From LaunchBar to QuickSilver: Search Channels

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 Images Acidsearch

One of the features I love about [LaunchBar][] is it’s Search Templates: They allow you to define query templates for Search Engines, Amazon, Dictionaries … whatever service that takes the search arguments as a GET request.

[QuickSilver][], on the other hand, does not do that natively – but fortunately, there’s a great solution to that problem: [AcidSearch][].

In the words of its developer: > [AcidSearch][] is a search enhancement for Safari. It adds unlimited “Search Channels” to the Google search field.

In other words: You’re not limited to a “Google Search” in Safaris Search field anymore.

This alone is just great, I was always a little bit envious towards Firefox for their choice of search engines in the Search box. But the better part of this is, that someone programmed a [Quicksilver Plugin][] that takes these AcidSearches and makes them available in Quicksilver as well:

Hit -Space, followed by Goo, hit Space again and type your query, followed by Enter and you’ll get Googles results. It might sound complicated but it’s a lot faster than activating Safari, selecting the Search box by any means and then entering that query – especially if Safari’s not launched yet.


Of course, this whole thing has a drawback: AcidSearch knows nothing about the LaunchBar Search templates and entering all by hand can quickly become an annoying task.

Luckily, these queries are stored in Configuration.plist in the ~/Library/Application Support/LaunchBar 4/ folder. Luckily again, AcidSearch can import plists in some well defined formats as well.

With the following short snippet of XSLT, you can convert your LaunchBar Search Templates to an AcidSearch compatible `plist that can be imported. This makes your entire collection of searches available to Quicksilver as well and will save you a lot of work:

<?xml version='1.0' encoding='UTF-8'?><xsl:stylesheet version='1.0' 			   xmlns:xsl='http://www.w3.org/1999/XSL/Transform'>

<xsl:output indent="yes"/>

<xsl:template match="/"><plist version="1.0">	<array>		<string>ROOT</string>		<array>			<string>LaunchBar Import</string>			<xsl:apply-templates 			 select="//dict[child::string='ODLBSearchTemplatesRule']"/>		</array>	</array></plist></xsl:template>

<xsl:template match="dict">	<xsl:for-each select="array/dict">		<xsl:variable name="prefix">			<xsl:value-of 			 select="substring-before( 			  child::string[preceding-sibling::key='templateURL'], 			  '*')"/>		</xsl:variable>		<xsl:variable name="suffix">			<xsl:value-of 			 select="substring-after( 			  child::string[preceding-sibling::key='templateURL'], 			  '*' )"/>		</xsl:variable>		<dict>			<key>key</key>			<string></string>			<key>name</key>			<string>			<xsl:value-of 			 select="child::string[preceding-sibling::key='name']"/>			</string>			<key>prefix</key>			<string><xsl:value-of select="$prefix"/></string>			<key>shortcut</key>			<string></string>			<key>suffix</key>			<string><xsl:value-of select="$suffix"/></string>		</dict>	</xsl:for-each></xsl:template></xsl:stylesheet>

If you download [lb2acid.xsl][], you can convert your own Configuration.plist and import it in AcidSearch. The imported SearchChannels will be available under “LaunchBar Import”, this way, you can more easily find and change/remove them if needed.

You’ll have to execute the following command in the Terminal, in the directory where you downloaded lb2acid.xsl:

xsltproc -o ~/Desktop/LaunchBar.plist lb2acid.xsl ~/Library/Application Support/LaunchBar 4/Configuration.plist

Or, if you don’t want to download the XSL file and just be lazy:

xsltproc -o ~/Desktop/LaunchBar.plist http://mycvs.org/wp/wp-content/lb2acid.xsl ~/Library/Application Support/LaunchBar 4/Configuration.plist

(You’ll have to enter the command on one line, obviously!)

If you do not have the xsltproc tool on your Mac, you might want to dowload it from the Mac OS X [LibXSLT][] port page. It’s available for free and makes a good addition to your system if you plan to tinker with XML/XSLT :)

[Ecto]: http://www.kung-foo.tv/ecto/index.php[PulpFiction]: http://freshlysqueezedsoftware.com/products/pulpfiction/ [NetNewsWire]: http://ranchero.com/netnewswire/ [WordPress]: http://wordpress.org [El Reg]: http://theregister.co.uk[Job]: /2004/08/16/problem-solver-for-hire/ [AcidSearch]: http://www.pozytron.com/?acidsearch [Quicksilver]: http://quicksilver.blacktree.com “Quicksilver”[Quicksilver Plugin]: http://quicksilver.blacktree.com/plugins.php “Quicksilver Plugins”[LaunchBar]: http://obdev.at/products/launchbar/ “LaunchBar”[lb2acid.xsl]: http://mycvs.org/wp/wp-content/lb2acid.xsl[LibXSLT]: http://www.zveno.com/open_source/libxml2xslt.html

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