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Author Topic: Mozilla Ubiquity Prototype Available  (Read 10144 times)

40hz

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Mozilla Ubiquity Prototype Available
« on: August 26, 2008, 06:46:42 PM »
Today, Mozilla Labs announced the availability of the prototype Ubiquity extension.

http://labs.mozilla....ntroducing-ubiquity/

Ubiquity is a technology that promises to radically change the way we extend the functionality of the browser.

From the website (emphasis added):

Quote
The Problem: Extending the Browser is Too Hard

Being relatively new to the Mozilla world, we found it difficult and time-consuming to write extensions to Firefox. There is something largely last-decade about requiring restarts to add a new feature to your browsing experience. It’s ironic that the entire Web is on a push model, yet the browser—the most fundamental tool of interacting with the Web—is on a pull model.

The fundamental problem is that extending the browser, and hence the web, is too difficult. The closer new browser functionality can be packaged to look like standard HTML and JS, the larger and more diverse a community will create it. The desktop paradigm for extension development, while powerful, has a high cost of adoption. Right now we have a short tail of browser functionality with thousands of add-ons. There should be millions. We can get to that long tail using a more web-like model for functionality development — tools that are accessible to hobbyists and tinkerers, but that scales to professionals.

A Solution: The Ubiquity Platform

Ubiquity treats extending the browser like writing websites. It’s an experiment in lowering the barrier to fundendemental enhancing the browsing experiment.

Quote
Introducing Ubiquity

An experiment into connecting the Web with language.
It Doesn’t Have to be This Way

You’re writing an email to invite a friend to meet at a local San Francisco restaurant that neither of you has been to.  You’d like to include a map. Today, this involves the disjointed tasks of message composition on a web-mail service, mapping the address on a map site, searching for reviews on the restaurant on a search engine, and finally copying all links into the message being composed.  This familiar sequence is an awful lot of clicking, typing, searching, copying, and pasting in order to do a very simple task.  And you haven’t even really sent a map or useful reviews—only links to them.

This kind of clunky, time-consuming interaction is common on the Web. Mashups help in some cases but they are static, require Web development skills, and are largely site-centric rather than user-centric.

It’s even worse on mobile devices, where limited capability and fidelity makes this onerous or nearly impossible.

Most people do not have an easy way to manage the vast resources of the Web to simplify their task at hand. For the most part they are left trundling between web sites, performing common tasks resulting in frustration and wasted time.
Enter Ubiquity

Today we’re announcing the launch of Ubiquity, a Mozilla Labs experiment into connecting the Web with language in an attempt to find new user interfaces that could make it possible for everyone to do common Web tasks more quickly and easily.

The overall goals of Ubiquity are to explore how best to:

    * Empower users to control the web browser with language-based instructions. (With search, users type what they want to find. With Ubiquity, they type what they want to do.)
    * Enable on-demand, user-generated mashups with existing open Web APIs. (In other words, allowing everyone–not just Web developers–to remix the Web so it fits their needs, no matter what page they are on, or what they are doing.)
    * Use Trust networks and social constructs to balance security with ease of extensibility.
    * Extend the browser functionality easily.


There is an authoring tutorial available to get you started coding your own commands at:

https://wiki.mozilla..._0.1_Author_Tutorial

Here's  your chance to get in on the ground floor of something that looks to become an important new way of enhancing browser functionality.. 8)
« Last Edit: August 26, 2008, 06:57:44 PM by 40hz »

jgpaiva

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Re: Mozilla Ubiquity Prototype Available
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2008, 06:55:17 PM »
I'm not sure if I understand it correctly, but does this mean that people will be able to create plugins using html+js, for example?
I think that's the way opera went with their widgets, and I don't think it went that well. At least not in my case, I tested a few for a while but didn't stick to any of them.
[edit] On the other hand, there probably isn't any link between me not getting used to them and the language used to make them, which pretty much renders this whole post idiotic [/edit]


[edit2] I promisse I'll read the article before I post a reply. sorry for the unrelated post [/edit2]
« Last Edit: August 26, 2008, 07:09:02 PM by jgpaiva »

mouser

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Re: Mozilla Ubiquity Prototype Available
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2008, 06:57:39 PM »
personally the Apple/Ted type "oh my god shhh.. this is going to revolutionize the world" marketing-style way it's talked about does kind of rub me the wrong way.  Do we have a name yet for these pretentious style presentations?  it's like as soon as you get to a big company (which i guess mozilla is now) you get trained on how to market everything you do using some snake-oil-style approach.

