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OmniWeb is a very excellent web browser for Mac OS X. It's a very pretty application, but don't let it's looks deceive. It has a very powerful and useful feature called Shortcuts. These shortcuts allow you to define virtually any URL to an alias.

The simplest example of one of these shortcuts is included with a standard OmniWeb install. Type foo into into the address bar, and it opens it as http://www.foo.com

That is a very simple example, and isn't exactly an impressive display of it's abilities. So, moving along...

To search Google, type:

google soy steaks

into the address bar. This will open as:


And then you'll learn all about the 'joy' of soy steak.

I bet by now you're thinking "Well, that's all well and good Xenex, however this is hardly 'powerful' now, is it? You're quite easily impressed!". To this I'd say "You're probably right, but keep reading anyway."

You can add your own shortcuts. This is where the feature becomes flexible and powerful.

To edit your shortcuts, open OmniWeb's preferences (Which is accessed via Preferences in the OnmiWeb menubar item), then select Shortcuts (It's icon is the the three arrows).

Now, from here you can add your own shortcuts, and it's simple. As an example, this is how to add an Everything2 shortcut.

  1. Click the + button. A new shortcut is created, with the Shortcut somewhere and the Destination URL http://www.somewhere.com.

  2. Double click the 'somewhere' shortcut, and replace it with 'e2@' (No quotes). Double click the 'http://www.somewhere.com', and replace it with 'http://everything2.com/index.pl/?node=%@' (Once again, no quotes).

  3. There is no step three.

Now, with the power of magic, in the address bar you can type 'e2 mac os x' (You'll never guess this: No quotes) and presto, Mac OS X will open. Hurrah for science woo!

Enough of fish giving, time to teach you how to use a rod! The enlightened reader have read the E2 example and understood the shortcut syntax, however I'll explain it for the rest of you.

Shortcut = somewhere@
Destination URL = chunk-of-url%@some-more-url

@ in the Shortcut is what text is to be passed into the Destination URL.

%@ in the Destination URL is where that text is put into the URL.

Replace somewhere with 'lj'
Replace chunk-of-url with 'http://'
Replace some-more-url with '.livejournal.com'
(All no quotes.)

And you get:
lj@ http://%@.livejournal.com

Add that shortcut, and now typing 'lj sapia' into the address bar will open 'http://sapia.livejournal.com'.

If this still doesn't make any sense, /msg me and I'll be happy to help you out. Then you can help me make this easier to understand!

A few other shortcuts that are both useful and nutritious:


dict@ http://www.dictionary.com/cgi-bin/dict.pl?term=%@

Typing dict macintosh will load Dictionary.com's defintion of Macintosh.
(A lightweight, waterproof fabric that was originally of rubberized cotton.)


t@ http://www.thesaurus.com/cgi-bin/search?config=roget&words=%@

Similar to above, but this one searches Thesaurus.com.


vt@ http://www.versiontracker.com/mp/new_search.m?productDB=mac&mode=Quick&OS_Filter=MacOSX&search=%@&x=0&y=0

This searches VersionTracker's Mac OS X software database.


ig@ http://images.google.com/images?q=%@

This searches Google's image search engine.

Well, there we go. Mac OS X's best browser just got better for you. Enjoy!

These may interest you too.

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