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The Internet

Command Line for the Web 243

flood6 writes "SearchEngineWatch offers a look at a new method of interacting with the Internet, YubNub. This 'social command line for the web' lets users create commands that interact with websites. Currently, most of the commands apply to search, but new commands could work with any site that accepts variables passed with HTML's GET command. For example, iap moon would search the Internet Archive for all media related to 'moon'."
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Command Line for the Web

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  • by WebHostingGuy ( 825421 ) * on Monday June 20, 2005 @02:01PM (#12865021) Homepage Journal
    I like the concept, however the premise is the flaw. What I mean by this is that the social concept of letting people add their own commands is the biggest draw, but the biggest flaw. Doing a quick ls on the site reveals such choice commands on the first page:

    p Created 2005-06-20 16:21 - Description - Nominate - --does nothing

    tiki Created 2005-06-20 15:10 - Description - Nominate - [] --takes you to somone's website only

    And then of course you have the sophisticated ones:

    fuckthefucker Created 2005-06-20 12:55 - Description - Nominate - http - does nothing

    And if you try to create a legitimate command and something like "p" is already taken you are out of luck. This is why you will need someone to moderate it from time to time (this is sort of on the to do list by flagging spam commands, but it looks like they also have a potential problem with bot submissions as well). But, once you do this then you get the problem of my command is better than your command. It would be nice to see an individual implementation whereby you could store your own commands and could "share" them with others.
  • by glinden ( 56181 ) * on Monday June 20, 2005 @02:01PM (#12865022) Homepage Journal
    John Gruber wrote a great essay on this called "The Location Field is the New Command Line []". As he put it, "Web apps are just so damned easy to use ... It's all about the fact that you just type the URL and there's your email."
  • Wouldn't that also include all Internet Archive Project media featuring someone mooning you?

    I'm scared.
  • by Tx ( 96709 ) on Monday June 20, 2005 @02:02PM (#12865039) Journal
    I haven't RTFA, but the example in the summary sounds pretty much like quick searches anyway.
  • # p2p Blahsong.mp3

    • by Anonymous Coward
      $ php Blahsong.mp3

      i never p2p as root

      ps, shove the okmmrfj up your ass taco
  • toolbar (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MankyD ( 567984 ) on Monday June 20, 2005 @02:05PM (#12865066) Homepage
    This would seem to have more worth if it was done with a plugin/toolbar. Right now, it requires that I switch to my address bar, type in, wait for it to load, switch to the form input, and type in my command.

    Much better if one could skip straight to the command part.
  • by StressGuy ( 472374 ) on Monday June 20, 2005 @02:05PM (#12865069)
    I know, bad geek humor, but it does kinda seem like a throwback to gopher.

  • AWESOME! (Score:5, Funny)

    by mister_llah ( 891540 ) on Monday June 20, 2005 @02:06PM (#12865074) Homepage Journal
    Now we can have old style Sierra adventures combined with the joy of Internet graphics...


    "Ok! You got it."

    "You die." ...

    blast, I was never very good at these games.
    • > Get up

      You can't get up. It's dark.

      > Turn on light

      You turn on the light.

      > Get up

      While you were screwing around a big, yellow bulldozer came crashing through your house and killed you.

      Play Again? (Y/N)
      #$@$#$@ing Game! I hate these command line things!
    • Re:AWESOME! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dstewart ( 853530 )
      >use LAMP
      That does nothing. It appears you have IIS.

      It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.
    • Re:AWESOME! (Score:5, Funny)

      by Hogwash McFly ( 678207 ) on Monday June 20, 2005 @02:48PM (#12865497)
      > press button
      I'm sorry, I do not know how to 'press'

      > push button
      I'm sorry, I do not know how to 'push'

      > click button
      I'm sorry, I do not know how to 'click'

      > touch button
      I'm sorry, I do not know how to 'touch'

      > activate button with long stick
      I'm sorry, you do not have a long stick in your inventory

      > exit this piece of shit command line
      I'm sorry, I can't let you do that.
  • Please stop trying to make the web do things that there are much better-suited alternatives for. Wouldn't this be so much more usable and efficient as a perl or similar script/library, that you could use not only to get things manually but as part of a greater program?
  • Like another poster has mentioned, this does indeed sound like an extension of the "location field" as the command line. However, I can imagine some pretty interesting inventions, if you could take the output of one of these commands and, like the typical command line, pipe them into another program or web application. Even better would be web applications that could recognize the piped output for what it was.

