Build your own activities for Internet Explorer 8.

The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) is an online database of information related to movies, actors, television shows, production crew personnel, and video games. IMDb launched on October 17, 1990, and in 1998 was acquired by Amazon.com. Since I'm a big fan of this site and still loves to use Internet Explorer, why can't I combine these two.

Activities
With Activities, you can access your services from any webpage. Activities simplify the common task of copying, navigating, and pasting into a single action. Users can access an Activity on selection simply by selecting content and opening the context menu. For example, users can select an address on a webpage and the Activity button appears. Alternatively, you can access selection Activities from the context menu. Activities are also available for the current webpage in the Page menu on the Command bar and for links within a page in the context menu for the link.

The XML namespace for Activities is: http://www.microsoft.com/schemas/openservicedescription/1.0 The main components to the format are:

  • homepageUrl
  • display (Name, Icon, Description)
  • activity (Category)
    • activityAction (Context ["selection", "document", or "link"])
      • preview
        • parameter
      • execute
        • parameter

This is my activity for IMDb. I added it to same category as all Search activities. Save the file as SearchIMDb.xml.

    1 <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>

    2   <openServiceDescription xmlns="http://www.microsoft.com/schemas/openservicedescription/1.0">

    3   <homepageUrl>http://www.imdb.com</homepageUrl>

    4   <display>

    5     <name>Search with IMDb</name>

    6     <icon>http://www.imdb.com/favicon.ico</icon>

    7   </display>

    8   <activity category="Search">

    9     <activityAction context="selection">

   10       <execute action="http://www.imdb.com/find">

   11         <parameter name="s" value="all"/>

   12         <parameter name="q" value="{selection}"/>

   13       </execute>

   14     </activityAction>

   15   </activity>

   20 </openServiceDescription>

Click the link below to add this activity to your IE.

Add IMDb Activity 

Update: Community Server won't allow me to add javascript to my blog posts. This is the link you should add to an html file. 

    1 <a onclick="java script:window.external.addService('SearchIMDb.xml')" href="#">Add IMDb Activity</a>

After installing the activity you can also change it to a default activity.

Manage

This will result in the following possibilities

activity 

Summary
I created a simple activity for IMDb, but you easily create some activities for Torrent sites (especially if your from Italy), MSDN, Wikipedia etc. To install a activity the installer must be run from a Web Server, this can't be from a local hard drive. Here are some interesting links:

Activities white paper
http://code.msdn.microsoft.com/Release/ProjectReleases.aspx?ProjectName=ie8whitepapers&ReleaseId=566

Activities Hands-On Lab
http://code.msdn.microsoft.com/Release/ProjectReleases.aspx?ProjectName=iemix08labs&ReleaseId=583

 

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