I’m Chanpory, and this is my site on how to live and work better as a designer.

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What do you get when you marry Quicksilver’s powerful WebSearch plug-in with YubNub’s equally potent command-line web service?

A super duper web search tool that lets you:

  • Search 10,500+ sites and tools including Google, Wikipedia, IMDB, eBay, and Craigslist through one common interface

  • Instantly call up this interface from anywhere in the system with a single keyboard shortcut–without even being in a browser.

Here’s what it looks like in action:

What the hell is YubNub?

YubNub

Like Quicksilver, YubNub is hard to explain. I’ll try anyway.

Yubnub lets you use shortcuts to access thousands of websites and web-based tools. You can use the 10,500+ existing shortcuts, or create your own.

Some examples will make this more clear. Here are some YubNub commands and a description of what each does:

  • imdb The Godfather
    Find movies on IMDB titled “The Godfather”

  • g How to start a blog
    Search Google for “How to Start a Blog”

  • wp Life hack
    Go to the “Life hack” page on Wikipedia

  • d typography
    Get the definition of “typography” on dictionary.com

  • deli productivity
    Find bookmarks tagged “productivity” on del.icio.us

The beauty of YubNub is that it gives you a single common interface to query your favorite sites and tools.

So how do I use it with Quicksilver?

The disadvantage of YubNub is that it’s a website. To use it, you must first open a browser, go to http://www.yubnub.org, then type in a command. For Quicksilver enthusiasts, this is way too many steps and clicks.

With Quicksilver’s WebSearch plug-in and Triggers, you can instantly bring up a YubNub search window no matter where you are in the system. Here’s how:

1. Install the WebSearch module

If you don’t have it yet, install Quicksilver. Then, in Quicksilver’s settings window:

  • Press the Plugins button at the top of the window

  • Select All Plug-ins in the left column. In the right column, scroll down to find Web Search Module. Check the box to install.

  • Restart Quicksilver to activate the plug-in.

quicksilver_websearch.jpg

2. Create a Trigger for YubNub

In Quicksilver’s settings window:

  • Press the Triggers button at the top of the window.

  • Click the Plus icon at the bottom of the window, and select HotKey.

Quicksilver HotKey

In the pop-up that appears:

  • Paste this exact URL in Select an Item field:
    qss-http://www.yubnub.org/parser/parse?command=***

  • After pasting the URL, the Action field will automatically change to “Search For…”

Quicksilver Yubnub Trigger 1

The next step must be followed exactly:

  • Press the Tab key until the Target field is selected.
  • Press Command+X to clear the field. Note: You must use Command+X and not the Delete key.

The result must look like this (or it won’t work):

Quicksilver Yubnub Trigger 2

After pressing Save, we can now assign a Hot Key:

  • Select the command you just created in the Triggers list and press the Info Icon on the bottom-right of the window. A drawer will appear.

  • Next to the Hot Key field, click Edit and assign a keyboard shortcut. I like to use Command+Shift+Y

Quicksilver Yubnub Trigger 3

3. Now use it

To enjoy the rapid search power of YubNub and Quicksilver from anywhere:

  • Check out the most-used YubNub commands. Or for the complete list, go here.

  • Call up the YubNub search window by pressing the Hot Key you just created (Command+Shift+Y in our example).

  • Type in any YubNub shortcut and it will automatically launch your browser with the results.

Quicksilver Sanjaya

Bonus Tip

Jonathan Aquino just pointed out another awesome trick. To run multiple YubNub commands at once, use the mash command. For example:

  • mash sanjaya-malakar wp gim imdb gn

The result looks like this in your browser:

Quicksilver YubNub Mashup

All done. Now, go show your friends and amaze them with your nimble search prowess.

36 Comments

  • Julian Schrader

    gravatarApr 19, 2007
    2:35 pm

    Great tip!

    Just did this and it’s great!

  • Steve Dallape

    gravatarApr 19, 2007
    2:47 pm

    Sounds really cool, but I followed the instruction to the letter and cannot get it to work. When I press the hotkey, the YubNub site opens in my browser. Not sure what I did wrong, or maybe there is another QS setting somewherre that I don’t have set correctly.

  • Chanpory

    gravatarApr 19, 2007
    2:55 pm

    Hi Steve, this usually happens when setting up the trigger and the Target field is not properly cleared. I’ve made this mistake before as well.

    When you are first setting up the Trigger setup, make sure you are using Command+X to clear the Target field, so that all you see is “Type to search.” If there is anything else in there, it will go directly to YubNub.

    If that doesn’t work, send me a screenshot of your Trigger setup window, and I’ll take a look. Hope that helps.

