Searching is better in Beta 2!


In a previous post, I introduced our Beta 1 search functionality and mentioned we would soon ensure you can add search providers to IE without executable code or a masterful knowledge of the registry. Now that we’ve released the Beta 2 Preview I’d like to take a few minutes to describe the two separate extensibility mechanisms we’ve introduced to make this happen:  window.external.AddSearchProvider, and Search Discovery.

window.external.AddSearchProvider()

In Beta 2 any site can run a simple function prompting the user to add a search provider to IE. This script call will open a dialog giving the user control over what is included in their Toolbar Search Box.

Add Search Provider dialog

Add Search Provider dialog

As you can see we’ve given an option on this dialog to make this provider your default. The default provider will be the one used from both the address bar and will also be the search provider we default to in the Toolbar Search Box when IE is launched.

Here’s the API:

window.external.AddSearchProvider(“URL”)
“URL”: Link to the OpenSearch Description file for your search provider.

To use this, a site can simply include a call to AddSearchProvider and point it at an OpenSearch XML file:

<INPUT TYPE=”button” VALUE=”Provider” onClick=’window.external.AddSearchProvider(“http://<yoursite>.com/Provider.xml”);’>

Example

A site can simply include a call to AddSearchProvider:
<INPUT TYPE=”button” VALUE=”Provider”  onClick=’window.external.AddSearchProvider(“http://<yoursite>.com/Provider.xml”);’>

The XML file could look something like this.

A site cannot automatically open this prompt. It will be locked down in the same way our pop-up blocker locks down websites. This essentially means that launching the dialog has to be the direct result of a user action. Also, if you are creating an XML file for your own provider make sure that the file actually loads in IE by itself without any errors. One trap people fall into is not escaping the “&” symbol in their XML file with “&amp;” (Do a “View Source” on the example XML file to see how to do this properly).

Search Discovery

The Beta 2 Preview also allows sites to advertise additional search providers that might be interesting to users. This works in a similar way to Feed Discovery.

When IE detects search providers via Search Discovery the Toolbar Search Box lights up to indicate there are more providers to see in the dropdown (we will offer the option for a sound notification as well – off by default). When the dropdown is opened up the suggested providers appear. Users can then add these providers permanently to the browser, or simply search to try out the provider first. We limit the number of discovered providers to a maximum of 3 providers not already installed on the machine.

A provider is discovered!

Search button when a provider is discovered

The format for this is to use the <link> element in HTML:

<link title=”Title” type=”application/opensearchdescription+xml” rel=”search” href=”URL”>
Title
: This is the title that will appear in the Toolbar Search Box dropdown
URL
: This will link to the OpenSearch Description of the search provider.
type
and rel must be as shown in the example

Windows Search Guide

The other thing we are introducing in Beta 2 is the Windows Search Guide. This is a page where you can go and add providers yourself (we link to this site directly from the Toolbar Search Box dropdown – Click on “Find More Providers…”). So go download IE 7, check out the search guide, and try it out!

That’s it for today!  I’m really excited to see sites start to support our new extensibility options!  Until next time: Keep browsing!

 – Aaron Sauvé

Comments (103)

  1. Anonymous says:

    quick question: any shortcut key to give focus on the toolbox search box?

  2. DashEWGF, Ctrl+E will give the search box focus.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Just remember: If the search provider is CoolWebSearch, DON’T USE OR ADD IT.

    Smart surfers are safe surfers.

  4. Spikey206 says:

    Google has already implemented this. Works pretty  well.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Any chance you could update <a href="http://blogs.msdn.com/ie/archive/2005/09/14/466186.aspx">this earlier post</a> that incorrectly specifies the xmlns as xmlns="http://a9.com/-/spec/opensearchdescription/1.1/&quot; when it should be xmlns="http://a9.com/-/spec/opensearch/1.1/&quot; ?

    Using the incorrect xmlns breaks the IE7 search provider functionality.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Is there a configuration setting to remove/hide the Search box from IE 7?

