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Greasemonkey Hacks by Mark Pilgrim

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Hack #66. Add Saved Searches to Gmail

Keep often-used searches at your fingertips.

Gmail is Google's web mail application. In addition to the large amount of space that it provides, the main thing that sets it apart from the competition is the fact that its user interface is search-driven. It is therefore unfortunate that you must retype searches that you perform frequently. Many client-side email applications, such as Mozilla's Thunderbird, Gnome's Evolution, and Apple's Mail allow saved searches (also known as persistent searches or smart folders). This hack adds a similar feature to Gmail.

The Code

This user script runs on the Gmail domain only. Initialization is rather complex, since the hack must create its own Gmail sidebar module. To make it easier to match the appearance of our sidebar with the rest of the Gmail interface, we use the CSS rules array to create a consistent set of CSS rules that we can reference later.

Each saved search is represented by a PersistentSearch object. Since searches must be saved across sessions, each object can be serialized to and deserialized from a string that we can then use with GM_getValue and GM_setValue. Additionally, each search can display how many results match it. To accomplish this, we use an XMLHttpRequest object to actually invoke the search URL, and then we parse the number of results from the response text. We cache the number of results to minimize hits on the Gmail server. Finally, we execute the search by calling Gmail's own ...

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