Do you use the search box in your browser? If you’re not familiar with it, here’s what it looks like in Firefox 2:
And in Internet Explorer 7:
If you don’t use these boxes, you should. They save loads of time. Surprisingly, both use a standard called OpenSearch that allows for quick and easy development of new search engine plugins. OpenSearch standardizes how these plugins behave and how web sites install them.
I’m happy to provide a MetaLink OpenSearch plugin for Oracle customers. This page shows how to install the plugin using Autodiscovery, another sweet OpenSearch feature. The Mozilla Mycroft Project has a ton of OpenSearch plugins, as well as instructions on how to develop new ones. A tip: typing Alt+Enter when you enter the keyword opens the results in a new tab.
If you use Firefox 2 and E-Business Suite (11.5.9, 11.5.10 or 12), you have a bonus feature. Firefox allows you to send a selected string on a web page directly to the active search engine (i.e. the one showing in your search box) by right-clicking. So, if you hit an error or find a term you don’t know in EBS, simply select it, right-click it and send it to the MetaLink search plugin. I suggest setting your Firefox to open search results in a new tab (a change documented by Lifehacker). This will allow you to see the search results on MetaLink in a new tab, without disrupting your EBS session.
What about Firefox 1.5? If you’re still using 1.5, you won’t be able to use the Autodiscovery goodness, but I included an installable search engine (scroll all the way down on the page) for you to use. You also won’t be able to use the native Firefox 2.0 feature described in the last paragraph, but never fear. Check out the ConQuery Add-On, which works for both 1.5 and 2.0; this extension adds a right-click menu item called ‘Query to . . .’ which lists all your installed search engines.
Here’s a screencast showing ConQuery and the MetaLink search plugin in action for EBS 12.
If you use IE 7, you don’t have as many cool options. There are some registry hacks you can make to get equivalent functionality, but they are risky.
I hope you enjoy this little productivity tool. We use search plugins a lot to search internal systems (e.g. bug database, TAR/SR, documentation, content management, people directory). Any suggestions on other Oracle-related search engines?
Now, for thanks:
Eddie Awad: Eddie has a lot of information about search engine plugins, including a list of Oracle-related plugins (+ MetaLink), Autodiscovery, and most recently, the native Firefox 2 feature that sends directly to the active search engine. Many of you may already already be using his plugins, and I doubt mine are very different. I’ve been working for several months through red tape to get this approved for external distribution. So, kudos to Eddie for his more timely information.
Thank to internal folks: Cheryl Baggitt, Joe Gum, Jiri Klouda, Ian McIlwain, Dave Muirhead, Peter Ondrejka, Graham Palmer, Scott L. Sullivan, Terrance Wampler.
Updates: MetaLink note 443723.1 references the search plugin. If you installed the plugin, test it out on the note ID. Thanks to Steven for his post over at Oracle E-Business Suite Technology blog. Other mentions that I know of: Sven’s Tecknik-Blog (auf Deutsch) and bosvark.com. Thanks to all.
Another Update: A few people have asked about this, so FYI, the plugin is product independent. All you need is any Oracle product (database, middleware, any application family) that is browser-based, a valid MetaLink account and a browser that supports search, i.e. Firefox 1.5, 2 or IE7. Enjoy.