  7. ieblog says:

    Ryan,

    As a general rule, we do not go back and update previous posts for changes in URLs and the like. Aaron and I spoke about this earlier and the link is accurate for when the post was written. For the present, you should use the links in this post, not in one written months ago.

    – Al Billings [MSFT]

  8. Anonymous says:

    I like it, but may still use the Google toolbar…..

    Is there anyway I can set the search engine used to Google UK?

  9. Anonymous says:

    what’s the hotkey to focus the url bar? ctrl+L opens a dialog box instead…

    also, is it possible to make the url and search boxes behave like form input boxes?

    eg. double-click highlights a chunk of alphanumeric characters only. triple-click highlights entire line.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Alt+D still works to focus the address bar, mocax. Not sure if there’s a Ctrl key for it.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Noticed an issue in IE7 Beta2,just wanted to know if this really is an issue or iam missing something.

    – I have this wordweb installed on my machine.Whenever a text higlighted and wordweb is invoked it comes with the meaning of the highlighted text.But this is not happening in IE7.

    Thanks,

    kiran

  12. Anonymous says:

    How come Yahoo! Search is the default search engine, not MSN Search? and Google isn’t included with installation but Yahoo! Search is?

    Thanks,

    Sam

  13. Anonymous says:

    <How come Yahoo! Search is the default search engine, not MSN Search? and Google isn’t included with installation but Yahoo! Search is?>

    Probably because you had the Yahoo! toolbar installed.

  14. ThomThom says:

    Will there be an option to supress window.external.AddSearchProvider if you want to make sure sites don’t bother you with that?

  15. Anonymous says:

    Please include an option to highlight the search arguments on the page when doing a CONTROL-F.

    And consider adding Wikipedia to the search provider list.

  16. Anonymous says:

    One annoyance I have, is that the AddSearchProvider method, auto-discovery and opensearch description files only accept absolute URLs.

    Is there a reason why relative URLs are not allowed?

  17. Anonymous says:

    Internet Explorer resembles an ugly old woman whos trying to look as in the full bloom of youth, undergoes plastic syrgery, applies tons of cosmetics and wears mini-skirt  but she still remains as old as hell. Browsers RENDERING ENGINE is the first thing that needs renewal; all other new features look like mini-skirt on my grandgrandmother.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Don’t like it, another method for malware sites to annoy people.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I urge the IE team to focus more on IE7 UI problems – the interface is worse than ever, cluttered with buttons everywhere, on the left, on the right, below the address bar, anywhere – than to introduce special bonus features (almost) only accessible via scripts.

    By the way, the IANA provides special example domains as specified in RFC 2606 [1].

    [1] http://www.apps.ietf.org/rfc/rfc2606.html

  20. Anonymous says:

    I urge the IE team to focus more on IE7 UI problems – the interface is worse than ever, cluttered with buttons everywhere, on the left, on the right, below the address bar, anywhere – than to introduce special bonus features (almost) only accessible via scripts.

    By the way, the IANA provides special example domains as specified in RFC 2606 [1].

    [1] http://www.apps.ietf.org/rfc/rfc2606.html

  21. Anonymous says:

    Is there a way to detect if my search engine is added?

    – I do not want to always have an IE7 add search button visible

    – I do want to make it visible if they are IE7 and don’t have the engine added

    – I do not want to use a cookie to track it, cookies have their purposes but not for this.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Woah! Nice feature!

    Firefox should implement it too.

    Keep the good work guys. And don’t forgot the CSS 2.1 compatibility 🙂

  23. Anonymous says:

    I forgot to mention what a fine browser update this is turning into. I wouldn’t know that without the developers posting.

    keep up the good work. 🙂

  24. Anonymous says:

    I think it’s a shame that page searching hasn’t been improved at all (i.e. of the ctrl+f variety). There are a fair few things that could be done to improve that experience (such as highlighting terms in the search box, quick jumping a la the google toolbar etc…).

  25. Anonymous says:

    "Will there be an option to supress window.external.AddSearchProvider if you want to make sure sites don’t bother you with that?"