The description is silly -- watch the video demo on that page to learn what it is..  after a few minutes they will get passed the "adding pictures to email" which i find kind of useless.. then they get to the part where they do basically what FARR and other keyboard launchers do.

it's especially annoying given that 90% of what they are doing is what Find+Run Robot and other keyboard-based launchers do.. Of course it would kind of step on their narrative if they acknowledged that, so instead we are treated to a discussion of something that purports to be a totally new concept.

still, some cool things they can do since it's integrated into the browser and i'm sure they've come up with some innovations.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2008, 07:01:49 PM by mouser »

40hz

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Re: Mozilla Ubiquity Prototype Available
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2008, 07:09:00 PM »
some cool stuff.

personally though the apple-like "oh my god shhh.. this is going to revolutionize the world" marketing-style way it's talked about does kind of rub me the wrong way, especially given that 90% of what they are doing is what FARR and other launchers do.. of course it would kind of spoil the story if they acknowledged that..

still, some cool things they can do since it's integrated into the browser.

Agree completely w/Mouser on both points.

It is FARR, or maybe Launchy, for all intents and purposes.

And the "breathless" quality of the spiel doesn't go down to well with a crotchety New Englander like me either. I'm of the "Sounds great - does it actually work?" school of  thought. (Boy do they hate me at FOSS demos.  ;D)

But it is cool. And it is integrated with the browser. And it is running under Mozilla's banner - which means we'd best be up on what it is about. Because it's probably gonna be what gets used even if it winds up not being all that great.

When you're Mozilla, OK is good enough. ;)

Quote
it's especially annoying given that 90% of what they are doing is what Find+Run Robot and other keyboard-based launchers do.. Of course it would kind of step on their narrative if they acknowledged that, so instead we are treated to a discussion of something that purports to be a totally new concept.

Agree. Thought: Why not disabuse them of that notion. Maybe the authors of various launchers could bring that up? I personally suspect they are totally ignorant of keyboard launchers running under Windows. They sound like they're straight out of the Macintosh and/or BSD world. The main page is open to comments. No point letting a "myth in the making" get out of hand.

Edit: Last minute add on: the respected ghacks.com explicitly makes that comparison:

From: http://www.ghacks.ne...-killer-application/

Quote
Ubiquity is a Firefox prototype add-on that is similar to Launchy but located in the browser. Launchy is a Windows launcher that makes things much easier. Ubiquity takes that concept to the web.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2008, 07:22:04 PM by 40hz »

4wd

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Re: Mozilla Ubiquity Prototype Available
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2008, 01:53:59 AM »
As soon as anyone uses the word "Empower", I get an overwhelming urge to grab the 12 gauge and do some target practice...   :mad:

I don't care how good they think their product/service/whatever is - if they can't sound like a normal human being instead of a personal fitness trainer they've lost me before they've even begun.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2008, 01:56:14 AM by 4wd »

zhouzh2

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Re: Mozilla Ubiquity Prototype Available
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2008, 04:03:34 AM »
What can I say? an important new way? >:(
i can do everything the man does in the video just using FARR, with a little help of AutoHotKey. The only thing this so called "Ubiquity" does while other launchers don't is the ability to directly control Firefox, which can be done easily with AutoHotKey.

Lashiec

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Re: Mozilla Ubiquity Prototype Available
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2008, 06:07:55 AM »
personally the Apple/Ted type "oh my god shhh.. this is going to revolutionize the world" marketing-style way it's talked about does kind of rub me the wrong way.  Do we have a name yet for these pretentious style presentations?  it's like as soon as you get to a big company (which i guess mozilla is now) you get trained on how to market everything you do using some snake-oil-style approach.

