Unleashing Quix

January 13th, 2010 – 104 Comments

I’ve been working on a secret (side) project for 3-4 months now, way longer than I ever intended to work on it, but it’s now ready for release. I’m ready to show you Quix, a tool I think is very cool, which I’ve shared with quite a few of my friends already who all like it as well.

Quix is an extensible bookmarklet, that allows you to easily access all your bookmarks and bookmarklets, across all your browsers, while maintaining them in only one spot. All you have to do is remember the shortcut for the bookmarklet, so, basically, it’s like a command line for your browser.

Check out the video:

Quix isn’t a new idea, it’s based on an idea by one of my all time heroes Shaun Inman called Shortwave. Shortwave had a lot of things I wanted to add to it though, so I made my own version and added the ability to do Greasemonkey style scripting and stylesheet additions with it as well.

Quix comes with a wealth of built in commands, but the best thing about is that it’s fully extendable. I can only say one thing: go forth and play, and let me know what you think of it!


104 Responses to Unleashing Quix

  1. Lorraine
    By Lorraine on 9 February, 2010

    Thanks Yoast for this announcement. I’m new to your site – through a plugin on WordPress. I’m not a techie either. So . . . this tool . . . . is the purpose of this tool to get to sites more quickly through using shortcuts rather than going to Favorites, finding the site to connect to and connecting – is that the idea of Quix and programs like it? Where is the download for this product? I know a lot of people have found it but I”m not seeing it – thanks. Also where can I find the plugin Clean Slugs. I signed up for your newsletter but didn’t get the plugin.

  2. Paula
    By Paula on 9 February, 2010

    Do I understand things right that this one tool replaces all of the bookmarklets for all of the social bookmarking sites. Seems like I am a little behind in my understanding of the real use for this. I watched the video and read through the comments, but I am still missing something. I am only using one browser, and I have tried some automated social bookmarking tools, but I find that for some bookmarking sites it is just easier to use their bookmarklet. So, I want to use this instead of the other numerous bookmarklets?

  3. victoria
    By victoria on 8 February, 2010

    thanks for this great tool.

  4. Raj
    By Raj on 7 February, 2010

    Sounds like great concept & good efforts. Trying to understand it, seems like straight from developer heart providing command line options, extensibility, yeah sounds like real solid platform, might be there will be more tutorials & help on the stuff by you or by us :-)

  5. r4 kaart
    By r4 kaart on 5 February, 2010

    Thanks a lot Joost for the great tool. And thank you Dennis for the Quix Cheat Sheet :)

  6. Dennis Sievers
    By Dennis Sievers on 4 February, 2010

    For those who care and need it, I created a Quix Cheat Sheet with all standard built-in commands on one single piece of paper. You can download it right here.

  7. Merijn
    By Merijn on 1 February, 2010

    Ah, found /syntax, it’s cool stuff indeed!

  8. Merijn
    By Merijn on 1 February, 2010

    Nice app Joost!
    I was wondering how it worked, it being open source by being javascript… but you’d have to explain the last few lines to me. (Where do those magical heads arrive from?)
    And I’m sure it generates pretty graphs on the backend quixapp.com server ;-)
    – Merijn

    • Joost de Valk
      By Joost de Valk on 1 February, 2010

      Well it’s only partly open source, the javascript that it returns is. The backend code is not, and since there’s many variants of javascript coming out of the backend, depending on command, browser, operating system etc, you’d have a hard time replicating it :)

  9. Nitesh Patel @techmadly
    By Nitesh Patel @techmadly on 31 January, 2010

    gr8 stuff it might be a big time saver overall for quickly running some SEO and other related queries on a site

  10. Perry
    By Perry on 29 January, 2010

    Very nice stuff. This saves alot of time. But a keyboard shortcut would be good instead of having to click on it!

