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Smooth Operator

I’ve seen the future of web browsing, and it is Operator. Well at least when it comes to microformatted and (potentially other kinds of) structured and meta data. I think it is really exciting.

Operator, by IBM’s Michael Kaply is a Firefox Extension, which adds a toolbar that enables actions on the microformatted content in a page.
Operator has two modes – an “Actions” mode and a format mode.

In the Actions mode, Operator presents you with options based largely on services like Flickr, Techorati, Google Calendar, and

operator in actions mode

This is the Operator toolbar in “Actions Mode”. The page has 1 hCard, and three reltags.

If I click the Flickr, or Technorati buttons, I get a menu which lets me find all photos at Flickr, posts at Technorati, or delicioused resources which have been tagged with one of these three tags.

If you have hCalendar content, in this mode you can add it (including individual events on a page) to Google Calendar.

I think that the GEO data to Google Maps action isn’t working yet, but that will be really sweet when it is up and running. At least I tried a couple of what I am pretty sure are valid GEO microformats, but Operator thinks they aren’t.

There is also a format mode, with a different toolbar (you choose the mode you want by clicking the options button on the far right of the toolbar)

operator in formats mode

This actually presents more options per format.

To get a sense of what’s possible, with contacts you can

operator hCard actions menu

I’m not sure whether live clipboard actually does anything yet (my bad), but this gives a sense of the kinds of actions that are available, and I am sure additional ones will be relatively easily added (AFAIK, this is the first version, and for that it is already nice looking and quite sophisticated).
Similarly, the events menu lets you export the event to an iCalendar supporting desktop app (like iCal on Mac OS X, or Entourage on Windows), or export to Google or Yahoo! Calendar, or to go to the web page for that event as marked up in the hCalendar microformat.

For reviews, you can add a bookmark or search Yahoo! or Google for the item (I’m sure we’ll see searching at shopping comparison sites for the item soon), while with Tags, you an look for delicious bookmarks, Flickr photos, Technorati indexed posts or events at Upcoming using that tag.

“Sure I’m a geek, but that’s Cool”

Sure I'm a geek, but that's Cool

It is even really useful for debugging you microformats – there is an option to show invalid microformats, and it will even report why the microformat is invalid – for example a hReview with no required item.

This ties in very nicely with what Alex Faaborg has been writing about microformats and their support in Firefox 3.

Wonderful work Michael, and go and get and install this now – this link will install in Firefox

[tags]microformats, operator, IBM, Firefox[/tags]

{ 3 } Comments

  1. Alex Faaborg | December 16, 2006 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the kind words.

    >I’m not sure whether live clipboard actually does anything yet (my bad)

    Not your bad, Microsoft’s bad. You can now copy stuff to Live Clipboard, and perhaps in a couple of years you will be able to paste it somewhere :)

    Supporting copy while basically no one else supports paste is more than a little silly. Also, I am not sure if we should be encouraging the Live Clipboard interaction model, since I personally believe it is inferior to Operator’s goal oriented UI. But we want to be as open and interoperable as possible, and that means Live Clipboard support.


  2. john | December 17, 2006 at 12:30 am | Permalink

    Thanks for clarifying that Alex.


  3. Carlos Eduardo | December 18, 2006 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    It’s very important to “microformat’s movement”.

    I think it will make more and more developers to adopt microformats.

{ 2 } Trackbacks

  1. [...] I picked up on this over at Microformatique, Mozilla Labs have released a Firefox extension called Operator with wide support for common Microformats and integration with the regular Web 2.0 pantheon of Flickr,, etc. [...]

  2. [...] So far, the response has been great. Here are some posts from LouderVoice blog, microformatique, wizardishungry/blog,, pixelsebi’s repository (in German), and Not So Relevant. [...]

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