Mozilla has announced Taskfox, a new project that aims to deliver some of Ubiquity’s command line features to a future Firefox release.
As you may know, Ubiquity is a powerful Firefox extension developed by Mozilla Labs, that provides a command line interface to connect contents (keywords, images, text, addresses, dates, etc.) ofÂ a web page to another making it easy to perform common tasks like emailing a selection to a friend, adding an event to an online calendar, checking the weather or performing a search; by entering the appropriate command in Ubiquity’s command prompt and optionally an operand like search terms or an email address.
It’s also proved to be very popular with about 200,000 daily users right now, according to numbers provided in Mozilla Lab’s Blair McBride’s post.
Blair’s post provides some important considerations I summarize below:
- Where Ubiquity is not for everyone (extensive savvy web users, some level of English, add-on users), Taskfox aims to be for every Firefox user.
- For security concerns, it won’t include the ability to subscribe to command feeds, a way to have the latest version of a command that may include service integration updates or performance improvements.
- As Ubiquity it will be extensible, so add-ons will have an API to access Taskfox abilities. I am guessing users will still be able to add their own command, but Im not sure if Ubiquity’s command editor will be included.
- It will be localizable in both, the services it integrates with and the command strings.
- It will ship with far less commands than Ubiquity’s near to 100.
- There will be no performance hit.
There are currently three proposals for merging the CLI (command line interface) with Firefox UI, introduced by Alex Faaborg:
My favorite, use the awesome bar making the go button a menu were users can select what to do with what’s been entered (go to URL, search using with an installed engine, map, add to calendar, check the weather for the city, etc.).
Users would still have the option to enter the command name if they find it easier, and like with Ubiquity, preview results would be displayed in the drop down menu.
A second option is to morph the search bar into a command bar, similar to the previous one, but would leave the awesome bar alone for web addresses.
The third option is to keep things as in Ubiquity, with a separate command prompt of its own, which is the main reason I don’t use Ubiquity that much: I find a lot of redundancy between Ubiquity’s command prompt and the other bars.
You can see full details of the mockups here.
Taskfox’s initial timeline is aiming for a July release candidate with betas and QA occurring in May and June progressively landing in the trunk currently labeled as Firefox 3.6.
People is invited to join the weekly meetings on Taskfox every Thusday afternoon (Pacific Time), and to share their thoughts and comments on this CLI implementation in the mozilla.dev.apps.firefox newsgroup or the #fx-team channel on IRC.
Also, cast your vote in the latest Mozilla Links’ quick poll: