Searching CPAN from Firefox


David Filmer posted a snazzy Firefox trick that puts a CPAN search in the search dropdown in Firefox. Works wonderfully.


I like to keep the search box just for Google, because the rest involves visual interaction (you can't just hit a bunch of keys, but have to visually verify that you're selecting what you think you are).

Fortunately, Firefox has had another very useful feature for ages, bookmark keywords. Bookmark (yes, a literal %s), and give the bookmark a keyword of "cpan". Then you can just type "cpan dbix" in the *address bar* to search CPAN for "dbix".

Yeah, I like the keyword bookmarks, too. For a while, I had "cpan" for an "All" search, "cpanmod" for just module name, and so on.

A similar technique can be used with Safari on Mac OS X and the Inquisitor search add-on by David Watanbe ( ). I do this for both and and

wow =)

here's how to do that in Opera (Opera haters stop reading here):

Go to, right-click on the search field and click "Create Search". Type in a nickname, e.g. "cp". Click Ok.

Now you can do a cpan search just by typing "cp DBI" into the addressline. No mouse involved for searching =)

Probably easier to just install one from here:

There are a couple there for perldoc as well.


back in the day, I created a Google custom search engine instance for all things Perl. You can access it

It already offers a Firefox quick search dropdown and you can additionally filter the results you get from one of the pre-defined labels (Usenet, CPAN, documentation etc).

I hope somebody else finds this useful, it has saved me from going to Google and manually looking for something numerous times. Suggestions on how to improve it are more than welcome.

After some correction of the XML, I installed it in /usr/lib/firefox/searchplugins/.

But how do I actually invoke it from within Firefox? Much to my surprise, when I google for "Firefox plugins" nothing comes up which tells me how to *use* plugins that are manually installed like this one.

I've added a comment to the original usenet post about the benefits of Google Suggest, and how to add them to your own search plugins.

It's one thing I don't think you can do with the location bar search keywords.

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