Operator 0.7 is available

Operator 0.7 is on addons.mozilla.org. I have a few things I wanted to share about this release. New features will be at the end of this post.

I’m not sure people realize there are other ways to interact with Operator besides the toolbar. Not only can you have Operator on the status bar or as a toolbar button, but you can right click on a microformat on a web page to access Operator functionality (Sometimes you can guess where they are, but if you want to see exactly where the microformats are, you can turn on Highlight Microformats in Options). If you want to access Operator from the status bar, go to Options and check the box that says Display icon in status bar. If you want to acesss Operator as a toolbar button, select View->Toolbars->Customize… There is an Operator toolbar button that can be dragged into the Firefox user inteface. Once you have done either of these, you can go to View->Toolbars and turn off the Operator Toolbar.

This release introduces a basic user interface for installing user scripts. Note that ability to add user scripts has always been there, I’ve just never had a good UI. User scripts can be used to add new microformats and new actions to Operator. As a part of the introduction of this UI, I’m moving some of what I call the non tier 1 microformats out of the core Operator and made them available as user scripts. My decision as to which ones to remove was mainly based on which microformats fit best into the Operator model; that is to say it is easy to provide actions that relate to the microformat. It is very important for you to realize that user scripts have FULL JavaScript privileges. Do NOT install Operator user scripts unless you trust the people that are providing them. I am going to make all my scripts available at http://www.kaply.com/weblog/operator-user-scripts/. If you want to write your own actions or microformats, feel free to look at my scripts, but please be aware that this API is very much in flux. I don’t a good versioning mechanism right now, so at some point your scripts would cease to work. Note that I continue to support the original Operator action model, but not the original Operator microformats model. The microformats model is actually pretty close to final.

When I first created Operator, my stated goal was take the microformats that are on a web page and provide functionality up and above what was available in the web browser. Unfortunately, when I first started creating actions for the microformats, some of the actions I created were just a case of moving browser interaction into the Operator menus. (Go to web page being the best example). With the advent of a user interface for user scripts, I’ve taken the opportunity to move some of the function that shouldn’t have been there in the first place out of the core. Note that no functionality has been removed; it is all available as user scripts. If you have a very strong opinion on this, one way or the other, please let me know.

All that being said, let me outline the new features in Operator.

  • User interface for managing user scripts
  • Operator updated when DOM nodes are added or removed
  • Export All available for contacts and events
  • 30 Boxes support has been greatly improved
  • Interaction problems with McAfee SiteAdvisor are fixed
  • Major performance enhancements
  • Native getElementsByClassName is used on Firefox 3
  • Operator wasn’t working correctly with frames and iframes
  • New tag action for searching for videos on YouTube

In addition to those changes to the core, the following user scripts are now available:

  • Send to Bluetooth (Mac only)
  • hAtom
  • Simple GRDDL RDF export
  • XFN
  • species

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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21 thoughts on “Operator 0.7 is available

  1. Another good ‘un, Mike, thank you. Maybe some of your comments, in this post, should go in to a help page within the extension?

  2. P.S. or on your website, with a link to them from a help option in the extension? Maybe in the, ahem, about dialogue? 😉

  3. Hi,

    great job !
    but the actions don’t woirk anymore (export contact) : why ?

    also : ability to add blogmarks.net management ?
    with operator 0.6, i’ve added the blogmarks actions, but it doen’t work the same at all in 0.7. could you leave us some tips ?

  4. Sorry, you said hcard. I got the upcoming thing confused. I think the issues might be the same as indicated here:


    Please see the comments at the bottom about nokia phones.

    What I need to do is see if you can modify the vcard to get it to work and then tell me what you changed. Here’s how to save a vcard on mac.

    Go to Operator->Options. Change to microformat mode and turn on debug mode. Then go to the item in the operator toolbar and select debug on the popup menu. There will be a tab that vcard/icalendar. Cut and paste the content of this and save it to test.vcf or something like that.

    Then drag and drop that onto the bluetooth file exchange app in utilities and see what happens.

    I’ll try to find a Nokia phone and Mac on my end.

  5. First sorry for my english…
    As said at tag microformat specification, spaces in the href attribute can be encoded either as + or %20.
    I noticed that + remains “+” when using Operator’s rel-tag handler.

  6. Kilian:

    Which site and which tag operation?

    Unfortunately, different sites use + to mean different things. So I might have gotten this wrong in some cases.

    If you can tell me what site has the problem and what tag action you were using, that will help.

    thank you!

  7. Mike, I followed your instructions:

    Go to Operator->Options. Change to microformat mode and turn on debug mode. Then go to the item in the operator toolbar and select debug on the popup menu. There will be a tab that vcard/icalendar. Cut and paste the content of this and save it to test.vcf or something like that.
    Then drag and drop that onto the bluetooth file exchange app in utilities and see what happens.

    But I still get the unsupported format alert…

  8. For your info Mike, if I export a vCard form Apple Address Book I get a file with .vcf extension. I tried to transfer it to my 6630 via the Bluetooth File Exchange Utility and it works, no unsupported format alert. I paste below the code of Address Book .vcf and of Operator .vcf. I hope it can help you:

    1. .vcf exported from Apple Address Book

    FN:Cesare Lamanna

    2. .vcf generated by Operator

    NAME:Upcoming.org: Festival della Filosofia at Auditorium parco della Musica (Wednesday, May 9, 2007)
    ORG;CHARSET=UTF-8:Auditorium parco della Musica
    FN;CHARSET=UTF-8:Auditorium parco della Musica
    ADR;CHARSET=UTF-8:;;Via Pietro de Cubertain;Roma;Roma;00100;

  9. Ooops, sorry Mike, but maybe this is better to make a comparison. I’ve imported in Address Book the test.vcf as generated by Operator, then re-exported it. This what I get:

    FN:Auditorium parco della Musica
    ORG:Auditorium parco della Musica;
    item1.ADR;type=WORK;type=pref:;;Via Pietro de Cubertain;Roma;Roma;00100;

  10. Mike, I think I found the problem (and maybe the solution). First I found this:


    The Contacts application on Nokia series 60 handsets will only open vCards with Windows (\r\n) line endings. Any other line ending styles will cause an error message.

    Then, with TextMate, I saved the test.vcf as pasted from Operator debug panel setting the Line Endings option to CRLF (Windows). Now it works 🙂 No unsupported format alert.

  11. When I upgraded to 0.7, all functionality regarding hCalendar stopped working for me. I can’t add events to iCal (MacOSX) with “Export event” or add events to Google Calendar. Even the “debug” option stopped working. Nothing happens when I select it (in 0.6.2 i got a debug window).

    I had to revert to 0.6.2 to get this working again. Exporting hcards worked fine though (in 0.7).

    The events I’m trying to add are on this page:

  12. Tomm:

    My update will handle this situation better, but the problem is the empty ABBR for dtend in your microformats:

    <ABBR title=”” class=”dtend”/>

  13. I’m working on a way to make export all available from microformats mode.

    Also, I apologize that the actions model has been so up and down. Just trying to get it right 🙂