Yeah, it's called "hype through obscurity" ;D. You can also call it "politics", ya know, you talk about something without really saying nothing, doesn't it?

Jokes aside, there's a good explanation about all this. Why it's true that the post is not exactly "enlightening" (hell, when this appeared on the channel the past night I was wondering what the heck Mozilla was talking about), this is just the natural evolution of what Alex Faaborg prototyped a while ago, so not only the Firefox team know what a launcher is, if you look at the blog post author, they actually know of such apps first hand. It also explains the general feeling of the post, I ranted a while ago how presumptuous the guy sounds most of the time, although I thought he reformed after getting into Mozilla, as the video he showed a while ago of Fennec interface looked fairly interesting, and sounded normal.

In any case, not only such functionality is already present in most launchers, it's already present in Firefox 3! The search functionality is possible through search keywords (which, by default, you have to add), if you use the proper search strings (if it's possible to use JavaScript with these strings, you can do some pretty nice and useful things). And someone did Ubiquity a bit earlier than the Mozilla team.

Personally, I would prefer a system-wide app to interact with the apps I use, not to duplicate the functionality I already have in another app that I might or not use. In any case, it adds something different to what launchers are capable of doing, but I'm a bit concerned about that objective of making the extension works in the most natural way (the "Book a flight to a Chicago next Monday..." thing) as people rarely will formulate such things the same way from individual to individual, and it puzzles me how they're going to solve that. I think that verb + object will be enough if you chain various actions, and more easy for people and extensions developers. Oh well, at least this is quite more usable and plausible than those video mockups they showed a while ago, detailing the future of browsing and the future of bookmarking (in summary: it did not look cool at all, and the interaction was neither natural nor easy), although they have a few ideas worth looking into.

cmpm

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Re: Mozilla Ubiquity Prototype Available
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2008, 06:16:49 AM »
Sounds very time consuming!!??

I can already do what they propose 'my' way. manually.

"Ubiquity"=

the concept of ubiquity, the ability to be everywhere at a certain point in time.

There some places I don't want to be. But I suppose some do.

zridling

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Re: Mozilla Ubiquity Prototype Available
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2008, 06:27:32 AM »
First, check out Glyn Moody's explanation over at his Open Enterprise blog. Then check out the ubiquity tutorial.

As more and more services are routed through the browser, this will make the browser easier to use. And yes, the hype doesn't match the reality!

cranioscopical

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Re: Mozilla Ubiquity Prototype Available
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2008, 07:01:36 AM »
As soon as anyone uses the word "Empower", I get an overwhelming urge to grab the 12 gauge and do some target practice...   :mad:

 ;D  Under what handicaps we've all laboured, all unknowing!
Like you, Ronald Reagan didn't like the term. He used to rail against the evil empower.

nontroppo

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Re: Mozilla Ubiquity Prototype Available
« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2008, 06:22:12 PM »
For those who don't know, this development is from Aza Raskin and Co, the writers of the windows launcher Enso:

http://humanized.com/

They got gobbled up by Mozzarila and this is the result; Enso in the browser. I think they can benefit from much richer metadata and thus context than normal lauchers can in the internet-interface space, but as Enso got sadly abandoned half-finished, lets see if they can do a better job this time.
FARR Wishes: Performance TweaksTask ControlAdaptive History
[url=http://opera.com/]

Armando

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Re: Mozilla Ubiquity Prototype Available
« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2008, 07:35:11 PM »
I don't care how good they think their product/service/whatever is - if they can't sound like a normal human being instead of a personal fitness trainer they've lost me before they've even begun.

 ;D

Do we have a name yet for these pretentious style presentations?