    • maelcum
      By maelcum on 29 January, 2010

      Are you on a Mac?
      Then drag the bookmarklet to your bookmarks bar in Safari and rename it to “° q”.
      That way it will always be the “first” entry Safari sees (no matter where in the bookmarks bar it is located and how many other folders/entries are there).
      Those first (1-0) entries can be started by tapping the key combo Apple-1, Apple-2, Apple-3, … respectively.

      So Apple-1 brings up the window. Just renaming the bookmarklet is enough.

      • maelcum
        By maelcum on 29 January, 2010

        with 1-0 I meant 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 as instead of 10 its the 0.

  11. kerem
    By kerem on 29 January, 2010

    Very nice stuff, will definitely install it.

    thx

  12. Thieme Hennis
    By Thieme Hennis on 29 January, 2010

    Joost,
    dank je wel! fantastische bookmarklet. Ik gebruik het nu ipv Uniquity.

    thanks Joost, I said goodbye to ubiquity and now use Quixapp.

    Have to extend it (with finding synonyms for example).

  13. james
    By james on 27 January, 2010

    Another awesome tool! Will be linking to it at http://www.homethairecipes.com for sure. You should see my bookmarks, they are all over the place! Such a mess and a real nightmare to find anything, which kind of defeats the purpose of bookmarking a site in the first place… :)

  14. Melissa
    By Melissa on 27 January, 2010

    Have just played with it for a while in Chrome. The idea is perfect. This is just what I want when bookmarklets start to clutter my bookmark toolbar too much. I am a big fan of bookmarklets, which make me browse the web lite and nice. And just love Quix.

    I have just made a command file and tried to extend Quix to use my existing collection of bookmarklets (though most of them are, magically, integrated into Quix already, well). Some work without fault but some did not work. One example is the Todoist Task bookmarklet from Todoist. Can you think of any reason to help me out?

    Anyway, thank you very much for Quix.

  15. maelcum
    By maelcum on 26 January, 2010

    ThankyouThankyouThankyou.
    If this was the internet, I’d probably have to say “awesome, dude”, but that doesn’t come close to what I would like to express. Quix is probably one of *the* few things I’ve always longed for but could not realize myself.

    I’ve just tried making my own Quix_commands.txt and it works beautifully. Until now, I’ve misused GlimmerBlocker for about the same thing. A whole App Framework to do what Quix does with an applet… Man, I am so greatful!!

    I’m looking forward to some site where people share their self-made Quix commands
    and a thorough tutorial about the innner workings of Quix, eventually.
    For one thing I’m always impressed with what people come up with and of course there are some macros I’m not able to “translate” properly, like looking up a man-page command, that are already done in javascript and should work in Quix as well.

    But whatever. The reason for this post is to say THANK YOU!!

  16. Ralph Wolbrink
    By Ralph Wolbrink on 22 January, 2010

    Great stuff! I especially like the SEO shortcuts, this will save me a load of time! Thanks!

  17. Artem Russakovskii
    By Artem Russakovskii on 20 January, 2010

    You just got featured on Mashable. Congrats, Joost!

  18. Michael Review
    By Michael Review on 20 January, 2010

    Is quixapp.com down? I get a Server Not Found error

    • Joost de Valk
      By Joost de Valk on 20 January, 2010

      I’m all over it, it seems down for about half the US and working for the other half…

  19. Joaquin Kenyon
    By Joaquin Kenyon on 20 January, 2010

    Very impressive. I love shortcuts and shortcut keys.
    Quix is like the ultimate in a shortcut tool for online stuff.

    Joaquin

  20. Michael
    By Michael on 19 January, 2010

    And just uploaded my video review/tutorial here…
    http://bit.ly/8I6ydq

    Now about that gaexport? I still don’t understand its operation.

  21. Michael
    By Michael on 19 January, 2010

    Just completed my review of Quix
    http://bit.ly/6te8QY

  22. Michael
    By Michael on 19 January, 2010

    When I type in gaexport, absolutely nothing happens that I am aware of. Not sure where or when the export to csv links is supposed to show up. confused.

