nonstic Random snippets of mac and rails goodness

9 June 2009 @ 5pm


Custom Bookmark Shortcuts in Safari 4

Firefox has been my browser of choice for the last few years. It’s a love-hate relationship– love the extensions, hate how it eats memory, and that I can’t-for-the-life-of-me get it to play video without stuttering.

I have been using more and more of Safari lately– solid, fast, and the dev team seems committed to increasing performance and reliability, rather than just adding more features– but the thing that keeps dragging me back to Firefox are bookmark shortcuts. In Firefox, you can define a keyword for each bookmark, and then use that as a shortcut to the address.

For example, bookmark “”, and define a keyword of “down”. Now, you CMD+L to the address bar and type “down”, saving yourself 23 characters of typing each and every time you visit.

(Yes, I know you can often get away with typing less, depending on your history, recency of visit, etc. I wanted a dependable, efficient way to quickly get to an arbitrary site, that worked the exact same way, every single time. And mouse-clicking is out, because it’s way faster to keep my hands on the keyboard.)

I hadn’t found a good way to replicate this behavior in Safari. Yes, there are some hacks or for-pay add-ons that enable this, but I was looking for a solution that wouldn’t threaten the stability of Safari (i’m looking at you SIMBL), and that worked just the way I wanted.

Several months ago, I found Shaun Inman’s Shortwave project. This was almost what I was looking for. Unfortunately, opening the command window required clicking a javascript bookmarklet on your bookmark bar (or Bookmark list) which violated the “no-mouse” requirement.

I didn’t realize until today that the first nine bookmarks saved to your bookmark bar automatically have a keyboard shortcut assigned to them– from CMD+1 up to CMD+9. Bingo! I moved the “shortwave” bookmark to the beginning of my bookmark bar, and now I can get to any of my saved websites using CMD+1, <shortcut>. Shortwave allows you to define any number of custom keyboard shortcuts just by editing a text file, and saving somewhere online.


This might just be the tipping point to using Safari as my everyday browser. We’ll see.

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