IE7 beta 2 and OpenSearch Autodiscovery

I’m on holiday this week, so it’s giving me a chance to catch up on things.

I bit the bullet last night and installed IE7 beta 2 on my laptop — partly to see if all of our library web sites work okay, but mostly to see how it handles RSS and OpenSearch.

After a virtual prod a couple of weeks ago from Richard Wallis @ Talis, I added an OpenSearch interface to our OPAC (webcat.hud.ac.uk/OpenSearch.xml).  The ability to then use the a9.com site to do a MetaLib-like cross search of multiple resources (e.g. Wikipedia and the OPAC) is a pretty cool feature, especially if you’re doing research — just bring up an article from Wikipedia and you get to see relevant library holdings at the same time:

I also added the following OpenSearch Autodiscovery link to the <head> section of the catalogue pages:

<link rel="search"
     type="application/opensearchdescription+xml"
    title="Huddersfield Uni"
     href="http://webcat.hud.ac.uk/OpenSearch.xml" />

Thanks to the Autodiscovery link, IE7 detects that OpenSearch is available for our OPAC and changes the little drop-down icon in the toolbar search box from blue to orange:

Clicking on the drop-down gives a couple of extra options, including one to “Add Search Providers” which allows you to select “Huddersfield Uni”:

You need to then confirm and decide whether or not you want it to be the default search:

Once that’s done, “Huddersfield Uni” has been added to the list of search options:

When you run a search (e.g. for “php”), IE7 renders it in the same way as other RSS feeds:

At that point, you can subscribe to the feed and get it to periodically run the search again.  Another cool option is that you can type further keywords into the search box (e.g. “xml”) to filter the results to just the 3 titles that match both “xml” and “php”:

All in all, I’m pretty impressed with the way IE7 handles RSS and OpenSearch!

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3 comments
  1. Nice to see some new OpenSearches taking advantages of IE7, not just with HTML output.

    Once nice thing is that you can use the search dropdown to search a site without having to add it to your providers. One of these days I’m gonna finally get IE7 😉

    Btw, you might as well add an HTML output (I presume there is one) to your OpenSearch Description; just remember that IE7 uses whichever comes first (HTML or RSS/Atom) in the OS Description.

  2. Davey P said:

    Thanks for that Michael!

    I’ve now added HTML and XML (via REST) to our OpenSearch Description 🙂

    Now I just need to get around to adding an RSS feed to the keyword search result pages in the OPAC!

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