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Creating a Google-like toolbar


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#1 altyfc

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Posted 04 February 2003 - 06:58 PM

Has anyone here ever created a toolbar, like Google's or Alexa's...? This is something I'm interested in exploring so if anyone's ever dabbled with it, please let me know...!

Paul

#2 Black_Knight

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Posted 04 February 2003 - 09:19 PM

We were discussing http://www.iebar.com/ recently, which may be what you are looking for. Not everyone was too impressed with the software as I recall, in that it wasn't very intuitive and was a little restrictive to use. However, that was on initial testing and discussions, so it may be better once you've gotten to grips with its nuances.

#3 chris

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Posted 05 February 2003 - 04:39 AM

altyfc, without details of what you want the toolbar to do it's hard to advise. Essentially it's not easy to create an IE toolbar, which is why not everyone has one. IEBar.com (note I own it, Kim contacted me about this so I presume it's okay to say), presently lets you generate simple toolbars. It's not rocket science to use, but BK's right it's not intuitive to design the toolbars (having said that, no-one that's bought one has ever complained, probably because you only design the toolbar's once or twice and it's easier than any other option out there). There's a new version on the way (which BK will be glad to know has a very intuitive interface), but to avoid making this post in to an advert - PM me if you want details.

If you want chronically co-branded toolbars, then you could try Ultrabar. I don't like it but then as I've said I'm chronically biased (it would represent my only real competitor).

Beyond that you get to the high end of the market. If you want things like communicating with servers (like the PageRank graph does) or any special functions, you have to go with this. This gives you basically two options:

1. The Cheap option - buy Microsoft C++ if you don't already have it. Building toolbars is the kind of thing that appears easy but isn't! Find some base COM component source, read a lot about Internet Explorer's very poorly documented interfaces and code up your own. If you're an experienced programmer then you could well benefit from doing this as you can obviously do anything you want, but if you're not don't bother. (Note that one of the reasons the interface in IEBar isn't that great is that the actual toolbar code took about a year in development, and you don't get the world cheap). Essentially when your connected in to IE things don't always behave as you expect them and you need to be prepared for a lot of trial and error if you go this way.

2. Pay someone. But be prepared for it to be expensive. As soon as you introduce special features, reading data from the servers etc you start to rack up the price quickly. If you think, for example, about the Google toolbar it has embedded HTML and option screens, talking to other servers for the "PageRank" section, dynamic buttons and auto update. Each of which has to be coded, tested and security checked in an inherently instable environment (Internet Explorer! :D ). Even Google managed to miss security implications in its toolbar. So you should consider carefully before getting anyone to do this (think along the same lines as getting someone to build you a web site).

Like I said, keep in mind that I'm biased and I'm trying very hard not to make this post in to an advert :) . I'm guessing you were thinking along the lines of option 1? If so let me know if you need further details and I'll try to help. Maybe post some details of exactly what you want to make your toolbar do?

#4 altyfc

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Posted 05 February 2003 - 04:48 AM

Thank you - I shall take a look.

Paul

#5 BillSlawski

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Posted 05 February 2003 - 07:04 AM

Thanks, Chris.

Very informative post. It's not always easy to tell what kind of work goes into putting something like a toolbar together.

#6 altyfc

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Posted 05 February 2003 - 07:51 AM

Hi Chris,

Sorry - didn't see your post there when I last posted (I'm sure it wasn't there at the time, maybe due to the time it took to type).

Anyway, I think it would be helpful at this stage to state what I would like a toolbar for.

I would like a simple search box - much like Google, Alexa, etc. - that searches our search engines. But people would be able to search any one of our three search engines (AardvarkTravel.net, AardvarkSport.net and AardvarkBusiness.net) - perhaps using a drop down or radio buttons. That's probably it. I'm not bothered about any of the more advanced features that are out there (PR, etc.)

Is this likely to be a costly job if designated to a third party, or is it pretty straight forward?

Thanks

Paul

#7 chris

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Posted 05 February 2003 - 08:46 AM

It's a little bit dynamic, so done well it probably wouldn't be cheap. But not too expensive. I think ultrabar can customize the search engines you can use, but I'm not sure if that particular customizing distributes on (you might want to check it out if you're happy with their co-branding). Otherwise, check your PMs!

#8 Widget

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Posted 13 February 2003 - 06:01 PM

Hi Guys..

I did a bit of research on toolbar technology and rustled up something for my site. Check out the [www] button.

I'm not suprised that it could be quiet an expensive do as there are alot of things to take into account if one is to cover all angles. Especially when working as or with a third party.

As I was doing it myself, and having simple requirments - it all came about quiet painlessly. I'm sure I would have agonised over it a great deal more if it were for someone else.

I quiet fancy an ExplorerBar next.

#9 cvos

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Posted 05 March 2003 - 08:40 PM

You aint seen nothing yet! As toolbars go, this may be the kazza of "browser enhancements". Apparently they try to hijack traffic from search engines by intercepting searches!

www.trafficwords.com

i can only guess how long this will last, im almost tempted to download it just to see if it works.

#10 Guest_Mel_*

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Posted 05 March 2003 - 11:17 PM

Hi altyfc
Take a look at http://google-dance.com who have a search box that searches all three google URLs with the same query. Would something like this do what you want to do?

#11 BillSlawski

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Posted 07 March 2003 - 12:20 AM

Hi Cayley,

You mentioned the trafficwords plugin in another thread, too. I left an answer over there:

http://www.cre8asite...p?p=11364#11364



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