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With all the hype and user interfaces of Web 2.0, it seems ridiculous to go back to the old fashioned command line. Ask a geek and you will always find that he prefers the keyboard over the mouse simply because its “the damn fastest way” to work.

For our dear readers who are back in time from Year 2050’s multitouch interfaces and voice recognitions and don’t remember what a command line is, I would like to remind them that the command line is the allegedly boring but the all powerful geeky way to work, where you write commands and your system says, “yes master I will do it!” (of course it can say bad command or filename too!).

Nevertheless what we are going to show are web command lines which are powerful for sure, but not a bit boring! Have a look:

First up bringing such features to the web is Yubnub. But wait. Don’t count out the Web 2.0 effect just yet because Yubnub not only offers you a command line (or box), but it also offers you a “social command line”. We will see what it means in just a moment. First let’s have a look around Yubnub.

As soon as you reach Yubnub you are greeted with a search box thingy! This my friends is your “Command Line for the Web”. It lets you search, convert, download, play … and do lots of other things usin simple 1-3 letter commands. It’s like a Google Search box on steroids. You will see some popular (not common) commands listed below the box. Lets see what you can do with the Yubnub command line. Take a deep breath – this is going to be a long list.

  • Search Google, Yahoo, eBay, Flickr
  • Get stock quotes
  • Get news from CNN, BBC, this and that
  • Search music
  • Get meanings of words
  • Get a thesaurus
  • Search Wikipedia
  • Generate a random number
  • Play games
  • Generate Sudoku puzzles
  • Perform a Who is query
  • Get Java Classes documentation
  • Do a reverse lookup of phone numbers
  • Strip off images, css and javascript from a web page
  • Find a username and password for a site
  • Search movies
  • Get Torrent files
  • Create ASCII art
  • Convert between units
  • Convert currencies
  • Open up a RSS feed in Google Reader
  • Translate text from one language to another
  • Get weather forecasts
  • Digg articles
  • Search your mail
  • Create mashup of yubnub commands
  • And
  • And
  • …..

I give up. There are thousands of commands. Let’s now move on to the social aspect of YubNub. YubNub allows you to create your own commands and let’s you use the commands created by others so there is practically no limit to the number of commands and what you can do with them. You can view the most commonly used commands.

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Not only this but you can install addons or tweak your browser (almost all browsers are supported) so that you can use YubNub irrespective of the web page you are on. You can also find community created widgets for your operating system on this page so as to improve your YubNub experience and get the truly command line experience!

You can also view what people have been up to by looking at the most popular commands. Also some of the commands are called Golden Eggs which means the commands people find particularly useful and interesting.

In case you are still wondering why the hell its called YubNub, then first of all be aware these are the Web 2.0 days and you can never trust the names.

Lets start with some fun. Here is a list of my favorite YubNub commands:

pod – searches podcasts
flkall – displays flickr pics with tags
url – converts a yubnub command to a URL
explode – Explodes a string to an array in xml, xoxo, or json
php – php function look up
muo – you know what it does!
techCrazy – Searches my blog!
The g, gim, a commands are common so I m not mentioning those

Bonus:

Since we are already talking about using the so called “commands” on the web, I must mention Sugarcodes here. Sugarcodes also allows you to launch, navigate, search, locate, translate, find and look up items on the web with the help of commands. Like Yubnub, Sugarcodes also has a variety of commands to offer. You can browse commands by categories and even create your own commands.

Sugarcodes has one additional feature that the commands users create are first termed “usercodes”, after some time they are upgraded to “sugarcodes” after their correctness and conformance with the policy is verified.

Navino.com is another site that offers similar functions as Yubnub but the functionality is limited to search only. You can perform a search on a number of sites and engines using the keywords from just one search box, but that’s pretty much it.

Goosh – The unofficial Google shell allows you to use various Google services via the command line. The interface in this case is the closest to the command line. Functionality and usefulness? Um….not much, given that there are hundreds of other ways to do the same things without visiting the site.

Yubnub is certainly my favourite and offers a lot of functionality. Once you get to know the commands you want (or probably create the ones you want) then its very addictive. The ability to add Yubnub to your browser makes it a sure killer and a must have to save time.

So what do you think of YubNub? Which commands do you like? Let us know the commands you created so that we can check them out.

(By) Varun Kashyap – A tech enthusiast, programmer and a blogger who invites you to visit his TechCrazy Blog

  1. Marcie Orthon
    April 6, 2009 at 10:41 am

    I use YubNub in my windows run box, and in my firefox search and location bar. I think its very useful and saves me alot of time! The commands i mostly use are 6(for myspace), Fliis(for music), yt(for youtube), and many more. I just love it!

  2. L. Mohan Arun
    January 23, 2009 at 9:21 am

    I have used Goosh before but I had not heard of the other sites. I will be trying Yubnub and Sugarcodes shortly!

  3. Zeke Sikelianos
    June 22, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    I’ve been actively developing a YubNub alternative for a while called Queriac. It’s getting pretty stable now and is ready for a bigger user base. It’s free, open source, and (IMO) far more flexible and socially provocative than WundrBar and YubNub..

    Try it at queri.ac

  4. Aibek
    June 22, 2008 at 2:59 am

    Cool review!

    I also would like to add Serchilo. I profiled it in MUO directory about a month ago.

  5. Jonathan Aquino
    June 21, 2008 at 1:18 am

    Varun - Love your exuberant review!

    Jon

    • Varun Kashyap
      June 21, 2008 at 9:56 am

      Thanks very much Jon, Glad you liked the style

  6. Jimmy Rogers
    June 21, 2008 at 12:05 am

    For the record, I created the MakeUseOf (muo) search term! Well, I had a little help from my friend, but I'm still taking the credit :P

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