    Imagine the following, running as a cronjob:

    " --check | gmail 'Cool Lin
  • They probably meant HTTP GET, rather than HTML GET.
    (Hyper Text Transport Protocol)
    (Hyper Text Markup Language)
    See the difference?
  • I haven't RTFA either, but am I the only one who sees this being a terrific tool for all kinds of pandemonium on shoddy (i.e. amateur) Web sites?
  • It needs some sort of namespaces. An example: moon

    To do the moon search in the example. This will solve the problem of people fighting over command names.

    But it still isn't going to work because the number of possible commands is going to grow to such a point that no one will remember what command to use! When I use bash and tab complete on "x", I get 119 possible completions. With this command line, type "com." and you get thousands of possible completions. Maybe it will be sucess
  • More... (Score:4, Informative)

    by flood6 ( 852877 ) on Monday June 20, 2005 @02:07PM (#12865095) Homepage Journal
    I didn't realize it when I submitted the story, but yubnub was created by Jon Aquino [] who recently appeared in /. for his K'nexis Keyboard []. Also yubnub is developed in the /. darling Ruby on Rails and was Jon's entry into the 2004 Rails Day [].

    You can see some more of Jon's gadgets here [].

  • Expand it! (Score:5, Funny)

    by caudron ( 466327 ) on Monday June 20, 2005 @02:08PM (#12865106) Homepage
    Maybe we could expand it to all parts in the Internet. Then people could do cool stuff like check their mail at the prompt, read newsgroups at the prompt, maybe even read each others blogs at the prompt. Hey, we could call it "telnet" or something really catchy. This is just crazy enough to work, guys! Who's with me?

    I'm starting my CLI-accessable blog right away. I'm gonna call it the "Finger".

    Ain't progress grand?
    • I am going to expand on your CLI-accessible blog to only provide the blogs from the middle of the page.

      I will call it the "Middle Finger".

  • Not to be pedantic, but the GET request belongs to HTTP, not to HTML. HTML is a fixed file format that can be transported across any medium, including NFS/FTP/SMB. HTTP is a transport protocol that allows some amount of negotiation between file and server, and it's possible to use completely separately from HTML in some cases.

  • www.*> rm -rf /*
  • I want a REGEX web search. Can't think of an example off the top of my head, but there have been many times that I've wanted one for extra control.
  • XMLTerm (Score:3, Informative)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Monday June 20, 2005 @02:10PM (#12865132) Homepage Journal
    The best version of this concept that I saw was XMLTerm []. It's a graphical CLI, in a web page. It's ideally suited to be a CLI for websites, as well as a website implementing a CLI. It was ahead of its time, and went down the drain when the bubble popped. On purely "zeitgeist" problems - it appears to be technically sound. If there's interest, and effort, in this kind of app now, it will be much better to pick up this orphaned OSS project, than to reinvent it.
  • social (Score:2, Insightful)

    Is "social" the new overused buzzword of the week?
  • by aardwolf204 ( 630780 ) on Monday June 20, 2005 @02:13PM (#12865162)
    I for one welcome our new CLI web overlords...

    Now that that's been taken care of, I'd like to say that this is an interesting idea. As a sysadmin I spend a lot of time in a terminal and though this has not been integrated into the terminal yet, the idea of being able to run a web search through a command line interface makes me happy.

    I can just imagine:

    $ google -5 "firefox ftp download"

    1. Index of /pub/

    2. Index of /pub/

    3. - fireftp: index

    4. : Firefox FTP Client 2005/05/08/firefox-ftp-client/

    5. Neil's World - FTP Uploads in Firefox Sep/01/ftp_uploads_in_firefox.html

    $ ftp


    Now what would be even cooler: You know the console from all the first person shooter games like Quake and Half-Life. Really simple, just hit Tilda and it slides down the top third of the screen. The quake 3 one even has some nifty open GL moving background. Anyway, my point is, how come to get a console in Windows I have to hit WIN+R, "CMD", [Enter]. Not fair. I've searched near and far and havent found any such console for Windows or Linux.