    BINGO.  Should be in a checkbox, like Internet Options->Advanced (or Privacy?) tab->"Allow sites to recommend new search providers".

    Those dialogs CAN be annoying to some, and unacceptable in a workstation environment.  (At least they DO prompt first.)

  26. Anonymous says:

    Please tell me that this will only prompt the user, if a direct user interaction event has fired.

    e.g. onclick() for a button, link, image, div (NOT BODY!)

    if this fires onload(), or just by calling it… every site on the planet will attempt to install spyware^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hsearch engines in users browsers.

    Thanks

  27. Anonymous says:

    "Any chance you could update <a href="http://blogs.msdn.com/ie/archive/2005/09/14/466186.aspx">this earlier post</a> that incorrectly specifies the xmlns as xmlns="http://a9.com/-/spec/opensearchdescription/1.1/&quot; when it should be xmlns="http://a9.com/-/spec/opensearch/1.1/&quot; ?

    Using the incorrect xmlns breaks the IE7 search provider functionality."

    Indeed.  The correct URI goes to the OpenSearch spec, while your (Microsoft’s) recommendation goes to a 404.  Fix this.

  28. Anonymous says:

    "Please tell me that this will only prompt the user, if a direct user interaction event has fired.

    e.g. onclick() for a button, link, image, div (NOT BODY!)

    if this fires onload(), or just by calling it… every site on the planet will attempt to install spyware^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hsearch engines in users browsers.

    Thanks "

    I second that.  Standard form should be to wait for USERS to click a link, then the dialog shows, THEN we approve it.  onload() adds will waste bandwidth anyway, since a page of some sort has to be, well, loaded.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Nevermind.  "The Add Search Provider dialog will only prompt as a result of an explicit user action."  http://blogs.msdn.com/ie/archive/2005/09/14/466186.aspx#466406

    I beg that those actions don’t include onload() in any case.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps you can get someone to update the page at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/ie7/devwebchecklist.mspx so that they are directed to this blog entry instead of the older one with the incorrect xmlns string.

    I only mention this because I wasted a lot of time trying to get AddSearchProvider to work with the old xmlns.

  31. Anonymous says:

    I agree taht calling it via onLoad() shouldn’t be allowed as the last thing I need is every site under the sun prompting me to install their search engine.

    A preference would be nice too.

  32. Anonymous says:

    >>How come Yahoo! Search is the default search engine, not MSN Search? and Google isn’t included with installation but Yahoo! Search is?>

    >Probably because you had the Yahoo! toolbar installed.

    Correct, we migrate your IE 6 address bar autosearch provider (the provider IE would search with if you mistyped an address) when you upgrade to IE 7.  In this case your provider was Yahoo!, likely because you had the toolbar installed at some point.

  33. Anonymous says:

    > DashEWGF, Ctrl+E will give the search box focus.

    I will be posting a keyboard post very soon.  Until then, here’s another relevant search hotkey:

    Alt+Enter from the search box: Opens your a search in a new tab

    Note: Alt+Enter also works the same way from the address bar.

  34. Anonymous says:

    yay, another spyware vector!  Now every malicious site will just say "Click here and hit Add Provider to gain access" instead of click here and say Yes.

  35. Anonymous says:

    > Nevermind.  "The Add Search Provider dialog will only prompt as a result of an explicit user action."  http://blogs.msdn.com/ie/archive/2005/09/14/466186.aspx#466406

    >I beg that those actions don’t include onload() in any case.

    Correct, onload is not a user action.  With the Beta 2 Preview non-user actions might still work, but we will lock this down by the time we ship.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Hello IE Team.

    I’d just like to say well done on the work so far, all us developers really appreciate it.

    If its not too much trouble could you could sort out these bugs before the final release….

    http://www.quirksmode.org/bugreports/archives/explorer_7_beta_2/index.html

    thanks

  37. Anonymous says:

    > I like it, but may still use the Google toolbar….. Is there anyway I can set the search engine used to Google UK?

    For the Beta 2 Preview our Windows Search Guide only contains english search providers.  Unfortunately for now that means the Google UK provider is something either Google would have to provide on their site, or something you’d have to create.  When we ship the final version we should have a much better selection for international providers.