  23. Michael
    By Michael on 19 January, 2010

    I can’t wait to begin using this. It’s installed in Safari but once installed and invoked, it does nothing. If I click on Quix bookmarklet, type “gs help” or “whois” nothing happens. I’ve also tried in Firefox and same thing.

    So for me, it’s not working. Am I alone? Am I somehow doing something wrong?

    • Joost de Valk
      By Joost de Valk on 19 January, 2010

      Hmm ignore my previous comment, I think I found it. Could you please try again?

      • Michael
        By Michael on 19 January, 2010

        Joost, it is now working. To clarify further how this bookmarklet works, is it dependent on something on your end? Of is it self-contained? It’s a mystery to me. But it sure is a time saver, much in the same way that Quicksilver and now Google Quick Search Box is. Thanks for your work on this terrific tool.

        • Michael
          By Michael on 19 January, 2010

          gaexport does not seem to be working. All others I’ve tried seem to be working but I haven’t tried them all yet.

          • Joost de Valk
            By Joost de Valk on 19 January, 2010

            that one needs a bit more explanation: you need to do gaexport and THEN click the export to csv links yourself… Weird. I know.

    • Joost de Valk
      By Joost de Valk on 19 January, 2010

      hmm seems something is amiss. Could you email me the bookmarklet as you have it now? joost at yoast dot com.

  24. Greg
    By Greg on 19 January, 2010

    Great app and love it. Are you offering this app/service as rebrand-able solution? I would be interested

  25. Aaron
    By Aaron on 19 January, 2010

    Super productive app. Very easy and intuitive to use. Looks like it as the potential to make some money too! Have you thought about the affiliate potential of this tool. Such as domain registration and amazon product searches etc.

  26. Aris Kuckovic
    By Aris Kuckovic on 18 January, 2010

    Hello Joost,

    VERY USEFUL program!
    I’m using it every time i use my browser – keep up the good work!
    I’m also linking to you via my article (danish) on my website :)

  27. Jeremiah M. Wean
    By Jeremiah M. Wean on 18 January, 2010

    I’ve become a very big fan of bookmarklets over the last year. Actually creating a folder in bookmarks just for all of the bookmarkelts. It looks like this one may be the replacement for all of them.

  28. Ike Lewis
    By Ike Lewis on 18 January, 2010

    Hi there!
    Great bookmarklet. I absolutely love it. Now, instead of having a ton of Firefox extensions to use a ruler on my site, etc., I can just use one handy bookmarklet.

    One thing I noticed, however. The “csstoggle” command doesn’t seem to work. It just hangs for a few minutes and then does nothing. Just FYI.

    The rest of the commands worked great, and replaced a ton of stuff that I used to use desktop apps or browser extensions for. Thanks!

    • Joost de Valk
      By Joost de Valk on 18 January, 2010

      Hey Ike, thx for noticing that csstoggle didn’t work, I just fixed it!

      • The Digital Tools & Life Blog
        By The Digital Tools & Life Blog on 18 January, 2010

        Joost, does this mean we need to delete and re-install the tool button?

        • Joost de Valk
          By Joost de Valk on 18 January, 2010

          Nope, most of the upgrades and fixes don’t require that. If they do, there’s a built-in upgrade system which will automatically give you a notice to upgrade to a newer version of Quix.

          • maelcum
            By maelcum on 27 January, 2010

            Hm. I just read about the “read” command you’ve added yesterday. Since I’m using a customized version of quix.txt (with a killall command at the top) this means I need to download the most current quix.txt, make a diff with the one I am using, adapt mine, upload it and make a new bookmark, right?

            If yes, I seriously need to rething this approach. I would expect a lot of additions and refinements now that quix is open…

  29. Mark @ Alchemy United
    By Mark @ Alchemy United on 18 January, 2010

    I’m with Nigel. Or maybe it’s just that I’m only one coffee into a three or four coffee day?

