Getting Flock, Firefox or IE7 to discover the search on your Drupal site

You may have noticed that modern browsers have a facility to discover search engines on sites and add them to their browser search bar. Flock also shows you what content it has autodiscovered on a site by highlighting various buttons. You may also have noticed that these buttons do nothing when somebody visits your Drupal powered site. Well don't worry this is very easy to fix.

Flock content discovery buttons

One of the technologoes that powers the autodiscovery of search engines by browsers is called OpenSearch which was initially developed by Amazon subsidary A9. It is a collection of technologies that empower websites to deliver search results to other websites. In order for browsers to discover your search engine, a small XML file must be generated which contains information about your site's search facility. Your webpages should also contain a link to this XML file in a similar fashion to a link to a style sheet.

Fortunately we do not have to worry about generating this file ourselves. We can use the contributed OpenSearch Plugin module to generate this for us. You will need to enable search on your site first of course, then download the module, and install it in the usual fashion. Once you enable it you will notice that when you visit a page in your website, your browser will become aware of your search engine. Visitors can then add this to their list of search engines in their browser.

More information can be found at:
http://drupal.org/project/opensearchplugin
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opensearch
http://www.opensearch.org