Coffeehouse Thread

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The problem with combined address/search bars

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  • User profile image
    wkempf

    I understand why browsers are moving towards this, but I must say I don't care for it. I especially don't care for IE 9's buggy attempt Wink.

    Try searching for ASP.NET using one of these combined address/search bars in any browser. Yep, you wind up onhttp://asp.net instead of doing a search. Most of these implementations allow you to explicitly indicate you're searching rather than navigating. For instance, in Chrome you can type "search: asp.net" to do a search. However, don't realize that what you typed "looks" like an address and you'll have to try again with this alternate search syntax, which is frustrating. I could probably learn to live with it if I have to, but IE 9 has to be fixed first.

    Type "search: asp.net" in IE 9 and it will try and run something on your computer. What, I don't know, I just know you get a confirmation dialog asking if it can run something.

    You can put the text in quotes, which will do a search, but quoting also changes the behavior of the search and won't always be what you want to do, so I hope that's not the only answer that IE 9 is going to have here. At a minimum, following everyone else and using the "search:" syntax is almost mandatory. It would be nice if you could use the name of an installed search provider, allowing one to "bing: asp.net" and "google: asp.net" without changing the current search provider.

    So far this has mostly been about a design flaw, but I claimed IE 9 was buggy. Here's the bug. Try to search for ASP.NET MVC. In Chrome, this just works, no special syntax required. In IE 9 and attempt is made to navigate tohttp://asp.net%20mvc. Really? That's obviously not a valid address. I personally think it's a little dubious for the address bar to be translating spaces to %20 under any circumstances, but this situation is just crazy. Certainly something to fix before IE 9 makes it out of beta.

  • User profile image
    PerfectPhase

    I thought that something like   ?asp.net    would be a good way to indicate a search, I don't want to be typing search:, far to much work.

  • User profile image
    TommyCarlier

    In Chrome, if you type "asp.net" (without quotes) you can press the Down-key before pressing Enter, to search instead of going to the URL.

  • User profile image
    Sven Groot

    @TommyCarlier: In IE9, you can press up (it selects the Bing icon at the bottom of the dropdown). You can also just click the icon.

  • User profile image
    spivonious

    @wkempf:It's a beta for just this reason. I hope you entered feedback about this on Connect.

  • User profile image
    vesuvius

    @wkempf:Type "search: asp.net" in IE 9 and it will try and run something on your computer. What, I don't know, I just know you get a confirmation dialog asking if it can run something.

    Typing search: indicates that you want to run a search locally and it opens up windows explorer. Whether this is intentional or not remains to be seen, I think the whole search thing has been dumbed down for normal users, that perform basic searches. I think the UI and everything is great in it's simplicity, as when you open it it has less than 10 commands visible. They do need to remember that people have been using browsers for at least a decade, and meet the needs of those people as well.

  • User profile image
    wkempf

    @spivonious: For the bug, I agree with you, but this discussion wasn't just a bug report. I think Chrome, which doesn't have the bug, is just as annoying. I understand why browsers are moving towards the combined address/search bar, but I don't like it. It gets in the way too often, and many users won't know how to work around the problems when they encounter them.

  • User profile image
    itsnotabug

    the whole combined search/address smells of fat finger search statistics inflation. i don't like searching for something if i accidentally mistype it. this should be an option to put your dedicated search box to the side. i see no advantage other than real estate.

  • User profile image
    PerfectPhase

    @itsnotabug:  In IE9 you can turn the search on or off, so your not feeding keystrokes to the search engine.  You can trigger the search by picking the search engine of choice from the bottom of the drop down.    If you want to disable search on a DNS failure, you can change that in the settings too. 

  • User profile image
    itsnotabug

    @PerfectPhase: ahhh nice. i will be replacing chrome with ie9 then when it comes out of beta.

  • User profile image
    Bass

    I love combined search/address bars.

  • User profile image
    Richard.Hein

    You also lose all your previous search text strings.  This is a show stopper for me.  It's so frustrating to have to retype in some long search text after you just did it and got back poor results and need to modify it.  I hate combined search/address bars.

  • User profile image
    Sven Groot

    @Richard.Hein: Ditto.

  • User profile image
    magicalclick

    Actually, the real purpose is not combine both. The real purpose is to take out address bar entirely because for all the users I know, 98% of them don't use address bar. Address bar is complete waste of screen space that only geeks use.

     

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  • User profile image
    Sven Groot

    @magicalclick: If that's the case, then I simply suggest that if you do a search via the address bar it should not replace the contents with the search engine's URL, but leave them there. It should also have a way to access the search history, which is not available in the current solution.

  • User profile image
    fabian

    Seem like you cannot do a search for "Event message: Membership credential verification failed."

    Get a windows dialog "windows cannot find 'Event message: Membership credential verification failed.'. Check the spelling and try again"

     

  • User profile image
    Sven Groot

    @fabian: It works if you click the Bing icon.

    My guess: because it contains a colon, IE is trying to find a protocol handler for "Event message", which obviously doesn't exist.

  • User profile image
    DaFeets

    @wkempf: type in ?<space> and your search query. so ? asp.net works.

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