier with a command line and others are easier with a GUI. It’s nice to have options :slight_smile: .


I’m one of those who prefers the keyboard when possible, especially keyboard shortcuts, to mouse clicking and menus but I thought this kind of thing had been around for a while.

I found this after quick Google search but I bet there are better examples.

Netscape 7

Using the Address Bar

The Address bar is at the top of the window and displays the current address or URL

  1. Type the URL of the page you wish to visit



What browser does NOT allow you to type a search into the address bar?


@Charles : not really, since the topic is different. Title is practically the same however, and I find it unlikely Jeff never saw the title of that post.