Q: What is a search plugin?
A: A search plugin is a file which adds a search provider, e.g. Google, to the toolbar search box in IE, the search bar in Firefox or the address bar in Google Chrome.
Q: What is a GET and a POST search?
A: GET and POST are different ways in which web browsers send information across the web, usually used when submitting information via forms on web pages. A GET request can be identified by a '?' added to the end of a URL, with a POST request no '?' is appended, after submitting a form. GET and POST requests are specified in the HTTP protocol.
Q: Which web browsers are compatible with OpenSearch based search plugins?
A: IE (from version 7), Firefox (from version 2), Google Chrome and Arora (there maybe others I am not aware of, if you find another one then let me know) are all compatible with these search plugins. Firefox also has its own search plugin format called MozSearch which is based upon the OpenSearch format.
Q: If I create a search plugin can I edit / delete it at a later stage?
A: If you are a registered user then you can login and edit / delete search plugin(s) which you have created by clicking the letter 'E' or 'D' next to the search plugin name. If you have created a search plugin and you are not a registered user then you can register, login and take control of a search plugin by clicking the letter 'T' next to the search plugin name, you can then edit / delete that search plugin.
Q: A search plugin doesn't work what can I do?
A: You can either click on the letter 'R' next to the search plugin name to report it as broken or, you can register and login then take control of the plugin - if it hasn't been created by a registered user - and edit it to fix it yourself.
Q: Are all the search plugins I create available in the public list?
A: If you create a search plugin as an unregistered user then it will always appear in the public list. If you register then you can create private search plugins which only you can see once logged in.
Q: Where can I get IE, Firefox or Google Chrome from?
A: IE, Firefox and Google Chrome are now available to download. IE can be downloaded from the Microsoft website (Windows XP, Vista and Windows Server 2003 only), Firefox can be downloaded from Mozilla.com and Google Chrome can be downloaded from Google.
Q: How do I add searchplugins to my website?
A: There are two ways of adding a search plugin to your website, both will let someone install a search plugin in their web browser:
<a href="#" title="[search plugin name]" onclick="window.external.AddSearchProvider('[URL of search plugin file]')">[search plugin name]</a>"
- The second is via autodiscovery using the link tag which should go in the head of your HTML document:
<link rel="search" type="application/opensearchdescription+xml" title="[search plugin name]" href="[URL of search plugin file]"/>
Where you replace [search plugin name] with the name of the search plugin and [URL of search plugin file] with the web address of the search plugin. If you wish to use a search plugin you have created on searchplugins.net, you need to find the plugin by searching the plugin list. Once you have the plugin click on the 'S' to the left of the plugin name, this will show you the source code for that plugin, you can then copy the URL from your browser's address bar and replace [URL of search plugin file] with it.
Q: Why are you using tags rather than a strict classification system?
A: I don't want to get bogged down in the semantics of what category a search plugin belongs to, or having too categories which are too general, or splitting the categories up into ever small sub-categories. It is far easier, and sensible, to allow search plugin authors the freedom to choose their own categories for their search plugins. I also feel using the tag system gives a website more of a community feel, rather than a strict 'one person' in charge feel. The only guidance I would give is to include, at least, a language or country tag if the search plugin is specific to a particular region of the world
Q: Isn't the website favicon / default search plugin icon similar to the feed icon?
A: Yes. The icon has been taken, with permission, from DeWitt Clinton's blog entry on the subject of an autodiscovery icon, similar to the Firefox feed icon which has been adopted by the web community, in which he wishes to standardise an OpenSearch autodiscovery icon. Any suggestions or comments on the icon can be directed to the relevant blog entry. Of course the icon may change over time.