CSS and Web development search engines

In October 2006 Google extended their Co-op platform with Custom Search Engine, which lets anybody create a specialised search engine (and earn money from it if they want to).

I’m aware of three custom search engines of interest for Web professionals:

While custom search engines are an interesting concept I find myself somewhat wary of using them. Not because there’s anything wrong with them, but because I can’t help wondering if what I’m looking for is on a site that the custom search engine has not added to its index.

Only Ergonosearch has a list of indexed sites. You can see which sites are indexed by CSS Search, but only by creating a Google account and logging in. I can’t find any way of finding out which sites Sparkl indexes.

I think giving visitors easy access to a list of indexed sites would remove most of that feeling of uncertainty and make me trust specialised search engines more.

Are you aware of any other Google CSEs related to Web development?

Posted on December 19, 2006 in CSS, Quicklinks, Web Standards


  1. Now if it was possible to add these engines to Firefox search bar, that would be great. Or is it ?

  2. http://www.google.com/custom?cx=011981465838016726163%3Amxtopuyuges&q=child+selector&sa=Search&cof=CX%3ACSS%2520Search%3BFORID%3A0&client=google-coop cleaned becomes: http://www.google.com/custom?cx=011981465838016726163%3Amxtopuyuges&q=child+selector Cleaned further, this appears to display “found count” and use the “second find” indent, but I’m not sure it hasn’t reverted to a regular google search (better to compare results of cleaned url to bloated url, with more obscure searchphrase): http://www.google.com/custom?mxtopuyuges&q=child+selector

    that should be enough sample url parameters to create a meyerweb searchplugin by editing a copy of the regular google searchplugin

    [NOTE: to read the above long urls, grab and drag into text editor. this comment display is not wrapping (at least it isn’t wrapping in preview mode).]

  3. December 20, 2006 by Deborah

    No, I don’t believe you don’t need to be logged in to Google to find out what sites are indexed in CSS Search. Eric highlights the five indexed websites on his CSS Search home page. The CSS Search home page is a link found in the second to last paragraph on page you linked to Eric’s site in your bulleted list above.

    The five sites are w3schools, positioniseverything, css-discuss, w3 org and westciv.

  4. Actually, you are only able to see sites you added while logged in Google coop. You can’t really see sites added by the other people.

  5. December 20, 2006 by Jeff L

    How about Rollyo? They offer a basic web design search roll. http://www.rollyo.com/createroll.html?sid=334

  6. Hi Roger,

    Thanks for mentionning Ergonosearch :)

    The default Google homepage only shows 5 websites, I think it is the last entries. The only way to display all websites to any visitor is to do it by hand (which is pretty easy given you can download your data in TSV and XML).

  7. Post-scriptum : Oh and John Mueller set up a Firefox plugin to use Ergonosearch : http://mycroft.mozdev.org/download.html?name=ergonosearch

    For some reason unknown for me, the interface slightly differs (no logo and link to the homepage) but result pages are fonctionnal). If you can point me to some tutorial to develop a Firefox search plugin, I would be grateful :)

  8. December 20, 2006 by Tuteken

    I made a search engine with Google co-op focused towards web design. Mostly for personal use, but I thought that other people might find it useful.


  9. Here’s a little one I made: http://google.com/coop/cse?cx=016657482512286676692%3Acd2-pxgpfiy

    It probably isn’t as good as some others, and I mainly use it to extend a “specification lookup” thing I use.

  10. And another one for CakePHP framework developers: CakePHP Search Engine

  11. Jeff L: Yeah I was thinking about Rollyo and wanted to know if it was possible to get the same “add to firefox search” functionality. Nevertheless, I’ve created my own engine on Rollyo: CSS styled

  12. Just to add another one to the list: Web Designer’s Search.

  13. Now if it allowed you to customise the way the spider works, that would be useful, like ‘enable keywords’

  14. Hi Roger! Thank you for covering this topic and sharing these great resources with other web designers. I’m a little late getting here with the holidays and all, but I did want to address your mention on the listing of sites that are being indexed by Sparkl.us.

    The issue I have with displaying a list of indexed sites is that anyone can come along, copy your URLs, and instantly create a new CSE (Custom Search Engine). This means that the time and energy spent collecting great sites and resources can be instantly duplicated by anyone who opts to do so. In fact, outside of the algorithm that determines and sorts results, I think that a search engine’s index is its most valuable asset. It is what separates one search engine from the next.

    If someone wants to check if a site is included within a CSE, simply search for it. If it is not found, feel free to submit it to the site you’re using. Speaking for Sparkl.us, I welcome user submissions and personally filter them to keep the index clean.

    My goal is not only to provide quick and relevant results to web designer related resources, but to also deliver results that Google may overlook or may not prioritize. I believe at this time that Google (or Yahoo) will still serve as most web designers’ primary search tools, and the CSEs will be the tool of last resort in many cases. But I think once a CSE can prove itself, mature and make searching convenient (toolbars, plugins, etc.), this will change.

    Nick – Google does have a great feature called refinements. This allows you to essentially tag a URL in your index with a keyword. Now the effects of the tag / refinement are not found within the normal result listings, but are displayed when you click on the links located above the main results. On my site, I have included a refinement for only del.icio.us at this point. In the near future, I will have many other refinements posted to deliver even more tailored results.

    Happy Holidays to all!


  15. December 29, 2006 by Monique

    For Cerebral: It is possible if the developers set it up or give someone else permission to set it up. How to do that is explained here.



  16. Hi Roger,

    Thanks to the commentators, I have setup easy ways to include Ergonosearch in your browser, via the Googlebar, or via OpenSearch (for IE7 and FF2), in 2 clicks, see here : http://s.billard.free.fr/ergonosearch/

  17. January 5, 2007 by Roger Johansson (Author comment)


    Nice! I made the URL a live link :-).

  18. I think Google is onto something with their custom search engines. I recently made one at mapshark.com that indexes 700 map mashup websites. The search results produces 10 to 100 results rather than the hundreds of millions of results in a regular search on Google. Almost all of the results link directly to a map or a page at least one link away from a map.

    I think that these custom search engines are so great that Google will start linking to them from some of their pages. My goal is to eventually see Google link to mapshark.com on its Google Maps page. We’ll see.

  19. Hi Roger,

    Thanks for. This instrument has been of use for me very.

    Best regards


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