Click for Apple's Sherlock page!

Building a Sherlock™ Plug-in!

Click for Apple's Sherlock page!
[ About issp_builder | Download isspbuilder | What is Sherlock? | Contact Me! ]
(This site designed for 640x480 resolution and checked in Netscape 4.0 )


Part 1: Find a web site and decide if it should have a plug-in.

[ About issp_builder | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 ]

Step 1a:

Surf the internet and find a web site you would like to "Sherlock"


Look for a "search box" somewhere on the web site.

(Example: Here's Beaucoup!, an excellent resource for searching the internet)


Step 1b:

Does a Sherlock plug-in already exists for the web site you've chosen?


Here are some places to look:

  • At the web site itself.
  • At Apple Computer's Sherlock Plug-in page.
  • At another Sherlock-related website (some are listed on my links page).

Granted, it's less fun to use someone else's plug-in, but don't worry: There's plenty of web sites out there to try!

Step 1c:

Have you seen Apple Computer's tutorials on Sherlock?


While I'm flattered you're reading my instructions, you may first want to check out these two Apple Tech Notes on Sherlock, covering:

  1. How to write a Sherlock plug-in, (Apple Tech Note #1141, and it's only 1 page long)
  2. How Webmasters can take advantage of Sherlock & it's "Find By Content" feature (Apple Tech Note #1180, geared more towards programmers)

Step 1d:

Would it be worth creating a Sherlock plug-in for the web site you've selected?


  • Take a quick look around web page:

If the web site's Search feature:

Here's why you may not want to make a plug-in.

  • Requires you to log in before using it's search feature(s).

When running Sherlock, you can only enter the word, words or phrases you are looking for. If you need to login or enter a password first, a Sherlock plug-in can't be written.

  • Uses a search form that lets you enter more than one or two search criteria

The Sherlock plug-in would have to pre-specify all of the search criteria except one: It is possible to write a Sherlock plug-in, but it might be overly restrictive.

  • Offers a number of different search options you could use.

You would probably need to create a plug-in for each possible search option: This could result in a lot of Sherlock plug-ins, a time-consuming task.

  • Now run a quick search at the web site using a word or phrase you know will find some information:

If the search results:

Here's why you may not want to make a plug-in.

  • Are displayed in a novel or graphical format. (example:

Sherlock will probably not be able to display the results: It can only handle results displayed as lists.

  • Don't contain any web links.

Sherlock wouldn't display any results at all: It's designed to key off of web links found in the search results.


As you gain experience in making Sherlock plug-ins, you'll know which web sites to "Sherlock".


Still want to create a Sherlock Plug-in? Great! Let's continue:

Step 1e:

Gather your Sherlock plug-in building tools!


  • When I'm writing a Sherlock plug-in, I use these tools:

    Tools for Building Sherlock Plug-ins

    A text-editing program
    (BBEdit Lite works best, and it's free!)

    A Browser, to view the web page and its' HTML Source Code.
    (such as Netscape, iCab, Internet Explorer, or even AOL 4.0 or above)

    Click for Apple's Sherlock page!

    Sherlock, to test your plug-in.


    A Sherlock plug-in!

    You'll be using this plug-in as a guide to help build your plug-in.

    1. Open the System Folder and look for a folder called "Internet Search Sites".
    2. Open this folder, and you'll find some plug-ins (or folders of plug-ins) to choose from.
    3. Copy one of the plug-ins and move it to the Desktop: Do not use the original!


    If you are going to create a custom icon for your plug-in, copy a plug-in that already has a custom icon.
    Otherwise, just copy a plug-in that uses Sherlock's default icon
    , shown at the right:

    Click for Apple's Sherlock page!

(click here for Part 2)

[ About issp_builder | Download isspbuilder | What is Sherlock? | Contact Me! ]

AOL's Home Page!
It's Made on a Mac!
Find out about Filemaker's HomePage 3.0
Check out MicroFrontier's ColorIt!

Disclaimer: These plug-ins and any associated programs at this website have been provided to make your searching with Sherlock more convenient & productive. While they have been thoroughly tested & work just fine on my Macintosh, they are provided "as is" without warranty or remedy of any kind: You assume any risks in using this software, and are solely responsible for any outcome resulting from such use. Unless explicitly stated, these plug-ins were created solely by the Author through direct examination & use of the websites mentioned, and are neither endorsed nor supported by Apple Computer or the specific websites they are designed to work with.

Copyright: While this information is available free of charge, it is not in the Public Domain. Copyright is claimed on all material presented on this page, as well as any files linked to this page that have been created by the Author of this site. Plug-ins may be distributed provided the entire folder of information is distributed without alteration. If you would like to distribute them in a collection, CD-ROM or by other mass duplication means, contact me for permission. Thanks.

Questions? Comments? Plug-ins? Contact me! I welcome any questions, comments, suggestions, plug-ins or links you may have.


  • Mac and the Mac logo are trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. The Made on a Mac Badge is a trademark of Apple Computer, Inc., used with permission.

Any other trademarks, service marks, or icons mentioned/shown in this document are the property of their respective owners, and it is not the intention of this site to dilute or compromise such marks: Contact me if you wish your mark to be acknowledged or removed from this site. - Free Stats for your WebSite!
keeping my stats since 06-23-00 (thanks!)