IE 8 Activities and WebSlices for Firefox

Two of the main new features Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 introduced last week, Activities and WebSlices, are now available for Firefox users.

Activities, is a simple way to add web services you can direct text selections to for further detail. For example, you can select a word of a web page, select a define activity and get the definition from a provider you have added like Dictionary.com or Answers.com. You can do the same with a street address.

Michael Kaply, author of Operator, a more capable Firefox extension that uses microformats to detect and exchange data between sites, has released a new version of Microsoft Activities for Firefox that allows to add Activities providers to Firefox and use them to preview and direct text selections to them.

Microsoft Activities

Get Microsoft Activities from Michael Kaply’s site. You will need to add a few Activities providers from Microsoft.WebSlices are small pieces of the most relevant content of a web page that a user can subscribe to to get the latest facts without having to visit the full page.

Disruptive Innovations’ Daniel Glazman has released WebChunks, a very early implementation of WebSlices, as a Firefox extension that detects webslices in a web page and subscribe to them via a toolbar.

WebChunks

You will first need to get a few providers from Microsoft. Then you can visit one of the sites to subscribe to a web page. You will notice a purple icon when you hover a webslice. Right click and select Subscribe to a webckunk to add it to the webchunk toolbar.

There are two kinds of webslices: one is embedded in the web page as regular content and a second one is just the first item of a web feed. Currently WebChunks only support the first one but coming versions will support both of them.

Another limitation is the need of a separate toolbar and that webslices are updated every time you click on it instead of all of them getting a periodic refresh. In some cases like auctions, it is better that way though, so maybe an option to set the kind of refresh would be the right way to go.

WebChunks is compatible with Firefox 3 Alpha 1 and later versions up to the current nightlies.  You can get it from Daniel Glazman’s site.

18 thoughts on “IE 8 Activities and WebSlices for Firefox”

  1. The Activities strike me as strange. Firstly, the name. How are those things “activities”?

    Secondly I don’t understand the parallel drawn to Operator for Firefox in various other blog posts. Operator is much more advanced and can send information to different apps on the computer, but also requires special markup. Activities is no more or less than the context menu search extension for Firefox. But with the Firefox extension it is all one concept: Search. In IE they have managed to make search engine plugins and Activities two completely different and separate concept.

  2. May IE burn in H E L L <<< IE sucks ass!
    I hate M$ and…

    I Love Percy ^_^ (and I also love to click on the ads on this GREAT site)

    Regards
    Simon

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  4. It’s a shame we still have to restart Firefox to install extensions.

    Gotta say though (even though these are extensions) it’s pretty impressive how quick the Fx community was able to replicate two of the more major features of IE8 Beta, released less than two weeks ago!

  5. Activities are nice, as you can see from IE… and now Firefox! Or you can check out the concept from Flock.

    In any case, that this has been implemented in less then a month (I think) is pretty damn sweet. I have to say that extentions are what has made Firefox such a competitor to anyone else.

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