  38. Anonymous says:

    I think the search box is handy and cool.  But I *really* miss the google highlight feature to highlight the search terms in my document.  That’s the killer feature that makes me still use the google tooblar.  Please add it ?

  39. Anonymous says:

    damn that’s slick… just added it as a test on my site and was trip’n out that it worked, and on the first try 🙂

    wow.

    curious about how this auto-discovery works… if IE7 see’s it, does it notify you or something? sorry if i missed or misunderstood.

  40. Anonymous says:

    > Perhaps you can get someone to update the page at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/ie7/devwebchecklist.mspx so that they are directed to this blog entry instead of the older one with the incorrect xmlns string.

    We’ve got it in the queue for updating.  Thanks Ryan!

  41. Anonymous says:

    > damn that’s slick… just added it as a test on my site and was trip’n out that it worked, and on the first try 🙂

    Sweet! 🙂

    > curious about how this auto-discovery works… if IE7 see’s it, does it notify you or something? sorry if i missed or misunderstood.

    Yes.  In the Beta 2 Preview if you use search discovery via the <link> tag you should see an orange highlight on the search button when the browser detects a search provider.

  42. Anonymous says:

    just added the autodiscovery link, and saw it show up with the orange down arrow next to the search box… hot damn.

    ** big thumbs up **

  43. Anonymous says:

    excuse the multiple comments here, just type’n as i think of it… but is it strictly tied to "Provider.xml", or could i designate another file, such as "search_provider.cfm", for instance?

    also, i like how it tells you that you’ve already added it to your list of search providers if you’ve already done so… the down-arrow doesnt turn orange for me either after adding it, which is kewl.

  44. Anonymous says:

    Once again… it would be nice if the search bar could be gotten rid of all together and the address bar allowed to do "double duty" like TweakUI allows you to do (except built-in).  The two could even be "connected" so that typing "goog firefox" in the address bar would be the same as typing "firefox" in the "google" search bar.

  45. Anonymous says:

    > just added the autodiscovery link, and saw it show up with the orange down arrow next to the search box… hot damn.

    Sweet again!

    > excuse the multiple comments here, just type’n as i think of it… but is it strictly tied to "Provider.xml", or could i designate another file, such as "search_provider.cfm", for instance?

    Provider.xml is just an example.  You can use a different name there for sure 🙂

  46. Anonymous says:

    I like the web-search functionality, now I know the shortcut key to focus it.    However, the functionality for "find on this page…" falls a long way behind Firefox.

    The find-as-you-type feature in Firefox, neatly contained in the toolbar at the bottom of the window, is so much more powerful than the little find dialog in IE.  It would be great if you could eventually replace the Find dialog – the fewer dialog windows the better!

  47. Anonymous says:

    not sure, but it seems like it does change the down-arrow on the search button to orange, even if i’ve already added it to the list of search providers…

    eg: i add my site to the list… fire up a new tab, and search on something… the down-arrow turns orange when it hits my site — but i’d think it wouldnt since it’s search against a site in the list… or do i have that all wrong here? *scratches head*

  48. Anonymous says:

    > it would be nice if the search bar could be gotten rid of all together and the address bar allowed to do "double duty" like TweakUI allows you to do (except built-in).  

    There have been a few comments requesting the ability to remove the search box. We totally understand why this functionality is desired.  Although this is still something we are considering I wanted to talk a bit about why the decision to allow this functionality is not so cut and dry.  

    One thing to consider when determining whether or not to add a user setting to remove the search box is that other code on the machine could then easily change that setting for you (malware that might not want you to change your search settings, or even well meaning toolbars that don’t realize you like sarch discovery etc…).  Once changed many people might have a hard time getting this back on and might lose some of the cool functionality of the search box listed above for good.

    Note that there is good reason to have the search box up even if you typically search from the address bar (or another search toolbar): The search box has search discovery built in, provides a quick and easy way to change your search defaults, provides the ability to quickly try your search between various "topical" or "vertical" search providers, and also with Alt+Enter you can open your search result in a new tab directly (which isn’t as easy via a toolbar).