    I’m pressed for time. We’re all pressed for time. Three things are not clear to me:

    1) What is it?
    2) What problem does it address
    3) Why should I care? (i.e., What’s the benefit to me. That is, how does it solve the problem. )

    It looks interesting given the comments above. But interesting and relevant are two different things. The book store is filled with TONS of interesting books that I wish I had time to read. I, however, am forced to pick my battles.

    None the less, I guess I should say thanks. Thanks! :)

    • Joost de Valk
      By Joost de Valk on 18 January, 2010

      Dude, I just adjusted the article, read the 2nd paragraph, and… If you’re pressed for time, don’t write comments this long :)

  30. Nigel Mackintosh
    By Nigel Mackintosh on 18 January, 2010

    WHAT IS IT?!!

    Do you realise that absolutely nowhere do you say what this Quix is or does? I presume it’s explained in the video, but for some reason that doesn’t run for me. Even so, you shouldn’t expect people to run a video without some clue about the product.

    Some of the other comments hint at what it does, but I’m still left unsure about it.

    • Joost de Valk
      By Joost de Valk on 18 January, 2010

      You’re absolutely right Nigel, just added the second paragraph. As for the video not working: I’m seriously considering switching away from Vimeo, as it doesn’t seem to work for a lot of people.

      • Ike Lewis
        By Ike Lewis on 18 January, 2010

        What would you switch to? YouTube?

        • Joost de Valk
          By Joost de Valk on 18 January, 2010

          No, as that doesn’t allow custom sizes in any easy way… Still investigating :)

    • The Digital Tools & Life Blog
      By The Digital Tools & Life Blog on 18 January, 2010

      andrea_mueller2 , I was going to say that Quix is a command line interface for the browser, but, when I went back and checked, yes, it’s true, Joost did in fact not really say (in text) what Quix is.

  31. Darko
    By Darko on 18 January, 2010

    Wow…simply awesome. Thanks a lot. Real time saver.

  32. Miriam Schwab
    By Miriam Schwab on 18 January, 2010

    Wow, you made Quix? I saw all the buzz surrounding its release, but I didn’t realize you’re behind it. It’s an amazing idea!

  33. Caleb
    By Caleb on 18 January, 2010

    Just a general thought about previous posts that use videos…upload and embed from YouTube for ppl viewing on iPhone.

  34. Robert Somerville
    By Robert Somerville on 18 January, 2010

    Yoast,

    I’m really enjoying using Quix and have even begun customising it as well. I was wondering
    whether you might have plans to include a PR check in the SEO section of the default
    commands. This would be really useful in browsers other than Firefox (particularly Safari and Chrome) that don’t make it easy to install a toolbar or add-in that reveals the PR of the page.

    Thanks for making Quix available.

    Robert

  35. David Ho
    By David Ho on 18 January, 2010

    Just thought I’d leave some love for all those working in the search filed that suffer from occupationally induced ADD – could a link to the download be included? Perhaps the Quix picture :) Many thanks and lots of love! Love your article on getting your wordpress install up to snuff SEO wize – use all your recommended plug ins!!

  36. Harry Heys
    By Harry Heys on 18 January, 2010

    Hey Yoast, this is really excellent! I would think the app should take off and be a “must have” for anyone who wants to reduce repetitive, timewasting work – and that means everyone!

    Harry

  37. Jim Gaudet
    By Jim Gaudet on 16 January, 2010

    Great idea, really. Especially the extend feature. It will take a little time to get used to, but I think this is worth a shot.

    By the way, the text is running outside of this textarea to the right, could be a Chrome issue or something I have a picture if you want to see the issue..

  38. ymm0t
    By ymm0t on 15 January, 2010

    Wow! You have taken times on analyzing sites! Have never thought of this kind of thing. Nice one!
    I’ve installed it and gonna love it… :)

  39. Yessy
    By Yessy on 14 January, 2010

    Hey Yessy,

    an excellent Tool, it’s quite a bit like http://searchy.protecus.de but an bit more smoothed :)
    Thank you and keep up the good work!

