Capture, Reuse and Share Your Web Browsing History With Friends and Colleagues - Try It Out and Tell Us What You Think

Following is a guest post from Jeffrey Nichols on the CoScripter team at IBM Research - Almaden in San Jose, CA.

CoScripter Reusable History is a new tool from IBM Research that extends the web history capability of your Firefox web browser. The tool is now available for download from the IBM Research Labs Experimental Technology site.

I know what you're thinking...I don't use the built-in history tool in my web browser now, so why would I use CoScripter Reusable History? I think there are a couple answers. First, our new tool records history at the level of interactions, such as clicking on a link or entering text into a form field, instead of the typical page-based model of traditional web history systems. With today's modern web sites, if I want to be able to navigate back to a page in the future, I often find that saving the URL is not sufficient. Instead, I need to remember the exact set of actions that took me to that page, which is exactly what CoScripter Reusable History does for me.

The second, and even more important, answer is that CoScripter Reusable History makes it easy to share sequences of actions from your history with other users. This is possible because each interaction in your history is recorded as a string of natural-sounding text that is easily understood by people (borrowed from our existing CoScripter technology). If you copy a sequence of actions out of your history and paste it into an e-mail, then the recipient of that e-mail can repeat the interactions just by reading the e-mail. Of course, if the recipient has CoScripter installed, then the interactions can be repeated for them automatically. CoScripter Reusable History also supports sharing sequences of actions through social networking tools, like Twitter and Facebook.

I have been using CoScripter Reusable History for more than a year on my primary computer, and I've found it to be very useful. If a colleague has a question about an internal business process that I've gone through, such as a corporate naming request, I can simply search my recorded history, copy out the relevant actions, and share them with my colleague. A similar process could be used for explaining how I got into a problem situation with a help desk, submitting a bug report, or communicating a business process change to a worldwide team. Given the difficulty of communicating processes, and the fact that many business processes are now done through the web, I think that CoScripter Reusable History will be useful tool for enterprises and individuals alike.

For more information, watch the demonstration video above, read a technical report, or try out the software for yourself.

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