    Anyhow, we’ve heard the feedback that the ability to remove it is desired.  We’ll certainly be thinking about the right thing to do here.

  49. Anonymous says:

    I have added &quot;Search Discovery&quot; to CSUpdate. I think your search button should have lighted up by now,…

  50. Anonymous says:

    Good job with IE7, in http://www.solphone.com.ar/ you can see one of our dev sites running our NBP app and supporting opensearch. You can test it searching by example "conflicto"

    Just a question, why when we navigate a site with opensearch autodiscovery, the IE autodiscovery icon goes to orange also in the appended sites.

  51. Anonymous says:

    A bit off topic, but has anyone been able to find or add a search provider for Wikipedia?

  52. Anonymous says:

    Nevermind, just found it (and more) at: http://www.clinteastman.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/opensearch/

    Happy searching.

  53. Anonymous says:

    Firefox should support this, too.

  54. Anonymous says:

    @SurrealLogic

    Just cut and paste into a .reg file:

    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

    [HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftInternet ExplorerSearchScopesGoogle]

    "DisplayName"="Google"

    "URL"="http://www.google.com/search?q={searchTerms}&sourceid=ie7&rls=com.microsoft:en-US&ie=utf8&oe=utf8"

    [HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftInternet ExplorerSearchScopesWikipedia]

    "DisplayName"="Wikipedia"

    "URL"="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Search?search={searchTerms}&go=Go"

  55. I love things that can securely enhance functionality through the browser like this, but current IE7 when it discovers an OpenSearch document via the LINK element doesn’t let you select it in the menu. It appears below the separator line right above "Add search provider". Presumably this should be selectable (and it should, if not designed that way) because why else show it both above "Add search provider" and in the "Add search provider" menu itself?

  56. Anonymous says:

    There should be the ability to delete added search providers.

  57. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for spamming your blog on a digg thread.  Couldnt have simply posted your comment, that would have been to complicated eh?

  58. Anonymous says:

    @heaths: Please provide a repro URL?  The only time I’ve seen the item fail to select is when the provider has a typo (e.g. uses the wrong xmlns, for instance).

  59. Anonymous says:

    @abc

    There is a possibility to remove the search providers.

    1) pull down the search menu

    2) Choose change search defaults

    3) Remove the selected provider.

    I agree that it’s not intuitive.

    @IE team

    It would be nice if you could right-click on the search provider and delete them.

  60. Anonymous says:

    How I customized by blog even with limited ability to support auto-discovery of OpenSearch descriptions.

  61. Anonymous says:

    > I like it, but may still use the Google toolbar….. Is there anyway I can set the search engine used to Google UK?

    > For the Beta 2 Preview our Windows Search Guide only contains english search providers.  Unfortunately for now that means the Google UK provider is something either Google would have to provide on their site, or something you’d have to create.  When we ship the final version we should have a much better selection for international providers.

    Ummm Aaron, Google UK is an english search provider. Not only is it english, it’s more english than msn. UK = England = English. msn = US = American != English. It may sound silly, but referring to an english/uk site as not as english as an american site, is.

    My apologies to any scots/welsh/irish for inferring they may be english. 🙂

    Enough of my rambling, and keep up the good work on ie7.

    Cheers,

    Terence Mackie

  62. Anonymous says:

    > Ummm Aaron, Google UK is an english search provider.

    Good point Terence…  Slip of the keyboard there 🙂  

    The Windows Search Guide is EN_US only right now.

  63. Anonymous says:

    It would be nice if you could add your own search provider to the list without having to find a link on a site somewhere. For example Wikipedia does not have a link yet, it seems. Why not add an "Add" button to the "Change search defaults" dialog which allows you to do that?

  64. Anonymous says:

    I agree with the comments that this will likely just be another abused feature by companies such as CoolWebSearch.

