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The Web Browser Address Bar is the New Command Line



With all due respect, you’re abusing the term command line. It isn’t a real command line unless it is rife with poorly-named, cryptic commands like grep and sed, or if it trips over spaces easily (well, the address bar does do that), or if it has 5 different ways to pass arguments to commands. URLs are often much too readable, too. Although, with the advent of URL-shortening, we’re finally on r wy 2 abbrvtng evrthg ndlsly.

Just saying. You might offend someone using words like that.


Felt more like posting some rambling thoughts on the topic than working apprently; here you go:

I believe that the overwhelming majority of computer operators out there could have their machines replaced with internet enabled terminals and be none the wiser. The typical operator doesn’t know/care squat about the OS or the browser, any opinions that they may hold are most likely ungrounded in any real understanding. They want the internet to do what they want with the least amount of hassle, and who can blame them. Who climbs the tree when there’s low hanging fruit?

I’ve known about address bar search functionality for some time but being a ‘purist’ (arrogant, stubborn, late-adopter) I’ve resisted the address bar search until recently, when I’ve finally admitted to myself that I’m just eliminating an unecessary step when looking for something.

It’s got the potential for changing the way we operate in some not too obvious ways; personally I’ve noticed that I’m no longer taking time to book mark sites that I know will come up top ranked from address line searches. I’m lazier, why bother typing in the whole ‘.com’ part of the address when I can just type ‘chess’ or ‘stack overflow’; just enter WHAT I want not WHERE I want and it get’s me back to click navigation all the sooner.

Does point to a fundamental division between the operator and the programmer; as a programmer I look for any way to avoid the mouse, give me hot keys, arrow and tab navigation (swear that when you’re holding down ctl+alt+shift if you pick up your hand you’d be throwing gang signs), anything to avoid having to make that quarter second input device transition – you can’t program with a mouse (unless you’re one of THOSE giu/ide types that program without using a keyboard, in which case I despise everything you stand for and I do not accept your ‘but it’s RAD!’ excuse.)

Anyone remember the era before the age of the cell phone? How many phone numbers would you have committed to memory, 20, 30, more? Now with your personal phone book in your pocket constantly how many phone numbers have you committed to memory? I would venture to guess that you overall may have more end-points available to you at any given time but that you don’t know as many of the addresses as you used to.

The technology is inspired by and delivers convenience, but it’s a catch-22. When you dumb down the interface you make it more accessible but you also remove the incentive to learn how to operate the machine or understand how the machine operated; paving the way for the need to further dumb down the UI.

So where’s the happy medium between getting me the info I want/need via the shortest/fastest possible route every time and making me so stupid and lazy that I reject learning with hostillity?

Anyone else out there use ‘about:blank’ as their homepage?

moving on…


we must ask Google to add this to Chrome:

javascript:count(g jeff browser command line LIMIT 1, RDFa hate).trash();


Hi Jeff,

wow, your readers, or at least most of the commenters, are turning out to be douches!


nigma.ru - it’s amazing!


SteveT wrote: Except that the web browser address bar is missing the one feature that makes unix command line user interfaces usable, which is the ability to take the output of one command and pump it into a file or another command.

Actually Yubnub has pipes - try this:
paview {date -format Y-m-d -offset -7}

It takes the output of the date command and passes it to the paview command, to show today’s Penny Arcade comic (offset by 7 hours).


Here’s another Yubnub pipe example: autorefreshing Google News search results for FDA approval every 60 seconds:

autorefresh {url gn FDA approval} -t 60


This is the web’s command line …

Google Shell



Chrome? As others have already pointed out it’s a feature ripped off from Opera.

Jeff, seriously, sometimes your ignorance is just staggering. Do some research before posting. And learn some C/C++ already. You’ve got a good writing style but it helps if you know what you are talking about.

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.


Yikes! I really could’ve done without a screen full of Carrot Top.


The Web Browser Address Bar is not the New Command Line as you cannot enter commands into it - yet…

Maybe I’m missing something, but I would have thought that all hacky use of:

javascript:alert(‘Hello, world!’)

…etc. would affect things in your browsers ‘Sandboxed’ environment:


Rather than let you get out of paying for your books on Amazon, by fooling the Server, or directly managing files on your computer’s hard drive (which would be equally open to abuse by web-carried malware.

Personally, I see no real security threat to having this Address Bar be even more ‘awesome’ and have power over your system’s resources, provided that it somehow knows it is you who has typed in the script and it limits the impact of what you can to do to your filesystem according to your own multi-user Operating System’s access privileges.


Firefox doesn’t get up to the half of it.

Nowadays everything depends on advertising only. No advertising - no users.


um…internet explorer does this too. What’s the big deal? I wonder if MS wasn’t hit with the antitrust case, IE would be integrated more into windows.


The javascript part also features a great hidden password retrieval feature :smiley:


Would you like to save this password? [yes][no]


echo -site:expert-exchange.com >> .googlerc doesn’t provide the expected result…


Well, what exacly can I use that for? Having the javascript alert saying “Hello world” is kind of cool, Though, umm, it’s just cool.

I can’t really see the point in that. Can I create directories, format drives or remove entire directories with just a few keystrokes? No, I can just search stuff or make javascript, do stuff.

I have no idea who in the right mind uses Google Chrome, as it is spyware. It saves whatever you’re looking at and sends it to google (They say it speeds things up, though that’s a lil bit on the creepy side) Not to mention it lacks key features and isnt any faster than Firefox… So what’s the point really?




There is also http://fefoo.com which converts the address bar into a command line. http://fefoo.com/help/#commands


I can say very good chrome


I can say very good chrome