Overview of the Query Bench User Interface




1.  General information for Query Bench

Query Bench is a Browser Extension that assists you to organize and use Search Parameters for your favorite Search Engines.
The Search Parameters defined once, according the rules of the Search Engine, can be used in a very comfortable way.

Query Bench is hosted in the Mozilla gallery and in the Chrome Web Store.
The direct links for Query Bench are here (for Chrome) and here (for Firefox).
There you can see more information about Query Bench, for instance the version history.
The current version of Query Bench is 3.0.0.
Contact us if you have any question, error reports, or suggestions for improvements.




2.  Composition of Query Bench

Query Bench is a Browser Extension that will be visible as a Button in the Browser Toolbar after the installation.

Toolbar Buttons
Fig. 1 - Browser Toolbar

When you press the button Query Bench Activation, the Extension will be switched on (see Fig. 2).

With the button Open menu, you can reach the Query Bench Settings Page (see Fig. 4) following a couple of steps.

Input Dialog
Fig. 2 - Input Dialog

When you then hover the mouse over the page, the words below the cursor will be marked.

As soon as you hover some more time above a word, an Input Dialog will appear.




3.  Operation of Query Bench

There are four places in the Browser where operation of Query Bench is done.

  • In the Browser Toolbar the Activation of the main functionality is done or the Settings Page can be shown.
  • In the Browser Window, single words can be transferred to the Input Dialog by hovering the word, where multiple words will be taken over when they have been selected.
  • In the Input Dialog the Search Engine which shall be queried with the search term can be chosen.
    It's also possible to make certain settings in the Input Dialog.
  • In the Settings Page the Search Parameters can be defined, modified, deleted and saved.

In the Input Dialog you have the following controls.

Input Dialog Controls
Fig. 3 - Input Dialog Controls
  • Selection Action: Determines if selection of text shall show the Input Dialog.
  • Hover Action: Determines if hovering the mouse above single words shall show the Input Dialog.
  • Link Activation: Determines if the Links shall be activated (If yes, text selections starting with Links are difficult to perform).
  • Punctuation Mark Filter: Determines if punctuation marks of selected text shall be used as part of the search term.
  • Segmentation Mode: Switches from Word to Sentence Mode or back.
  • Settings: Opens the Settings Page.
  • Buttons without names: Buttons can be shown without names according the configurations in the settings page. *)
  • Buttons with names: Buttons can be shown with names according the configurations in the settings page. *)
  • Textbox for the search term: In the Textbox the search term according the Hover Action or the Selection Action is shown.

*) When a button is pressed, the Search Engine associated with the button will be queried with the search term from the Textbox.
     The result of the Query will be displayed either in the same Browser Window or in a separate dedicated Browser Window.




4.  Configuration of Query Bench

You can open the Configuration Page by either pressing the Settings Button (the one with the tool symbol) in the Input Dialog (see Fig. 3), or by pressing the following succession of buttons starting at the Browser Toolbar (see Fig. 1): ➢ Open menu ➢ Add-ons ➢ Extensions ➢ Options (at the entry for Query Bench).

In the Settings Page you have the following controls.

Settings Page
Fig. 4 - Settings Page
  • Treeview of the Search Parameters: Here all the Search Parameters are shown in a two-level Treeview.
    The upper level shows the Groups that have Search Parameters associated with them.
    By clicking the triangle left-hand of a Group, the related Search Parameters can be displayed or folded in again.
    The order of the Search Parameters in the Treeview determines the order of the Buttons in the Input Dialog.
  • Command Buttons: Here the commands can be executed on the Search Parameters selected in the Treeview.
    • Add new Entry: With this a new Search Parameter can be added.
    • Delete Entry: With this an existing Search Parameter can be deleted.
    • Move Entry Up: With this an existing Search Parameter can be moved upwards.
    • Move Entry Down: With this an existing Search Parameter can be moved downwards.
    • Load last saved: With this earlier saved data can be loaded, i.e. just made modifications can be canceled.
    • Save Changes: With this just made modifications can be saved on the computer.
    • Load Icon from Computer: With this a Favicon can be loaded from the computer and assigned to the selected Search Parameter.
    • Load Icon from Base URL: With this a Favicon can be loaded from the Base URL and assigned to the selected Search Parameter.
    • Choose an existing Icon: With this an already used Favicon can be assigned to the selected Search Parameter.
  • Detail information for the Search Parameter selected in the Treeview
    • Entry Name: Name of the Search Parameter (may occur only once per Group).
    • Note: Remarks/Notes for the Search Parameter (may be left blank).
    • Badge Text: Short text for labeling buttons where one doesn't like to display the name.
    • Query URL: Query URL according the rules of the Search Engine, containing the word QUERYSTRING as a placeholder for the search term.
    • Base URL: Can be used to load the Favicon of the Search Engine.
    • Display Options: To determine how the button should appear in the Input Dialog.
      • Icon: Determines if the Favicon should be displayed on the button.
      • Badge: Determines if the short text (Badge Text) should be displayed on the button.
      • Name: Determines if the name should be displayed on the button.