  • Rich

    gravatarApr 19, 2007
    3:00 pm

    This is fantastic! But it’s a little bit better to set up YubNub as a custom web search source in the Quicksilver catalog and then use this to set up the trigger as described above. If you do this, you can give the trigger a nice name rather than just a URL. It’s also much easier to get to via the usual Quicksilver interface rather than by a trigger if you prefer to do things that way.

  • Jonathan Aquino

    gravatarApr 19, 2007
    10:42 pm

    What a lovely review! The pics and video are great.

    Here’s a trick for running several commands at once: the mash command:

    mash sanjaya-malakar wp gim imdb gn

  • Chanpory

    gravatarApr 19, 2007
    11:02 pm

    Jonathan, Wow, I didn’t know about the mash trick. I’ve updated the post with your extra tip.

    Thanks!

  • Arif

    gravatarApr 20, 2007
    3:31 am

    nice…nice…NICE! One serious problem though, after putting up this trigger, my Quicksilver preference pane, doesn’t launch up anymore. I have to quit Quicksliver restart and then select Quick Silver preferences from the menu bar.

    Any idea, what gives?

  • nicholas

    gravatarApr 21, 2007
    9:08 pm

    hm, i did exactly as told… i even used the same trigger… but it still goes to yubnub page…

    too bad, one thing that made me work with shiira browser for so long is because it was easier to manage searches…

  • Steve Roesler

    gravatarApr 23, 2007
    4:46 am

    As a long-time Quicksilver user, I’m going to give this a shot. And I’m glad I came into the conversation a little late to benefit from the tips:).

    Thanks, Chanpory.

  • foobar

    gravatarApr 24, 2007
    9:36 am

    fucking horrible instructions

    thanks for making it as confusing as possible.

  • Chanpory

    gravatarApr 24, 2007
    9:55 am

    Foobar,

    Quicksilver isn’t the most easy-to-figure piece of software. I tried to be as detailed as possible and included screenshots and step-by-step instructions. Sorry, it didn’t work for you. When you post an easier-to-follow guide, let me know and I’ll link you.

  • Vanessa

    gravatarApr 24, 2007
    4:23 pm

    Great screencast and a good tip. Besides the “mash” feature, is it better than using the “Web Search Module” Plug-in and doing this . instead?

    1. Hit “ctrl + space” to invoke
    2. Type “i m d b” and hit “Tab”
    3. Type “Sanjaya Malakr” and hit “Enter”
  • Seth Talley

    gravatarApr 24, 2007
    4:49 pm

    If you end up with a browser window and you can’t for the life of you get “type to search” for the life of you, tab and shift tab around a bit. I had to clear a blank “file” icon out (pressing cmdX just gave me a bonk).

    Totally slick.

  • Daniel

    gravatarMay 2, 2007
    6:59 am

    I’ve been having this problem with Quicksilver web searches for ages. Everytime that I come across a new web search that I want to add, it takes about an hour to get it working. I would have the same result as Seth, and previous posters. The secret is at the “Command-X” stage. The purpose is not to have an empty text field in the third row but to have one that says “Type to search.” If the third row has a blinking text cursor or an icon then it won’t work. The solution is to tab out of the field, and then tab back. Then press Comman-X. This will remove the icon and change the row to say “Type to search.” If this doesn’t work, do it again. Sorry for being repetative, but it confused me for a very long time.

  • Gabriel Kent

    gravatarJun 29, 2007
    7:08 pm

    A Firefox Add-on.

    Firefox 2+ users can try RubNub for YubNub. v1.5 was just released and also offers supports embedded YubNub commands (example: rub://g+hello searches google for ‘hello’).

    Enjoy:: http://rubnub.org

    (full disclosure, I made RN4YN)

    >||;)

  • Joe Dunn

    gravatarDec 9, 2007
    5:12 pm

    Nice tip. Since I usually use google, I don’t think it’s worth it for me to type the “g” every time. But I think I’m going to hotkey a yubnub search anyway, because it seems useful for things I’d rarely search.

  • Mike

    gravatarMar 1, 2008
    1:01 pm

    Doesn’t work for me… just brings me to the yubnub home page.

  • gutenmter

    gravatarMar 26, 2008
    3:22 pm

    If you’re an avid PS3 gamer, then you know the importance of saving your progress for future game play. Pls, help me!

  • scott

    gravatarJun 16, 2008
    11:48 am

    daniel’s comment about the field where you type cmd+x has just fixed it for me. like he says, you need to tab out of the field and tab back in so that there isn’t a blinking cursor or anything, and then type cmd+x, then save.

  • jc

    gravatarMar 13, 2009
    4:24 am

    Hi! This is great… I saw it working on a Spanish screencast and when searched to set this up, I landed in this page.

    So my question is…

    I paste that URL, then press tab and I can’t set the action of “Search for…” It doesn’t appear on the actions list.

