I’m a big fan of the Google Deskbar. When I’m not in SharpReader,
I’m in the Deskbar’s mini-viewer. I barely ever browse in a raw browser
window anymore, and when I have to it’s usually just long enough to
drag an RSS feed into SharpReader (which is why I try to put RSS links
next to everyone’s name here – I’d rather just subscribe to someone’s
feed than follow a link). Firefox doesn’t listen to my
ThinkPad’s funky scroll button thing, so I always use Internet Explorer
at home, and as the Deskbar embeds IE, I can share history and there
are no surprises. Also, it’s a sprightly little thing. I’ve always had
the impression from Firefox that if the Deskbar embedded Gecko, it’d
start being frustratingly slow to appear.
Anyway, I only just noticed that there’s a dead simple .NET API
allowing you to write plugins. It’s almost fatally flawed as you can’t
assign keyboard-shortcuts to your plugins, so you have to go through
this hard-to-click little context menu. But if you ignore that, you can
get some really nice functionality very cheaply. I will try and
demonstrate this later in the week, but as it was, I wasted all evening
trying to make a plugin to send messages through messenger from just
the search box of the Deskbar, only to find out that there’s no easy
way to send messages through the Messenger API (would you believe
it?) You have to load up a conversation window and mess around
trying to find the rich text box and the send button and it’s awful.
I’m sure this is some weird security thing or something, but I
gave up trying to work it out.
If you use the Deskbar, download the SDK
and have a go at writing your own extensions. A plugin is just an
implementation of the ICustomSearch interface. You decide if your
output appears in the search box, mini-viewer or a new browser window
and provide a method to accept the search query and that’s about
it. Couldn’t be simpler.