    Be prepared for a barrage of pages from misspelt domains and such which "helpfully" ask you to install search providers…

  65. Anonymous says:

    I’d like to see improved searching of the current document in the new version of IE.  FF and Google toolbar have the features and are extremely helpful when trying to do research.  The ability to highlight those searched items in the document is also desired.  Keep up the good work.

  66. Anonymous says:

     We recently updated the blogs.msdn.com to the latest version of Community Server. While they got…

  67. Anonymous says:

    Several parties have made claims about how search works in IE7. I think those

    claims are awfully confusing,…

  68. Anonymous says:

    Sweet…..I missed out getting asked to help out in the Beta but found the link for the preview……Love the look so far…Search is soooo easy to use!…..Hoping to make Beta 2 in Vista so as to be able to enjoy more of this!

  69. Anonymous says:

    go to ie7.com

  70. Anonymous says:

    implementing the "Search as you type" feature, like those in mozilla, would be nice.

    And pressing F3 should repeat the search without opening the search dialog.

  71. Anonymous says:

    Yes type as you find should be a bigger priorty then this thing. Searching in IE as of now is the worst of any browser. 🙁

    And yes I agree spammers/spyware, etc will abuse this new functionatily and there should be an option to totally disable auto feeds descovery and auto search discovery. In fact I dont care for either.

    Thanks,

    Will

    PS: Microsoft if you want people to switch from FF back to IE again you better fix search correctly like us tech junkies want you to or IE will die a slow but painfull death.

  72. Anonymous says:

    Drag and Drop Search like firefox would be nice. Select text on a Web page, and drag and drop it onto the Search bar to perform a search with your currently selected engine.

    The Find Bar that appears at the bottom of the Firefox window is also great. Copy that.

    Add IMDB as a search engine, as well as ebay.co.uk and amazon.co.uk.

    Are there Tabbed Groups in IE7. If so they are not as intuitive as I used in Deepnet Explorer.

  73. Anonymous says:

    Hi. Got shareware app to let you maintain IE’s Search settings, SearchURLs and SearchScopes. (sorry beta version in VB6 – runtimes included). View screen shots and download from http://www.iecustomizer.com/iesearchdownload.htm

    On that page you will also find downloads for SearchURLs.reg and SearchScopes.reg

  74. Anonymous says:

    I agree with the comments made about the find dialog. The FireFox find feature is way cool. One suggestion I would like to make is to remove the system font and colors formatting in the dialog so that it appears the same as the users stylesheet and accessibility preferences.

  75. Anonymous says:

    So, today, I enabled the OpenSearch spec on my blog. I doubt people come here to search, but it&amp;#8217;s good technology that I think should be out there more often. If you&amp;#8217;re using IE7, you&amp;#8217;ll notice that when you&amp;#8217;re

  76. Anonymous says:

    So, today, I enabled the OpenSearch spec on my blog. I doubt people come here to search, but it&amp;#8217;s good technology that I think should be out there more often. If you&amp;#8217;re using IE7, you&amp;#8217;ll notice that when you&amp;#8217;re

  77. Anonymous says:

    Last time I posted about search I talked about our new extensibility mechanisms: window.external.AddSearchProvider,…

  78. Anonymous says:

    Internet Explorer 7 prinaša številne novosti, med drugim tudi priročno iskalno vrstico v zgornjem desnem…

  79. Anonymous says:

    IE7 was released yesterday. If you’re a web site owner, developer or designer, and find that your site or application is encountering problems, fret not. Here is a list of resources for you: Read the Checklists Download the IE7 Readiness…

  80. Anonymous says:

    IE7 was released yesterday. If you’re a web site owner, developer or designer, and find that your site or application is encountering problems, fret not. Here is a list of resources for you: 1. Checklists 2. Download the IE7…

  81. Anonymous says:

    From now on, we have to test our web application on another version of browser. Source: http://dotnet.csdn.net/n/20061019/96467.html Microsoft IE7已于今日正式发布。微软在网站上公布了开发者和Web制作人员要注意的一些事项。翻译如下: 确认你的程序中关

  82. Anonymous says:

    We invite you to spend some added time researching hair care info.