    If a fellow slashdotter could point me in the right direction I would greatly apreciate it. I know this is a good idea, and I know I'm not the only one who would love such a program. It would be so nice to simply hit ~, run your ipconfig command, then ~ again and go back to what you were doing.

    • by poot_rootbeer ( 188613 ) on Monday June 20, 2005 @03:01PM (#12865649)
      how come to get a console in Windows I have to hit WIN+R, "CMD", [Enter].

      Well, you could always set up a keyboard shortcut that launched CMD.EXE -- I've got mine mapped to CTRL-ALT-S. I also keep shortcut icons to my Windows and Cygwin shells in the Quick Launch dock, for more easy access.

      The more important aspect of your feature request, though, is to make the shell itself dockable: the command line stays out of the way, you call it up only for as long as you need it, and then it hides itself again. I'd like to see someone implement such a feature, too.
      • Right on, a timeout period would be really nice, but I'm sure it could be annoying at some times to. Maybe if it became 50% transparent before completely disapearing it would be nice, then if you were writing something down from the console and it started to go you could hit a key to keep it up. who knows. Anyway, I really really want this and CTRL-ALT-S just isnt the same and you all know it.
    • 'd like to say that this is an interesting idea. As a sysadmin I spen

      As a sysadmin, you should know better. Back in the days we just used lynx to search for files. Twas nice. Now the new generation despises the cli, then reinvetns the wheel by doing some bastardized mockup of a never-to-be cli which one uses thourhg browsers... hell of a day. I always welcome bright new ideas that enhance everyday people's computer and web experience. This, I find absolutely useless, a way of spreading
      • not dispising the cli, started on it, will end on it. not trying to bastardize the cli, just bling it up a bit al la quake 3.

        In quake 3 I would get shot dead, realize it was because of some lag problem, hit tilda and throw a command at it, hit tilda again, and get back to gaming like it never happened.

        Thats what I use the console for, something up, I need to run a few commands, fix the problem, and get back to work.

        And no, I'm not a big fan of this social keyword thingy either, it seems like a lame
    • We've had a command line version of Google queries in BeOS/Haiku for some time now.

      François Revol coded up [] what he called "Google File System" (this was back in dec/2004) and hooked it into BeOS queries that return NetPositive bookmarks.

      As for hitting the tilde key, that is also possible with Spicy Keys [], which allows one to map any key combination to cli scripts, binaries, etc.

      Just some of the neat things one can do with Haiku/BeOS these days.

    • It exists for linux: Tilda [] And also you could setup eterm in almost anyway you want... Don't know about Windows...
  • by bnitsua ( 72438 ) on Monday June 20, 2005 @02:14PM (#12865166)
    if you do an ls of available commands, a lot of the commands are advertisements for blogs.
  • by Otto ( 17870 ) on Monday June 20, 2005 @02:14PM (#12865170) Homepage Journal
    The only advantage of this is that it's collaborative... and as other users have pointed out, quite a lot of the commands on the site are crap and need moderation of some sort.

    But your browser has this built in already.

    -If you use IE, you can set up these type of search shortcuts using TweakUI.
    -If you use Firefox/Mozilla, you can create bookmarks that implement these sort of shortcuts. There's some examples in your bookmarks menu when you first install Firefox, just look at those for how to do it.

    In both cases, after creating them, you can just type "shortcut search terms" in the address to make it do that "search". Doesn't have to be a search of course, it can be any kind of HTTP GET that you want. I have several defined..
    -g for quick googling
    -imdb for movie lookups
    -imdbq for movie quote lookups
    -snpp to search the simpsons archives..
    -And so on. ;)
  • YubNub? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 20, 2005 @02:14PM (#12865173)
    Yub nub, eee chop yub nub,
    toe meet toe pee chee keene, g'noop dock fling oh ah.
    Yah wah, eee chop yah wah,
    toe meet toe pee chee keene, g'noop dock fling oh ah
    Coat ee chah tu yub nub,
    Coat ee chah tu yah wah,
    Coat ee chah tu glo wah.
    allay loo ta nuv
    Glo wah, eee chop glo wah, ya glo wah pee chu nee foam,
    ah toot dee awe goon daa.
    Coat ee cha tu goo (Yub nub!)
    coat ee cha tu doo (Yah wah!)
    coat ee cha tu too (ya chaa!)
    allay loo tu nuv (3 times)
    Glo wah, eee chop glo wah.
    Ya glow wah pee chu nee foam,
    ah toot dee awe goon daa
    allay loo tu nuv.
  • It sounds like something an Ewok would say.

