Integrating websites with the browser


#1

There should be APIs for integrating websites with the browser. For example, having a browser-powered “save” mechanism, that the browser can display however it wants to, and can in theory integrate with the OS on mobile - imagine searching for something on your phone and being shown a relevant reddit post you saved a year ago; this is currently not possible, but it could be possible if websites could integrate with the browser. A different but similar option would be to have a “save” HTML tag, making saving explicit and inherently user-initiated, but websites cannot sync these across browsers and instead you have to use the browser’s built-in sync features.

Anyway, I digress. So currently, we have “desktop notifications”. It’s a bit of a misnomer as they also work on mobile, but the idea is that they help integrate websites with the browser. Websites can also declare search engines to be used by the browser. Why not go a few steps further?

This would significantly improve user experience for most web users.


#2

Could you elaborate on the concept of “searching for something on your phone”? I’m not sure what that means. Do mobile OSes have something like a global search field for performing text searches across apps?


#3

They do! They can search contacts, pictures, downloads, emails, etc.

I guess Windows 10 and macOS (desktop OSes) also have that feature, but as someone who uses Linux I’m not very up-to-date on that stuff.


#4

But aren’t those in-app searches? The user can search for a name or email inside different apps, but they only get results from that app, not other apps.

On desktop, it’s a different story. On Windows, the Start menu has a search field, and on Mac, there is Spotlight, which can likewise find all kinds of things.


#5

Apparently some Linux things also integrate with the Desktop Environment’s search system, depending on the DE. (There doesn’t seem to be a standardized way to do it yet.)

From what I remember, Apple’s iOS search field is basically Spotlight. Not sure about other OSes.

Anyway, this is going a bit off-topic. The thread is about integrating websites with the browser, not the browser with OSes. :wink:


#6

Ah yes. I remembered where the search field is on iOS. I have never used it in the 3 years I own an iPhone. Apparently, it is integrated with Safari, so, for instance, browsing history is displayed in the results.

How does “saving” web pages relate to bookmarking them? What’s the added functionality?


#7

I’m not sure about the bookmarks part, but my impression is that the original poster is asking for web standardization of something like iOS universal links, which integrate with the iOS Search index, as well as Android app links, which in turn integrate with the Google Search app index. If these ever will be standardized, they probably would be dependent on existing efforts in the Web App Manifest and Web Share standards; if the original poster is not yet aware of them, they should check them out.


#8

No, I’m not looking for app links or universal links or whatever it is because that seems like just yet another ad mechanism of sorts. (visit site, get ads for site? yuck)

I’m talking about searching the user’s own content: the user’s profile, the user’s saved/bookmarked posts, the user’s own posts, boosted posts, and so on. Things that require you to be logged in, not things anyone can access.


#9

I think most of this feature can be done from a web browser address bar - for example,
when I search for my username, it shows me things from my content like profile page,
posts and some private pages that were added to browser history after logging in.

You can probably find that content with the search area on a mobile device if it includes
web browser history. Also, the app/universal links idea on Android / iOS, that can
"Seamlessly link to content inside your app", could only be useful for web apps.

  • Bookmarks: you can save the URL of a webpage for quick, simple access.
  • Saving a webpage (e.g. “reading list”): you can download it to use offline.

There’s an idea from the original post user about this:

Maybe there could be an API for this that gets the browser to ask the user
if they would like to download the webpage to their device for offline use,
something like “discourse.wicg.io would like to save this page to your reading list”.


#10

“Maybe there could be an API for this that gets the browser to ask the user if they would like to download the webpage to their device for offline use, something like “discourse.wicg.io would like to save this page to your reading list.”

It is already possible for sites or pages to save themselves for offline with service workers and the cache api.


#11
  1. Are those searchable? (can the user search them?)
  2. Are those filterable? (can the user choose which ones get searched?)

With, e.g. bookmarks, the user chooses which things get bookmarked.