BBC search plugins for Internet Explorer 7 and Firefox 2

Martin Belam  by Martin Belam, 29 June 2007

I've been going through a round of updating software since I've had my main PC hooked up to the net for the first time in 18 months. It has been a mixed bag, with some software like iTunes 7.2 misbehaving, and others working perfectly. As part of this I've finally upgraded my web browsing experience to Internet Explorer 7 and Firefox 2.

One of the things that happens when you upgrade to version 2 of Firefox is that you are offered some extra search engines to add to the drop-down search box in the browser.

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I noticed that the BBC News plugin which Mozilla offer is out of date, and still sends the user through to the BBC's old search interface.

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I thought I'd try and get a more up-to-date version from Mycroft - but again I found that the BBC plugins offered there go through to the wrong search results page.

I find it difficult to believe that nobody anywhere on the web has tried to rectify this over the year or so since the BBC re-designed their search pages. However, either my own search skills have failed me, or the lazyweb has failed me.

Either way I ended up having to make my own, so thought I should make them available on currybetdotnet.

Since Internet Explorer 7 and Firefox 2 both implement the OpenSearch standard, it should be a piece of cake to make plugins which work in both browsers. In practice, of course, they both implement slight variations on the specification, but I have, after some trial and error, made these cross-platform.

In all I have made 15 BBC related search plugins.

4 cover the different tabs available from BBC Search (All of the BBC, BBC News and Sport, BBC Audio and Video, The Web) and the specialist children's CBBC Search.

I have also made plugins for BBC Weather, and the Recipe Finder on the Food site.

Additionally there are 3 search plugins for some of the community areas on BBC.co.uk powered by DNA - h2g2, collective and The People's War.

If you are not that keen on the results you get from the BBC, I have made two Google plugins.

One returns results from anywhere on BBC.co.uk using Google UK, and the other returns results restricted to the news.bbc.co.uk domain. That covers the BBC News and BBC Sport site, as well as some programme support areas and odds'n'ends like On This Day.

There are also plugins covering two of the BBC's most popular blogs - Nick Robinson's Newslog and The Editors blog. Again, these use Google UK with results restricted to pages from the relevant area of the BBC.co.uk site.

Finally, my personal favourite, naturally, is Doctor Whoogle. This plugin searches Google UK, but only returns results from the pages of the official Doctor Who site. You would be suprised how much I use it.

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