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Minor mode for defining and querying search engines through Emacs.

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MELPA Melpa Stable Status License: GPL v3

is a global minor mode for Emacs. It enables you to easily define search engines, bind them to keybindings, and query them from the comfort of your editor.


For example, suppose we want to be able to easily search GitHub:

(defengine github

This defines an interactive function

. When executed it will take the selected region (or prompt for input, if no region is selected) and search GitHub for it, displaying the results in your default browser.


macro can also take an optional key combination, prefixed with
(which defaults to "C-x /"). That keybinding will be wrapped in a call to
(defengine duckduckgo
  :keybinding "d")

C-x / d
is now bound to the new function
! Nifty.

If you'd like to see a video on the whys and wherefores of this mode, check out the talk @hrs gave at EmacsNYC.


is available on MELPA.

You can also install it like any other elisp file by adding it to your load path and globally enabling it:

(require 'engine-mode)
(engine-mode t)

Changing your default browser

uses the
variable to determine which browser it should use to open the URL it constructs. To change the default browser, redefine
. For example, to always use Emacs' built-in
(setq engine/browser-function 'eww-browse-url)

defaults to
, which Emacs uses globally to open links.

The implementation of the

variable contains a comprehensive list of possible browser functions. You can get to that by hitting
C-h v browser-url-browser-function 
and following the link to

Changing your browser on a per-engine basis

To only change the browser for a single engine, use the

keyword argument when you define the engine. For example, to use
only for your GitHub search results, try:
(defengine github
  :browser 'eww-browse-url)

As mentioned about, see the implementation of the

for a definitive list of browsers.

Changing the keymap prefix

The default keymap prefix for

C-x /
. If you'd like to bind the keymap to an additional prefix (say,
C-c s
), you totally can:
(engine/set-keymap-prefix (kbd "C-c s"))

Custom docstrings

assigns each engine a reasonable default docstring, but you can override that on a case-by-case basis with the
keyword argument:
(defengine ctan
  :docstring "Search the Comprehensive TeX Archive Network (ctan.org)")

Modifying the search term before sending it

An engine might want to transform a search term in some way before it interpolates the term into the URL. Maybe the term should have a different encoding, or be capitalized differently, or, uh, be passed through ROT13. Whatever the reason, you can apply a custom transformation to a search term by passing a function to

through the
keyword argument.

For example, to UPCASE all of your DuckDuckGo searches:

(defengine duckduckgo
  :term-transformation-hook upcase)

Or, to ensure that all your queries are encoded as latin-1:

(defengine diec2
  :term-transformation-hook (lambda (term) (encode-coding-string term latin-1))
  :keybinding "c")

Importing keyword searches from other browsers

Since many browsers save keyword searches using the same format as engine-mode (that is, by using

in a url to indicate a search term), it's not too hard to import them into Emacs.

@sshaw has written a script to import from Chrome on OS X. Thanks for that!

Engine examples

(defengine amazon

(defengine duckduckgo "https://duckduckgo.com/?q=%s" :keybinding "d")

(defengine github "https://github.com/search?ref=simplesearch&q=%s")

(defengine google "http://www.google.com/search?ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&q=%s" :keybinding "g")

(defengine google-images "http://www.google.com/images?hl=en&source=hp&biw=1440&bih=795&gbv=2&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&q=%s")

(defengine google-maps "http://maps.google.com/maps?q=%s" :docstring "Mappin' it up.")

(defengine project-gutenberg "http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/search/?query=%s")

(defengine qwant "https://www.qwant.com/?q=%s")

(defengine rfcs "http://pretty-rfc.herokuapp.com/search?q=%s")

(defengine stack-overflow "https://stackoverflow.com/search?q=%s")

(defengine twitter "https://twitter.com/search?q=%s")

(defengine wikipedia "http://www.wikipedia.org/search-redirect.php?language=en&go=Go&search=%s" :keybinding "w" :docstring "Searchin' the wikis.")

(defengine wiktionary "https://www.wikipedia.org/search-redirect.php?family=wiktionary&language=en&go=Go&search=%s")

(defengine wolfram-alpha "http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=%s")

(defengine youtube "http://www.youtube.com/results?aq=f&oq=&search_query=%s")

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