    Yessy

  40. Gigi
    By Gigi on 14 January, 2010

    Cool tool, nice work Yoast!

  41. Miesjel de Lange
    By Miesjel de Lange on 14 January, 2010

    Great! Much appreciated.
    Firefox users might want to try Site Launcher to assign a Quix hotkey.

  42. The Digital Tools & Life Blog
    By The Digital Tools & Life Blog on 14 January, 2010

    Quix is great! Thanks for releasing this.

    This is basically a command line interface for web browsers.

    I agree with the commenter above that there should be a way to access the Quix command line from the keyboard, but this is probably going to be browser-dependent.

    Ideas for additions:
    -The Unix command wc (word count)
    -an “lh” (list hyperlinks) command

    • maelcum
      By maelcum on 27 January, 2010

      lh could be something like this?
      javascript:var%20a='';for(var%20ln=0;ln%3Cdocument.links.length;ln++){var%20lk=document.links[ln];a+=ln+':%20%3Ca%20href=\''+lk+'\'%20title=\''+lk.text+'\'%3E'+lk+'%3C/a%3E%3Cbr%3E\n';}w=window.open('','Links','scrollbars,resizable,width=400,height=600');w.document.write(a);

      No idea how much of that will survive this input field…

  43. Luci
    By Luci on 14 January, 2010

    I’ve been trialling it in Firefox and it seems to be pretty cool! Love the easy install. My concern at the moment is that say I want when you use quix to search for something and it brings up the new site (say wikipedia) then you can’t use the back button to go back to your previous site?
    I ran a quick test in Safari & Chrome, and they didn’t have the same problem, so is it just a Firefox issue?

    • Joost de Valk
      By Joost de Valk on 16 January, 2010

      It is a Firefox issue, but there’s a work around which I’ve just worked in, should be ok now.

      • Luci
        By Luci on 18 January, 2010

        Brilliant! No issue there now (just ran a very quick test) I think Quix has now just moved up the list to one of my favourite quick tools. Thanks Joost!

    • Joost
      By Joost on 16 January, 2010

      I’m running into the same problem when using Firefox. However, I’ve been able to narrow it down: the last entry in the previous button ‘history’ is skipped. For example: when I visit page A, then visit page B, and then use Quix to go to Wikipedia, and then click the back button, I’m redirected to page A instead of page B. When trying with 3 pages (A, B and C) you’ll notice that only C is lost but when clicking previous from B you are directed to A as expected.

      I guess it seems like Quix is overwriting the history entry of the current page rather than creating one of its own.

  44. Bryan
    By Bryan on 14 January, 2010

    Found your video on SEO for WordPress today and loved it. But this bookmarklet app is amazing. I’ve already used it to share with everyone I know on Facebook and Twitter. Excellent work.

  45. Peter Knight
    By Peter Knight on 14 January, 2010

    This is a fantastic tool, terrific work. I’ve been trying out the various commands. The ‘ga’ google analytics check is very useful but I’m wondering if it identifies the new asynchronous tracking codes? I tried it on a site and noticed it wouldn’t bring up the account-id. It works fine on my other sites that have the older google analytics code.

    • Joost de Valk
      By Joost de Valk on 14 January, 2010

      probably doesn’t yet, I’ll check in to that.

  46. Jay Tillery
    By Jay Tillery on 13 January, 2010

    I’m using the hell out of this right now. Good job, Joost.

  47. donnacha | WordSkill
    By donnacha | WordSkill on 13 January, 2010

    On the Quix Help page, the “Available groups of commands” link list includes one option, Quix, that isn’t actually on the page.

  48. donnacha | WordSkill
    By donnacha | WordSkill on 13 January, 2010

    Very impressive and, clearly, this is going to be extremely useful.

    I particularly like the Mac integration commands, will do wonders for my workflow.

    Is it possible to use a keyboard shortcut to make the Quix box appear? It is a pity to have to use the mouse to click the bookmarklet, spoils the “command line” smoothness.