5.  Hints for the Usage and Configuration of Query Bench

Check in the Treeview

When you set the check for a Search Parameter, afterwards this Search Parameter will appear in the Input Dialog, otherwise not.

When you set the check for a Group, afterwards all buttons belonging to this group will be shown in the Input Dialog as button group.
When you omit the check there, the Buttons belonging to the group will be shown as ordinary (separate) Buttons.

Display Options

Depending on your needs, you can make the Buttons to be shown in the Input Dialog with their names or just with their Favicons.
When you don't let the names to be displayed, it'll be helpful, to utilize the badge texts instead.
When you are using a lot of Search Parameters, presumably you will decide, not to display the names, in order the Input Dialog will not appear so large.




6.  Merging of modified and new Search Parameters with the ones in use

When a new version of Query Bench is distributed, it can happen that it also includes modified or new Search Parameters.
In order to Search Parameters in use not being overwritten without consent of the user, the user can accept or reject the modifications.
The modified and the new Search Parameters are marked accordingly in the Treeview in the Settings Page.

Search Parameter Updates
Fig. 5 - Search Parameter Updates
  • New Groups or individual new Search Parameters and such with modifications, are equipped with an Image Button, at the right side of the Treeview, left-hand to the scroll bar.
  • The Image Buttons of not selected Search Parameters are shown grayed and the one of the selected Search Parameter is colored.
  • When the Image Button of the selected Search Parameter is clicked, a detail view to the modifications of the selected Search Parameter, appears in the lower part of the Settings window.
Search Parameter Merging
Fig. 6 - Search Parameter Merging
  • In the detail view, the property values of the selected Search Parameter are shown in the actual state (Current Value) and in the available new state (New Value).
  • In between there is a column, where equal signs or arrows indicate if the values are equal or different.
  • With the Button Keep Current Values the new values of the selected Search Parameter are rejected.
  • With the Button Accept new Values the new values of the selected Search Parameter are accepted.
  • With the Button Cancel this detail view can be closed, without having decided about rejection or acceptance of the modifications.
  • Remarks:
    • Besides the possibility of using the button Accept new Values, new Search Parameters can also be accepted by setting the check.
    • In case you want to keep a Search Parameter of (still) the same name as a new Parameter, you can rename the current one.
    • New Search Parameters can only be modified, after they have been accepted.
    • New Search Parameters within a new Group can only be accepted, after the Group has been accepted.



7.  Use of API queries

Certain service providers deliver their information not as common web sites, but in formats that are not suitable for their direct usage in the Browser.
What appears to be a drawback at the first glance, however is an advantage, because the so delivered information comes without any additional data, i.e. it's just the answer of the query, not additionally the web site of the information provider.
Having the information in this form in Query Bench, it's best suitable to be displayed with the Singular Output Method which is described in the next chapter.
Processing the answers of different service providers involve different implementations which in Query Bench are hard coded.
But having the API query of an information provider implemented for a special case, almost any Search Parameter variation can be made and used.
This means that if e.g. the API query for the German Wikipedia works, it will also work for a Search Parameter which is intended for the English Wikipedia.
The user can therefore, as usual, adapt existing Search Parameters according his needs and create similar new ones.
Only when the API of a previously not used information provider should be utilized, Query Bench must be adapted accordingly.
Currently Query Bench supports the API of Wikipedia and one of Google Translate. More services will be added later.




8.  Singular Output Method

In the Singular Output Method you work with only one Search Parameter.
Instead of the buttons for the various Search Parameters (see Fig. 2), only the Search Result appears (see Fig. 9). At the moment only one of the delivered Search Parameters (Wiki - English API) is specially designated for the Singular Output Method.

One possibility to switch to the Singular Output Method is via the Settings (see Fig. 7).
When you choose Active Tab singular from Output method, the Favicon of the designated Parameter will be marked with a blue Border.
From the moment you saved the changes, the Singular Output Method is active.

