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View Full Version : visited URLs list flawed


furrball
2006-08-01, 12:27 PM
Hi everyone,
is it just me or is the visited URL list and auto-completion flawed? When switching from safari I often typed in URLs that were too short, and OmniWeb remembered them all; now I can't even use auto-completion because the list is full of false entries.

It would be easy to just save those urls that were successfully loaded, wouldn't it?

Forrest
2006-08-01, 12:34 PM
I agree .

Len Case
2006-08-01, 05:44 PM
Can someone describe the problem a bit better--are you saying that you don't want errors to be added to history, or just to the autocompletion...

I believe that you can delete the false entries from your history and they won't cause you problems anymore.

Forrest
2006-08-01, 05:58 PM
Basically, type in omnigroupie.com You get a "can't find host." Now open a new window and type omni and you'll see omnigroupie.com listed.

IMHO, entries that resulted in a "can't find host" should not be an option in auto complete.

And now that I say that, I can think of some instances where this would not be good.

JKT
2006-08-01, 10:21 PM
Yes, it wouldn't be good if e.g. a legit URL was typed in but their server was down at the time.

FWIW, isn't one way to solve this to simply clear or delete the incorrect entry from the history? I believe that this is where it pulls the prior URLs from (as well as from your bookmarks).

furrball
2006-08-02, 08:07 AM
In my opinion, there is no need to save URLs when a server was down. If people find them so important, they can just keep a tab open and hit refresh every second day or so.

Also, pulling URL autocompletion - or maybe we should say autosuggestion - from the history seems strange to me. If I type "omni" in the location bar, I have about 50 hits. That's of no use at all. I can't search through 50 URLs, because:

- the window is too small horizontally and truncates long URLs
- they are sorted in some weird way (probably by date)
- who in the world can recognize a page by a 60 digit URL anyway? I look for the TLD and if it's right, I click it and go from there - much faster than searching the correct history entry

So the implementation that would suit my personal needs best would be:

- save only valid (successfully loaded) URLs
- save only domain names, no paths
- display URL suggestions sorted by length of URL: shorter ones first
- save URLs that were auto-completed, such as "omnigroup" (which completes to omnigroup.com)

And here comes an even better suggestion:

Augment the location bar search with clustering. Right now I can type in "apple mouse" and find all URLs with both terms in either page title or URL. These are sorted by domain, which is great. But what if all hits from one domain were grouped together and collapsed, like a mail.app thread? This would save lots of screen space, and the user could fly over the list, quickly locating the relevant group. A click on a button would then reveal all hits from that particular server, visually identified by a colored box or something.

If such a feature ever gets implemented in a browser I will certainly feel a lot less disoriented in the web. :)

Forrest
2006-08-02, 08:22 AM
- save only domain names, no paths

A couple days ago people here were posting of how they liked the auto complete searching the full URL. I greatly enjoy this too, especially with sites pushing SEO so the URLs have descriptive terms in them.

- display URL suggestions sorted by length of URL: shorter ones first

But who's to say the shortest one is the most relevant? If I've gone to forums.omnigroup.com a hundred times, but one time I typed in omni.com, why should the first option be the one I'm not going to use?

zottel
2006-08-02, 12:10 PM
In my opinion, there is no need to save URLs when a server was down. If people find them so important, they can just keep a tab open and hit refresh every second day or so.

Agreed.

I can't search through 50 URLs, because:

- the window is too small horizontally and truncates long URLs

This can be made better by using a standalone location bar hit Alt-Cmd-L.

- they are sorted in some weird way (probably by date)

IMHO this is the best way I'm always annoyed by Opera's behaviour to show the hits in alphabetical order, which often gives a misspelled URL as first entry, leading me back to that wrong URL again. Additionally, it is nearly impossible to get "the page on that server I saw last when I visited that server recently", especially in forums, where there is no hint on the topic in the URL.

- who in the world can recognize a page by a 60 digit URL anyway? I look for the TLD and if it's right, I click it and go from there - much faster than searching the correct history entry

Agreed. What about the follwing solution: In the location bar, OW only autocompletes the server, i.e. when you hit return, you will be taken to the home page. In the suggestions below, though, it shows all results in the manner it already does. So hitting cursor down, then return, will take you to laste page visited on that server.

