IE8 Accelerators

With the release of a much more stable IE8 (beta 1 was truly, truly awful), I am now able to actually try some of the cool things that are in IE8. One of these things are the accelerators that you can install. What this means is you could highlight some text on a page and get a little icon appear in the page giving you some options for that highlighted text:

Some of the accelerators are for searching on Google/Live Search, looking stuff up on maps, etc. Now, the cool thing is you can create your own, so I’ve created one that’s for IMDB that will look up the highlighted text on IMDB, whether it be actor/actress/movie. So using the above example, this will give you the following context menu:

This will then take you to the IMDB results, in this case, it takes me to which is Blake Lively’s IMDB page. If there are multiple people with the same name then it will give you the search results where you can choose. So how did I make it? It’s simple, head on over to the MSDN OpenService Accelerators Developer Guide and read what’s going on there. Then it’s just a case of creating your own xml file. Mine looks like this:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
        <os:name>Look up on IMDB</os:name>
        <os:description>Look up someone on IMDB</os:description>
    <os:activity category="Search">
        <os:activityAction context="selection">            
            <os:execute action=";q={selection}" />                

Now, the only thing about making your own accelerator is the xml file has to be hosted on an actual domain and be callable from http or https. I thought this would be fine, just stick it on my domain, job done. But no, my host (1and1) seems to not be letting me access my ftp server, so I was stuck. Then I remembered good ol’ Windows Live. So both the xml file, and a simple html file are now both hosted on my SkyDrive area so you can install from there.

Feel free to leave any comments or problems with it 🙂


Whilst writing this, I was listening to Def LeppardPromises

  1. #1 by David on August 31, 2008 - 10:01 pm

    Many thanks for this guide – very useful. Accelerator\’s are a great feature and you have made them very accessible!
    Inspired by you, I\’ve created a "Send to Twitter" accelerator. Comments welcome, but it works rather nicely for me!

  2. #2 by Frank on September 1, 2008 - 3:19 pm

    Thanks for inspiring me! I have adopted your idea with the german IMDB for german speakers.
    The only thing i wonder about is, why you can left out the closing code </os:execute> as it is described in the tutorial and it still works?

  3. #3 by Scott on September 3, 2008 - 10:42 am

    @Frank: it\’s because the os:execute tag still got closed. You see at the end it finishes with />, that\’s the "closing tag" for a tag that has no data in it.
    @David Sim: Nice 🙂 Have twittered it 🙂

  4. #4 by on March 18, 2009 - 9:51 am


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