My closet of web bookmarklet ninja tricks
- Readability: I read a lot of stuff on the internet. Often, I find the text on a page or article to be so badly formatted that it’s difficult to read. Readability solves this and instantly extracts the text making a single column of gorgeous, easy-to-read text before my eyes. If the article is super long or I want to read it later, I use Instapaper (see below), but for smaller, I want to read this now without all the garbage moments, Readability is a champ.
- Instapaper: Instapaper is a killer app. How many times have you found a logn article or blog post (perhaps even on this blog) that you want to read later, but you don’t really want to create a bookmark and save it? Instapaper solves that problem by extracting the text and storing it for you to read at your leisure on the instapaper site along with the entire library of articles you’ve saved. Even better, Instapaper for the iPhone/iPad downloads all these articles to your phone/tablet for reading offline in a beautiful interface. This app alone makes me seek out super long pieces to read for enjoyment. Luckily, there’s Longreads.
- Squrl and Watchlater: Instapaper for videos—what could be better? Many times I find what seems to be a useful video that I just don’t have time to watch in the moment. Squrl and Watchlater are two sites that allow you to collect videos on major video sites (they really only play nicely with YouTube and Vimeo—not your run of the mill flash based video embedded on a news site) and then watch them later on a custom video page, or on their iOS apps.
- Huffduffer: Instapaer for audio files. Occasionally, I’ll stumble upon some sort of embedded recording of an interview or lecture I’d like to hear. Huffduffer allows you to take that audio and turn it into a custom podcast feed you can susbscribe and listen to on your iPod.
- Amazon wishlist: This is a great little button that lets you add anything you find on the web to your amazon wishlist. I find it super useful for keeping a wishlist of lab equipment I’d like to purchase at some point in the future.
- Page Zipper: This bookmarklet brings an end to all those next page clicks you need to press to read mutli-page articles. When you activate page zipper it loads all the next pages and concatenates them into a single easy-scrolling webpage.
- Print Friendly: I don’t use this that often, but it makes a printer-friendly version of any webpage—stripping away ads, navigation and all clutter from a page you want to print.
- Subscribe to Google Reader: One click to add a webpage to my Google Reader feed? Yes please. In Google Reader, go to “Settings” and then the “Goodies” tab. There you will find the “subscribe” bookmarklet — right-click and drag the link into your browser’s toolbar.
- Markup.io: Markup.io lets you take a webage and draw/write all over it, and then share that edited page with anyone you like. It’s an awesome tool to give feedback on web designs, etc, but I’ve found it equally useful for giving students feedback on blog posts when I need to mark up a specific section/image.
- Edit Page: Click on this bookmarklet and you can literally type on the webpage as if it were a fully editable document. Change headlines on the NYT, delete images, whatever. As far as I know, you can really save or share your edits (other than printing as a pdf). A language teacher friend of mine said this would be an excellent tool for making small edits to foreign langauge news-papers to allow the teacher to substitute in easier vocabulary for lower level students.
- X-ray Goggles: This is an excellent new bookmarklet developed by the Mozilla Foundation that lets you see how a website is put together. Click on it and highlight a particular element and it will tell you the type of element it is (<div>,<p>,<a>,<h2>,etc). There are more powerful tools out there to do this like Firebug, but X-Ray goggles is wonderful for its simplicity and great for people who are just getting started with peeking under the hood of websites.
- Quix: Quix is the swiss army knife of bookmarklets. Activating it pops up a command line window that lets you do all sorts of things with just a few key presses: google image search, amazon search, email a link, and way more.
That’s my list. I put all of these in a bookmarks folder on my bookmarks tool bar titled “actions”, which gives me pretty easy access to activate each command. If you’ve got a super cool bookmarklet or other web ninja trick to share, I’d love to hear about it.