Creating simple bookmarklets on your Android phone with URL Forwarder

Google has been getting increasingly better at bringing their powerful search services to our fingertips. Thanks to Chrome’s Touch to Search and Google Now on Tap finding the right results has never been easier. But sometimes a simple search isn’t enough.

Yesterday I was browsing F-Droid’s latest apps section when I found this gem of an app by David Laurell:

Basically, what it does is it intercepts the content of the share action and allows you to pass it to a predefined URL. Filters (as David calls them), at their core, function as simple bookmarklets, but because they cannot utilize JavaScript, you won’t be able to create full-fledged bookmarklets with the app. That doesn’t mean we can’t create some really fun stuff!

Still not sure how this app can help you? Let’s take a look at the whole process:

When you press the “Share” button, some content is being passed to other apps. Let’s say you’re in Chrome and you want to share the page you’re currently on — then the URL is being shared. When you select some text (either in Chrome or any other app supporting text selection) and share it, plain text is being shared. These are the two kinds of information that URL Forwarder can parse — URL and text.

In the app itself you set up Filters that parse the data intercepted from the share action (Replaceable text parameter) and append them to a new URL (Filter url field).

In the example above you can see a Twitter Search filter defined. A typical use-case scenario for this filter would be: you’re reading an interesting article and want to know what other people on Twitter are saying about it. You press share, choose URL Forwarder and the Twitter Search filter. The Twitter app opens (if you have it installed; if not, the website in your browser) and automatically shows you the search results for the URL you were visiting. Pretty cool, huh?

Up until yesterday I was using Tasker and AutoShare to achieve the exact same thing but setting it up (not having any previous Tasker experience) was an absolute nightmare! It took me the best part of the afternoon to finally make it work. In that regard, URL Forwarder, with its straightforward approach, is a real life saver!

Right now you’re probably wondering what other cool stuff you can do with it. I’ve got you covered! Below you’ll find some examples of useful filters that you can set up in URL Forwarder. Some of them duplicate the functionality of native apps, but maybe you don’t need a Wikipedia or IMDb app installed on your phone, because you rarely use it. In that case, these simple ‘bookmarklets’ should be more than enough.

Please note that you can name your Replaceable text parameter however you like (be that @url, @query, $content — whichever suits your needs best), it won’t change the type of data that’s being passed from the share action. In the examples below I’ll be using the default @url. You’ll also find [in square brackets] the kind of data you can parse with these filters.


Searching

Twitter [url/text]
https://twitter.com/search?q=@url

Netflix [text]
https://netflix.com/search/@url

Wikipedia [text]
https://wikipedia.org/w/index.php?search=@url

IMDb [text]
http://imdb.com/find?q=@url

Goodreads [text]
https://goodreads.com/search?q=@url

Urban Dictionary [text]
http://urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=@url


Sharing

Twitter [url/text]
https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=@url

Facebook [url]
https://facebook.com/sharer.php?u=@url

Google+ [url]
https://plus.google.com/share?url=@url

Email (without recipient and subject)[url/text]
mailto:?body=@url

Email (with recipient and subject)[url/text]
mailto:email@example.com?subject=Read later&body=@url


Saving

Pocket [url]
https://getpocket.com/save?url=@url

Instapaper [url]
https://instapaper.com/add?url=@url

Pinboard [url]
https://pinboard.in/add?url=@url


Other

Google Cache [url]
http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:@url

Instapaper Text [url]
http://instapaper.com/text?u=@url

Found some other awesome ways of using the app? Please share them with the rest of us and don’t forget to click that button if you found this post useful!