Singular Output Method
Fig. 7 - Switch to Singular Output Method via Settings

Another possibility to switch to the Singular Output Method is via Input Dialog (see Fig. 8).
When the Input Dialog is shown (Point 1) press the upper left qb-Symbol (Point 2) and then choose the button of the designated Search Parameter (Point 3).
From this moment, the Singular Output Method is active.

Switch to Singular Output Method
Fig. 8 - Switch to Singular Output Method via Input Dialog

With activated Singular Output Method, the Query with the designated Search Parameter will always immediately be executed, when hovering words (see Fig. 9).

Singular Output Method
Fig. 9 - Working in Singular Output Method

To switch back to the 'normal mode', again there is the possibility to go to the Settings, or by clicking the upper left Favicon from the Input Dialog (see Fig. 10).

back to Normal Mode
Fig. 10 - Switch back to Normal Mode



9.  Sentence Mode NEW

The Sentence Mode is an experimental feature and will not always give the desired result.
When it is switched on, the hovered sentence (instead of just the word) will be marked and put into the input field.
The rules for the sentence boundary recognition differ according the language. In this version they are still basic and can be extended on further needs.

One possibility to switch to the Sentence Mode is via the Settings (see Fig. 11).
When you press the Button at Input Dialog Settings - Word Mode, the label changes to Sentence Mode.
From this moment, the Sentence Mode is active.

Settings - Miscellaneous
Fig. 11 - Settings - Miscellaneous

The second possibility to switch to the Sentence Mode is via the Input Dialog, where you press the Button Segmentation Mode shown in Fig. 3.

To switch back to the previous active Mode, just press the button again in the Settings or in the Input Dialog.

When the Sentence Mode is active, the values from the settings (see Fig. 11) in Language for Text Segmentation will be applied.
When the check at Use lang Attribute from Webpage is set, the software searches for the lang attribute in the current webpage that is nearest to the current mouse position.
When a lang attribute was found and when for the corresponding language there are segmentation rules available, these segmentation rules will be used even if at the drop down list a different language was chosen.
When the check at Use lang Attribute from Webpage is not set, always the segmentation rules belonging to the language from the drop down list will be used.

In Fig. 12 is shown how it looks like in the optimal case, when the Sentence Mode and the Singular Output Method are used in combination.
So in this case the hovered sentence will directly be transmitted to the translation service and its response will be displayed immediately.
The sentence segmentation works quite good with a lot of sources. But it's easy to find texts, where the segmentation still doesn't work properly.
Examples with faulty results are e.g. lists where the lines are not terminated with a period.
Such segmentation fault conditions and similar ones can be also found in this information page.
In the next versions, the segmentation rules possibly will be extended.
When the recognition of the sentence boundaries doesn't work properly, there is still the possibility to select the desired sentence (or several sentences) and to hand it over to the Input Dialog this way.

Sentence Mode
Fig. 12 - Sentence Mode



10.  Known Issues

Basic segmentation rules

As in chapter 9. Sentence Mode is denoted, the rules for the sentence segmentation are still incomplete and therefore don't give always the expected result.
It's possible to achieve better results in extending the segmentation rules.
But even with widely enhanced segmentation rules the used algorithm will not always deliver correct results.
In such cases there is the possibility to select the desired sentence (or several sentences) and to hand it over to the Input Dialog this way.
The here used algorithm is simple enough to be integrated in an Extension and works satisfactory in many use cases.

Input Dialog display faults in Quirks Mode

When the Browser must render a page in quirks mode the Input Dialog is not displayed correctly.
Then certain distances and sizes of buttons don't always appear correct.
In a next version it shall be analyzed if there is a way to circumvent this problem.

Handling of the Input Dialog is not always intuitive

Making the Input Dialog to appear on hovering over text appears to work acceptable.
But making the Input Dialog to disappear, when you want to proceed to near word or sentence, is not always as simple as you'd expect.
There are ideas around to improve this behavior which will be applied in a next version.

Text boundaries not always correct in Sentence Mode

In Sentence Mode when sentences span several lines, sometimes the surrounding boundary lines are faulty.
In a next version this problem will be tried to be solved.

Browser Start opens Help Page

The Help Page is opened on every Browser Start.
It was intended that the Help Page would be shown only when Query Bench is installed.
In the next version this should not happen any more.




11.  Search Parameter Modules

For this subject see Modules.