Friday, April 3, 2009

What's Ubiquity--User's Perspective

Ubiquity is a Firefox extension and it provides you with a different way to navigate and interact with your computer through the use of keyboard shortcuts and typed commands. Ubiquity let you apply textual commands (called "verbs") to whatever you're looking at on your screen. See here for its formal introduction. You can also view the video below:



Ubiquity for Firefox from Aza Raskin on Vimeo.

Platforms Supported

Ubiquity is cross-platform. Here are a list of platforms it supports with descriptions:



























Mac OS X



  • Need to have Growl installed




    • This is a Mac OS X system extension that applications can use to display unobtrusive transparent messages



Windows



  • On Windows (XP and later), you don't need to install anything special.


Linux



  • On Linux, you shouldn't have to do anything special: just make sure you're updated to the latest version of Firefox.




Where to find Ubiquity?


Ubiquity is still in flux. The latest release is 0.1.7. If you're viewing this post from Firefox, you can get the latest version here. If you're a brave soul, you can get the latest beta vesion here. The installation is a simple Firefox add-on installation. After installation of Ubuiquity, you can start playing with its commands from standard feeds. To see a list of commands available to you, paste the following URL to your Firefox address field:

chrome://ubiquity/content/cmdlist.html



How to launch Ubiquity?

  1. Open up Ubiquity (CTRL+SPACE on Windows and ALT+SPACE on other platforms), and type any command name.

  2. You should see command options on suggestion list or preview pane, complete the command and hit Enter.

Where to get more commands?

There are two sources that you can get more Ubiquity commands from:

After you get started, you'll have a need to manage all your Ubiquity commands. To do that, go to the command management page by pasting the following URL into your Firefox address field:

about:ubiquity


How to subscribe new commands?

After navigating to the command source page in Firefox, you should see a bar at the top of the page asking you to subscribe to the Ubiquity command. If not, then you either do not have Ubiquity installed or you are already subscribed to the command.

What happens when you click on subscribe button?

Ubiquity commands are implemented in Javascript. All Javascripts are deemed potentially dangerous. So, what happens if you click on the subscribe button? At ease. It will bring you to a subscription page like this:



It will show you the content of Javascript source. At the bottom of the page, it shows two buttons for you to either accept or reject the subscription. In Ubiquity 0.2, it redesigns the security model of Ubiquity with command feed plugins. So, you can identify and/or trust your command feeds more easily.

To learn more, check out other blog posts here.

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