Thursday, June 30, 2005

50 Most-Popular Commands

On the recommendation of Jeremy Hussell, I have made a page listing the 50 most-used commands. Jeremy wanted to know which commands are most frequently used, as these would make good candidates for replacing some of those 1-letter commands that don't get used much.

Here is Jeremy's post:
Why not reserve the 1 character commands for the most commonly used commands? Which reminds me: are the commands case-sensitive? Unicode?

Just looking through the lower case letters, there are a lot of duplications and 0 parameter commands.

n - another google search
b, s -, no search(!)
c, d, f, j, m, p, q, r, w - 0 parameters
h, i, t, x, z - blogs, 0 parameters
k - broken command

l, u - duplicate, but possibly useful, URL shortening command
a - search
e - search
g - google search
o - search opera software knowledge base
v - search spanish law
y - yahoo search

So, out of the 26 shortest, easiest to type commands, 19 are obviously useless, and I would bet that o and v aren't used by many people.

Is there a way to find out which commands are being used the most so someone can map them into the 1 letter commands?

Hey, we got 2nd place!

YubNub was originally written as an entry for the 2005 24-hour Ruby on Rails programming competition. Today I learned that it got 2nd place! 1st place would have been awesome, but unfortunately there was some amazing Ruby programming done by Cyrus Farajpour and Robert Bousquet. Congratulations to you, and to the runner ups and honourable mentions: Brandt Kurowski, Ben Tucker, Aaron Michal, William Fleming, Ben Stiglitz, Szymon Rozga, John Carlin, Aaron Salmon, John Butler, Andrew Ettinger, Scott Hill, technoweenie, Casey Gollan, Dan Peterson, Jesse Andrews, Britt, Chad, Dan Hodos, P. Fairfield, Kevin Burnett, Todd Ericksen, Jared Betteridge, Jordan Betteridge, Jan Wikholm and Jari Aarniala.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

"A smaller powerful high quality commandset"

Bram posted a great idea to the YubNub Google Group: "You could create a smaller powerful high quality commandset, maybe with the help of some volunteers." I have been trying to highlight some interesting YubNub commands with the list of Golden Eggs; however, this list is getting kind of long (300 commands).

Perhaps some person or group would like to try Bram's suggestion of identifying the "canon" of best YubNub commands. You could keep it down to a reasonable number, like 20 or 30. Just make a webpage and I will link to it. Come to think of it, Tada is a great website for making lists of anything, but it's for individual use -- something social would be better. A wiki would be one alternative.

Ciro continues to enhance his Mac OS X widget

A couple of days ago I mentioned Ciro's MiniDashNub widget for Mac OS X. Well Ciro has released an alpha version of its older brother, DashNub. I love the beautiful drop-down bit:

RSS Feed Fixed

I fixed a critical problem with the Golden Eggs RSS feed - it was being sorted by creation date rather than golden-egg date (the date on which it was made a Golden Egg). So older commands recently nominated would never show up in the feed.

This is now fixed.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

All the Golden Eggs on a single page

Mary Ford wanted to be able to browse all the Golden-Egg commands on a single web page, sorted alphabetically, so I implemented this. For people who program computers, there is also an XML version, requested by Ciro Mondueri.

Searching the Golden Eggs using "ge"

Judith Bush wanted a way to search the Golden-Egg commands, so I extended "ge" to do this. For example, ge dictionary will list all Golden-Egg commands containing "dictionary" in the description, name, or URL.

On Pipes and Combining Commands

"How's the pipe concept coming?" Erik Kastner asked me today. Pipes, in the Unix (and DOS) command-line world, are a means of combining commands together. For example, "find . | xargs grep foo". In YubNub this might take the form of "google jon udell | to_rss _ xargs | text_to_speech".

Now pipes (those "|" symbols) may not be the best way for YubNub to combine commands. Alex Ksikes made this point to me in a recent email. (Alex, by the way, is chock full of intriguing, original ideas for the "web OS"). One suggestion, given to me by Sean O'Hagan, is to enclose subcommands in ${...}. For example:${xpath /bookstore/book}

(Somebody please make an xpath command!)

So I'm not yet sure what is the best way to implement combining commands. It may be pipes; it may be another technique. Whatever we do, as I told Erik Kastner, it's gotta be easy to implement and intuitive to use. (And hopefully not take up too many CPU cycles!)

Suggestions welcome!

YubNub is down

I'm kind of anxious because the server on which YubNub sits is currently down. TextDrive is working hard to fix the problem. Some sort of network problem.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Safe Firefox Installation

The safest way to install YubNub is to make a Firefox keyword for it. If you're using the Firefox web browser:
  • Go to YubNub and right-click the input box
  • Click "Add a Keyword for this Search"
  • For the Name, enter "YubNub", and for the Keyword, enter "y"
  • Press OK
Now you can use YubNub directly from the address bar. For example, try typing "y gim porsche 911" into your address bar. Don't forget the "y" in front!
You may have noticed that I said that this the "safest way" to install YubNub. Why safest? Because you must explicitly enter a "y" before the YubNub command. This prevents "command spoofing".

For example, suppose someone made a "michael" command. If you typed "michael jordan" into YubNub, intending to do a search, you would instead go to the site of the person who made the "michael" command. Rats! But if you installed YubNub into your Firefox address bar as described above, typing "michael jordan" into your address bar would do a search for "michael jordan", as you intended. The only way to get to that other person's site would be to type "y michael".

If you like to live on the edge like me, you can try one of the alternative installation methods, many of which do not require an initial keyword like "y".

Update: You can also install YubNub as a keyword in Internet Explorer by installing this registry file (made by Richard Frankel).

Dashboard widget (OSX)

Ciro Mondueri has made a pretty Mac OS X Tiger widget to access YubNub!

It's called "MiniDashNub". Ciro is planning to add AJAX and namespaces to it. Cool!