    It would also be good if some commands could cause a new tab to open. For instance, if I am reading a page, come across a word I don’t know and enter the command “d someword”, it would be good if the definition page appeared in a new tab, allowing me to cmd-w it and return to the page I was reading.

    • Joost de Valk
      By Joost de Valk on 14 January, 2010

      hmm it can but I just realized that’s nowhere to be found on the site. Each command that you begin with a space will open a new tab / window, depending on your browsers settings :)

      • chazbeaner
        By chazbeaner on 18 January, 2010

        i’m using Quix in Chrome (and loving it) but can’t get a new tab/window to spawn using a space before the command. Just installed and tried Safari with same result. Did I misunderstand how to use the space for a new tab?

        • chazbeaner
          By chazbeaner on 18 January, 2010

          Nevermind, it seems that they are being blocked as pop-ups no matter how the prefs are set (for me at least). To get Quix to spawn a new window/tab, you have to disable the pop-up blocker. It’s a small thing and I’m still loving using this tool. Great plugin yet again Joost. Thanks.

      • donnacha | WordSkill
        By donnacha | WordSkill on 14 January, 2010

        The space trick works great, but what would be the syntax for editing the command file to make new windows / tabs the default for individual commands?

        BTW, I love that Safari provides a keyboard shortcut to call up the Quix (?-1 through to ?-0), hopefully I’ll be able to find an equivalent shortcut for Chrome.

  49. Steve Borsch
    By Steve Borsch on 13 January, 2010

    Oops…though you have links to the “help” areas of quixapp.com, there is not link to the homepage and thought you might want to add one (like a “Get Quix here” to make it brain-dead obvious).

  50. Ben
    By Ben on 13 January, 2010

    Just playing around with it now, it’s certainly going to help me in the future as it has most of the things I forget to check when I’m performing site maintenance.

  51. Cory Howell
    By Cory Howell on 13 January, 2010

    Liking the demo and features that Quix appears to have. Going to give it a shot in Chrome first and Firefox if it doesn’t work well there (assuming it will though).

    Might take some getting used to the shortcuts, but I’m sure it’s a big time saver overall for quickly running some SEO and other related queries on a site, etc.

    Thanks for sharing Joost.

    • Joost de Valk
      By Joost de Valk on 13 January, 2010

      It should work well in all browsers, though I’ll happily admit to not having tested it thoroughly on IE :P

      • Cory Howell
        By Cory Howell on 13 January, 2010

        Haha… I’ll happily admit to not wanting to use it in IE either :P

  52. Barry Adams
    By Barry Adams on 13 January, 2010

    Sort of like an evolved Ubiquity for search marketers? Very cool stuff, will definitely install it.

    • Joost de Valk
      By Joost de Valk on 13 January, 2010

      And BTW, it’s browser independent too, and works on your (i)phone…

    • Joost de Valk
      By Joost de Valk on 13 January, 2010

      Not just for search marketers, for web developers and other power users too :)

  53. Kieron Hughes
    By Kieron Hughes on 13 January, 2010

    Great to see this finally released :)

    Been looking forward to this ever since your demo at Think Visibility last September.

    • Joost de Valk
      By Joost de Valk on 13 January, 2010

      I still think it’s awesome that I was able to demo this to a room of 100 people, and nobody talked about it online before today. Very very awesome crowd :)

  54. Simon
    By Simon on 13 January, 2010

    How do I drag it on to Chrome ?

  55. Lauryan Feijen
    By Lauryan Feijen on 13 January, 2010

    I think this is the tool you (and/or a few others) used at the Search Marketing Thursday Site Clinic isn’t it? I was wondering at that moment what kind of tool you used, seemed like an easy, fast and extremely usefull tool.

    I’m going to try it out, thanks (again)!

    • Joost de Valk
      By Joost de Valk on 13 January, 2010

      It was, it’s basically the bomb for quick reviews of sites like you do in Site Clinics :)


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