Ok, let's see... cranio ? Any ideas ?

cranioscopical

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Re: Mozilla Ubiquity Prototype Available
« Reply #12 on: August 27, 2008, 09:18:55 PM »
Powerpint?

tranglos

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Re: Mozilla Ubiquity Prototype Available
« Reply #13 on: August 27, 2008, 09:19:07 PM »
The description is silly -- watch the video demo on that page to learn what it is..  after a few minutes they will get passed the "adding pictures to email" which i find kind of useless.. then they get to the part where they do basically what FARR and other keyboard launchers do.

True, but I like how you can create functions, not just use one-word or one-line commands. One nifty thing springs to mind: every time I install a new FF release, I hunt through its .jar libs for a specific file containing a function that returns the filename used with "Save As". I want the saved file to use the title of the page or current selection instead of the original document filename (which is often 'index.php' or something similarly useless). So it's tedious to do it every time. Now it looks like I just might be able to do the same with Ubiquity, as long as it provides access to the DOM and FF's internal JS goodies (not sure about the former yet).

it's especially annoying given that 90% of what they are doing is what Find+Run Robot and other keyboard-based launchers do.. Of course it would kind of step on their narrative if they acknowledged that, so instead we are treated to a discussion of something that purports to be a totally new concept.

Oh, but this is just classic product-launch thing. When MS delivered OneNote, didn't they sound like nobody had ever written notes on the computer before? Now the Mozilla folks have just discovered the commandline. Whatever! I just skip past that.

4wd

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Re: Mozilla Ubiquity Prototype Available
« Reply #14 on: August 27, 2008, 10:41:54 PM »
Powerpint?

No, that's what you get when you slip the barman an extra $1 :)

Shades

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Re: Mozilla Ubiquity Prototype Available
« Reply #15 on: August 28, 2008, 01:06:05 AM »
Common guys....emPowerPoint ? ;)

cranioscopical

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Re: Mozilla Ubiquity Prototype Available
« Reply #16 on: August 28, 2008, 03:25:05 AM »
Mother-In-Law's Present

(Nicely wrapped but it turns out to be just another pair of socks)


ecaradec

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Re: Mozilla Ubiquity Prototype Available
« Reply #17 on: August 28, 2008, 03:47:24 AM »
I really like the UI too.
 - type your command on the first line
 - severals commands are selected
 - results

You can move on the differents commands and it will fetch results immediatly.

I like how the UI show what to type next. Ex when I type email the tip is email (message) (to contact)

This is very close to how FARR match commands.


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mouser

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Re: Mozilla Ubiquity Prototype Available
« Reply #18 on: August 28, 2008, 07:17:00 AM »
Quote
I like how the UI show what to type next. Ex when I type email the tip is email (message) (to contact)

yes this is something farr should have, some kind of hint about how to use the command.

Armando

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Re: Mozilla Ubiquity Prototype Available
« Reply #19 on: August 28, 2008, 11:43:38 AM »
Keepem coming guys  ;D

Quote
I like how the UI show what to type next. Ex when I type email the tip is email (message) (to contact)

yes this is something farr should have, some kind of hint about how to use the command.

I often wondered if clues could be given in the status bar at the bottom? That would work for plugins and aliases.

s.newave

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Re: Mozilla Ubiquity Prototype Available
« Reply #20 on: August 28, 2008, 10:58:56 PM »
Quote
I like how the UI show what to type next. Ex when I type email the tip is email (message) (to contact)

yes this is something farr should have, some kind of hint about how to use the command.

This is a great idea!! I would opt for something directly above/below the query box. This would definitely come in handy -, especially with some of the more advanced plugins being developed for farr.

xbeta

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Flash show: Mozilla Ubiquity Prototype Available
« Reply #21 on: August 28, 2008, 11:02:04 PM »
click here for flash show
http://xbeta.info/files/ubiquity.htm
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Re: Mozilla Ubiquity Prototype Available
« Reply #22 on: August 29, 2008, 02:24:49 PM »
if Ubiquity is going to great, first it needs to interact with external programs like farr, even desktop, let's say Google Desktop.

Second, Ubiquity should consider call-back mechanism. You can tweet in Ubiquity, but how can you recieve your replies?