  • by prgrmr ( 568806 ) on Monday June 20, 2005 @02:15PM (#12865184) Journal
    Lynx, archie, veronica, gopher, ping, traceroute, whois, nslookup... sound familiar to anyone else?
  • They need a 'filter the stupid stuff' applied real quick or this will be relegated to the dustbin of the web. Really, the balance between 'needs clever users' vs results is too skewed.

    Does kinda make sense, I just saw a 'VC blog' with the question: 'is the bubble back'.

    Dream on.

    Buy tulips.
  • I can't find a single practical use for this. Nor do I find it very intuitive at all. Call me *old fashioned* but things were fine the way they were.

    If you need me I'll be over at this sane website...
  • I suppose it shouldn't be a surprise that this is going on. Many have long preferred the CLI for interacting with applications. The web is undergoing a change from a medium for simply displaying information and become more of a protocol for client/server web applications. Is it any wonder that as the universe of web apps grows, that people want CLI utilities to communicate with them?

    It's nothing new. We've been running finger, whois, nslookup and so on from the CLI for ages; these are utilities that could
  • Konqueror has this (Score:4, Informative)

    by infolib ( 618234 ) on Monday June 20, 2005 @02:21PM (#12865252)
    With support for Google, Wikipedia, Leo german dictionary, CPAN and many others. Just type wiki: whatever in the address bar to search Wikipedia for "whatever". I went from knowing jack about these "web shortcuts" to creating my own in five minutes. (Just copy and modify existing ones)

    Oh, and you can also use the address bar to ssh for your files (fish:) or get the images of your camera (digikam:). Bow to the power of the KIOslave framework!

  • Rails (Score:3, Informative)

    by Tobias Luetke ( 707936 ) on Monday June 20, 2005 @02:25PM (#12865281)
    I think its worth mentioning that YubNub was created for the RailsDay. A one day Ruby on Rails coding contest which was featured in the developer section of slashdot a week or so ago.
    Its not the pinnacle of complexity but its still amazing what you can do in just a day. Hats off the the programmer.
  • [] has a similar feature under expert search [] except that it is not collaborative.
  • Built into Firefox (Score:5, Interesting)

    by That's Unpossible! ( 722232 ) * on Monday June 20, 2005 @02:31PM (#12865341)
    Just bookmark any page that is from a GET query. E.g. an IMDB search for "Batman Begins" gives you this: egins []

    Modify the properties of the bookmark, replacing "batman%20begins" with %s. This is a placeholder.

    Give the bookmark a keyword, such as "imdb."

    Now you can type "imdb X" in the url bar in firefox, hit enter, and it will do a search for whatever you enter for "X." Much easier than using

    I have bookmark searches setup for all kinds of stuff. Whois, nslookup, tracert, imdb, dictionary, gg (google groups), gi (google image), gm (google maps), yyp (Yahoo Yellow Pages), the list goes on and on. Any URL that accepts query words will work for you.

    • by SYRanger ( 590202 )
      It's actually even better than this manual %s-approach. Right-click on an input-field prior to search, and "bookmark this search" and add a keyword to it. This manual %s-process was integrated like this since 1.0 I think, but still works though.
  • slashdot (Score:3, Funny)

    by bodester17 ( 892112 ) on Monday June 20, 2005 @02:32PM (#12865355)
    they should add a command where you can slashdot a site at will. Let the melting of servers begin!!
  • <HTML>
    <BODY BGCOLOR="#000000" text="#FFFFFF">
    <FONT face="sans-serif">C:\><BLINK>_</BLINK></FONT>
  • We already have short GETs -- add a firefox bookmark with a %s in the url, give it a keyword, then see as you can type "keyword arg" into the address bar and have it expanded. Now we just need web services to come up with sensible arg names~
  • by Urban Garlic ( 447282 ) on Monday June 20, 2005 @02:35PM (#12865386)
    The K desktop environment has things called "KIOslaves" which recognize certain pseudo-protocols on the Konqueror location bar (and other places).

