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Deprecated - Altavista, Alltheweb.com Forum

Fast Launches Alltheweb.com Alchemist Customized Search Tool

 4:15 am on Jul 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

FAST / ALLTHEWEB clarifies location and content source of search results delivered to AlltheWeb users




 4:17 am on Jul 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

doesn't work yet though. Maybe tomorrow.


 4:21 am on Jul 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

Say, this looks interesting:

AlltheWeb Alchemist displays web search results in basic HTML code. Searchers can view these results in this basic format, or customize the results view via their own pre-defined CSS file, allowing the user to control virtually all aspects of result presentation for the various search catalogs and other elements on the page.

It looks like a quality "web service" without the overhead junk like SOAP. I may be reading that press release wrong though?


 4:24 am on Jul 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

Yeah, will be fun to play with. I can't wait to see it working.


 9:09 am on Jul 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

It works. Cool.


 9:27 am on Jul 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

yup, works. gonna go play.


 9:52 am on Jul 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

Maybe its just me, but i cant find any practical use other than cosmetics.. (css type formatting)

And for that you have to host the css file on your own server and give them another cookie. I find their normal preferences set up where you can specify how queries are rewritten by default more useful


 10:23 am on Jul 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

Just had a play, i like it, its very fast, set it at its most basic and i can see the benefits of this to anyone that does alot of research.


 10:26 am on Jul 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

yes have to agree caine. you pointed out the most obvious killer feature! I was too blind to see it. Yep its very fast with all the formatting off.


 11:07 am on Jul 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

I'm not impressed. I have no compelling need for a skinnable search engine.


 11:36 am on Jul 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

Very cool Fast. No more almost invisible urls, no more hard to read micro font descriptions in a font face I don't care for. It is the most compelling reason to use Fast to come along in ages.

The kicker for me, is Opera's CSS support for Content After and Content Before! You can gen and insert content from the page. All sorts of fun stuff can be done that way.

Big thumbs up to personalization.

If you don't have a server, you can point the css at one of the W3C Core Style Sheets:


For example: to use "Old Style", point the url on the Alchemist preferences page to:



 11:46 am on Jul 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

Question from a non-programmer css non-specialist.

Could you serve this "skinned" and customised feature with a bit of tweaking as internal search engine for your own homepage only showing results from your own site? (given that all your pages are indexed by Fast)


 11:49 am on Jul 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

Nope. The url to the css file is set by a cookie Vita. There's no way to get that cookie into the users browser by any means other than AllTheWeb.


 12:11 pm on Jul 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

thanks Brett, still no quality free lunches around I guess..


 12:12 pm on Jul 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

Would something like this save bandwidth for large organizations doing lots of searching? (ie: major universities, large research libraries, etc.?)


 12:20 pm on Jul 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

Here's how I understand it to work:

-> Goto the AllTheWeb Alchemist page
-> Set a url to a CSS file.
-> It's sets a cookie with the address you just entered.

When you now view a page at AllTheWeb, your browser sends that url cookie back to AllTheWeb and they insert that as the CSS link in the HTML output.

There's really not an opportunity to save bandwidth anywhere that I can see.


 6:36 pm on Jul 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

If you're having trouble getting it to work in Mozilla, it's probably because your web server sends css files as text/html or text/plain instead of text/css. Alltheweb uses a strict doctype and so Mozilla requires that linked style sheets have the correct mime type. Yes, I think it's stupid too. Check your javascript console (!) for an error that looks like "The stylesheet [localhost...] was not loaded because its MIME type, 'text/html', is not 'text/css'." If you're using OmniHTTPd as your local web server, you can tell it that .css files are text/css in the MIME tab of the "web server global settings" dialog.


 9:04 pm on Jul 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

Keyboard shortcuts: [cs.hmc.edu...]

1-9,0 to go to search results, +/- to go to next/previous page of search results, g/t to run the same search on google/teoma, ? for help. Mozilla-only until I figure out how to use behaviors in IE. If you copy it to put on your local web server for speed/paranoia/modification, be sure to grab alltheweb.xml as well. I do not have access to referrer logs for www.cs.hmc.edu.


 9:26 pm on Jul 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

by the way, at least in ie6 you don't need to put the css on a webserver. for example if you save it as "c:\mystyles.css", just enter "c:\mystyles.css" as the location.


 9:38 pm on Jul 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

Very nifty jesserud. I'll have to play with that for awhile.

Good tip yobb. Same with Opera.


 9:54 pm on Jul 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

funny, by putting an invisible frame like this

<iframe src="http://www.alltheweb.com/alchemist?usexhtml=yes&csspath=http://someserver.com/somestyles.css" width=1 height=1/>

on a page, kids could mess up ones alltheweb-styles...

think about what one can do with styles... if yahoo would implement something like this, it would be spammers paradise.


 3:26 am on Jul 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

I hope people don't take advantage of this like I've done :-)

You can take out the ads and anything else you don't want. I've created a very minimalist skin, but because I've take out ads, logos, etc, I don't think I should post it here.

Actually, Fast could counteract this problem by including styles for the overture results within the page, which would override custom options.

Anyway, I think the whole idea is great; although I've always thought that ATW's design was the best of the search engines'.

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