And here comes an even better suggestion:

Augment the location bar search with clustering. Right now I can type in "apple mouse" and find all URLs with both terms in either page title or URL. These are sorted by domain, which is great. But what if all hits from one domain were grouped together and collapsed, like a mail.app thread? This would save lots of screen space, and the user could fly over the list, quickly locating the relevant group. A click on a button would then reveal all hits from that particular server, visually identified by a colored box or something.

This doesn't sound bad, yes. There is a problem, though, regarding stringent UI design if keyboard input is used: Imagne you go through the links with the cursor keys: What should happen, if the user presses space or return on a collapsed element? Space would normally bring you back to an empty location bar with only a space in it. And return? Should it go directly to foo.bar.com (without path), as this is what is shown as the element title? Or should it rather uncollapse the entries underneath?

It could be done if only cursor right and cursor left are used for collapsing/uncollapsing entries. That would, however, also lead to some unexpected behaviour for those who use this feature for the first time and didn't read the help about it.

Not so easy.

Maybe make it a configurable option and show a hint on how it works when it is enabled for the first time?

JKT
2006-08-02, 01:03 PM
In my opinion, there is no need to save URLs when a server was down. If people find them so important, they can just keep a tab open and hit refresh every second day or so.
I'm not saying that they should, I'm just pointing out what some people would probably feel is a negative. That is there is a potential con to the pro.
Also, pulling URL autocompletion - or maybe we should say autosuggestion - from the history seems strange to me. If I type "omni" in the location bar, I have about 50 hits. That's of no use at all. I can't search through 50 URLs, because:

If you have just mis-typed it, then it will be the last entry in the history. You don't need to search in the location bar, just open the history and delete it straight away. Even if you don't do that, you misspelled it so why would you be searching with omni? You would search using the misspelling.

Anyway, probably the simplest solution would be the suggestion in the first post, but before that arrives, there are ways of easily finding and removing misspelt URLs.

furrball
2006-08-03, 02:07 AM
zottel: thanks, the location bar really makes things a bit better. :)

jkt: You are definitely right, this feature will always have to be balanced between the needs of different user types. As for fiddling with the history, I'm pretty much a fire and forget type, so I don't bother with that. But of course others will handle this differently.

To add at least some positive feedback to this post: There seems to be a detail that could be fixed without any drawbacks: Auto-suggestions of URLs, so it seems, are not sorted by last accessed date, but rather by first entered. Example:

I type "animesuki" into the location bar and hit enter. I get to animesuki.com

I type "animesu" into the location bar and hit enter. This takes me to animesu.com although I want to go to animesuki.

I type "animesuki.com" into the location bar and hit enter, carrying me to animesuki.com

So now I have last accessed the correct page. I go to the location bar and enter "anime". A dropdown list appears, where animesuki is the last, not the first entry. Does this make sense in any way?

zottel
2006-08-08, 11:43 AM
Oops, you're right - the entries are sorted alphabetically. Last viewed order applies only to the history. This does make sense if you're actually using several strings to look for. Hmmm. I'm not sure if I should be glad about it or rather dislike this behaviour. :-)

akatsuki
2006-08-09, 04:43 PM
I think that it isn't worth it either to save non-loaded pages. Or if you want the best of both worlds, put them at the bottom of the list after a divider, but don't pollute the list with them

Why is the first choice whatever I have typed in? I can just hit return for that entry, and I find it annoying that the first selection is unnecessary.

Third, why is the location bar so short and the search bar so very large? I don't really like to use the alternate location bar as it is distracting and is too much. If someone could point to the NIB where the toolbar stuff is, I will gladly edit this myself I guess.

Len Case
2006-08-10, 07:54 AM
Toolbar's aren't defined in nib--but we do have a BrowserWindow.toolbar file that you can modify...

The idea behind showing you the thing you typed in, is that our default completion scheme is user configurable so it is a reminder of where the current string will take you. If you type in a search shortcut, (like "google foo" it shows you what that will turn into as well. Finally, we allow you to put the current completion into the field without following it to allow you to edit it further.