    Internet examples include "deb:" for Debian package searches, "rf:" for rpmfind, "gg:" for Google, "ggl:" for Google-I-feel-lucky, and "rfc:" for getting RFC text from the IETF website, and "wp:" for Wikipedia. There are lots of these.

    Non-internet examples include "man:" for viewing man pages, and "info:" for viewing those otherwise horrible GNU info pages.
  • Sorry, I could not resist.

    Just try the "recursive" command :)
  • Vaguely along these lines, I've had a desire for a while for screen scraping type work. There are small bits of info I want to grab from multiple web pages and combine them into a single page. Further complicating the issue, there may be POSTDATA and cookie files I need to provide, possibly with different versions of a single cookie file.

    Is this possible without full-on progamming?
  • Yeah, because "Interface Design by Committee" has worked so well in the past. One only needs to look at the W3C to see how the interface design by committee leads to a cluster fuck. Now throw into the committee every person that has an internet connection.

    I'll wait for the sequel.

  • Take a look at our good'ol friend Google:

    Take a look at operators: []
  • It would be so cool if I could type:
    "gg:String" and get the google search results on String.
    "ggl:Blah" and go directly to the first match!

    Or even add my own commands, all from my very own control center!
  • I wrote a little blog entry on searching YubNub via the command-line in MSH []:

    ## search-yubnub.msh
    ## Search yubnub from your Monad shell
    ## For help, use "search-yubnub ge"

    ## Load the System.Web assembly
    [void] [Reflection.Assembly]::LoadWithPartialName("System .Web")

    $url = "{0}" -f [System.Web.HttpUtility]::UrlEncode($args)
    [Diagn ostics.Process]::Start($url)

  • I was hoping it would be something like this [] - something I cooked up long ago for
  • VUE is building a command-line version of Counterstrike. Below are some of the transcripts from games played online.

    [Ding dang dong]
    Player 1: I hate smoke grenades
    Player 2: pwnz0rd!
    Player 1 (Spectator): Wallhax!

    Elsewhere, Kazaa has developed a command-line version of its file download capabilities:

    "GET AmericanIdiot.mp3"
    [Duh duh-duh DUH duh-duh duh duh-duh duh duh]
    "Don't wanna be an American Idiot..."

  • by rduke15 ( 721841 ) < minus berry> on Monday June 20, 2005 @03:38PM (#12865926)
    I have been using Perl for years to do simple command line scripts to extract information from web sites. From foreign exchange rates, to looking up owners/addresses of incoming phone numbers, or abreviated weather forecasts or train schedules.

    I began when my old laptop took too long to start a web browser. But even though I now always have a web browser window open, typing "xchange 1432 EUR" is still much faster and simpler than navigating to the appropriate web site and filling in forms.

    I'm actually surprised to see such an idea posted here as news. I thought that anybody who knows some scripting has always been doing this sort of thing.

    Of course, Perl is ideal for this sort of thing, with regular expressions and all the CPAN modules (LWP::Simple, and dozens of others more specialized).
  • This hack converts the Google search field built in to Safari into a YubNub search/"command line" field.

    Close Safari. Open this file in a hex editor such as HexEdit, or open it in vi if you know how to use vi: /Applications/

    after creating backup of the file for just-in-case, replace the ASCII string: []

    with this ASCII string: []

    For this hack I used this hint [].
  • Everything [] and [] their [] mom [] is [] going "social" these days. Doesn't anyone just want to be left alone any more?
  • Isn't this just command-line XML-RPC?

    Why not simply build a command line tool that leverages what developers have already in place?
  • by rduke15 ( 721841 ) < minus berry> on Monday June 20, 2005 @04:00PM (#12866169)
    I had a look at the site. What is it that is new and/or interesting in this? I went to the "golden eggs []" page, which is supposed to list the most interesting commands. What I see there falls into one of 2 categories:

    - a complicated way of executing a normal shell command (di ("Domain (WHOIS) Information using") seems to do exactly the same as a modern whois [], ipinfo-url looks like a a lame version of host [], etc.),


    - it does the same as adding a search engine [] to your Firefox search bar.

    Have I missed something?

"I have not the slightest confidence in 'spiritual manifestations.'" -- Robert G. Ingersoll