    I installed the plugin. Maybe am I missing something?

    Great how to!!

    Regards from BCN.

  • Charles

    gravatarApr 3, 2009
    12:01 am

    It does’n work, im tired attempting all tha fucking night, please actualice the path!!

  • LD

    gravatarJun 11, 2009
    8:14 am

    It doesn’t work for me too. Something is wrong with new versions, please review…

    Thanks

  • mario

    gravatarJul 3, 2009
    6:31 am

    This is great except depending on yubnub for the search queries gets frustrating when the site is down.

  • Joel

    gravatarJul 22, 2009
    9:02 pm

    It didn’t worked for me until I tried this one:


    Seth Talley

    Apr 24, 2007 4:49 pm

    If you end up with a browser window and you can’t for the life of you get –œtype to search– for the life of you, tab and shift tab around a bit. I had to clear a blank –œfile– icon out (pressing cmdX just gave me a bonk).

    Totally slick.

    Excellent, thanks. (:P

  • Yami55

    gravatarSep 20, 2009
    10:58 am

    Hello, I used to search with yubnub in QS perfectly when I used MAC OS X 10.5 but now that I’m with 10.6 (Snow Leopard) I have some problems doing this, please if someone knows how to fix it, let me know. This is my e-mail: daviddavilahp@gmail.com

  • B3t4

    gravatarOct 15, 2009
    9:39 am

    Hello. I have the same problem of JC. I paste the URL but doesn´t appear “searh for”. I´ve realunched and re installed the program but it doesn´t work. I use snow leopard.

  • Manuel

    gravatarNov 17, 2009
    7:21 am

    Hi, I have Snow Leopard 10.6.2 and I have a similar problem. If I configure Yubnub as in the example, it works, but if I restart Quicksilver it stops working. When I look at the trigger, the text in “Search item” is not what I typed. I tried with the beta version of Quicksilver also and the behaviour is the same. Any idea on how to fix this?

  • PeiChecK

    gravatarFeb 15, 2010
    2:01 am

    same problem, the search for in the action tab doesnt exist, i have the web search module installed! please! help ;) thank you for posting this tricks.

  • iRock

    gravatarFeb 22, 2010
    11:02 am

    Hi.

    Same issue here. In Snow Leopard the trigger works fine, but if I restart QS, it stops working. I use Mac OS X v10.6.2 too.

    If someone know how to solve this issue, please tell us.

  • Kudzu

    gravatarMar 19, 2010
    10:29 pm

    Got this via trial and error. Use THREE ‘*’ instead of two in the end for the ‘Search an item’ field: qss-http://www.yubnub.org/parser/parse?command=***

    Also, make sure to check ‘enable advanced features’ in Preferences > Application.

  • Kudzu

    gravatarMar 19, 2010
    10:30 pm

    Above comment didn’t get published correctly. Use THREE stars instead of two in the end for the ‘Search an item’ field.

    Correct URL “qss-http://www.yubnub.org/parser/parse?command=***”

  • fritz

    gravatarApr 14, 2010
    4:46 am

    same here. Trigger won’t work on Snow Leopard – I came to rely so much on it on Leopard! bummer

  • fritz

    gravatarApr 14, 2010
    4:49 am

    how bizarre – just as I wrote this comment, I added a custom web search entry with the url provided in the catalog – and now the trigger works, even if I restart it! great.

  • Oliver Sumpton

    gravatarApr 20, 2010
    5:46 pm

    same here. The URL value comes up null with the search trigger after restarting Quicksilver (10.6.3). Anyone have a fix?!? This is like loosing a limb :(

  • Oliver Sumpton

    gravatarApr 23, 2010
    11:40 pm

    Think I got a fix. I still have the original trigger I set up active on another system and I was just able to manually add the trigger by coping a pasting a chunk from the old sys’s Triggers.plist

    Try the following:

    copy the code show from the following link…

    http://pastie.org/932696

    and paste it between any two dict tags

    inside your Triggers.plist file

    /Volumes/Macintosh HD/Users/YOUR USERNAME/Library/Application Support/Quicksilver/PlugIns.plist

  • Simon Dorfman

    gravatarAug 25, 2010
    9:55 pm

    Oliver, thanks for your tip. While it didn’t exactly work for me, it did lead me to my own solution. I copied the Triggers.plist from my other Mac to this one. I believe I’ve isolated the appropriate part so others can use it: http://pastie.org/1117143

    /Volumes/Macintosh HD/Users/YOUR USERNAME/Library/Application Support/Quicksilver/Triggers.plist

    The shortcut to use the trigger will now be Command-Escape. Make sure to disable Front Row from using that same trigger by going to System Preferences -> Keyboard -> Keyboard Shortcuts -> Front Row -> uncheck “Hide and show Front Row”