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Posted on:November 6, 2022

In this post, we’re going to look into what is a bookmarklet, why they are useful, and how to create one yourself.

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What is a bookmarklet?

A bookmarklet is a way to run some javascript using bookmarks. Essentially, instead of storing a URL to a website in a bookmark, we can store javascript code that will execute when we open the bookmark.

Why are bookmarklets useful?

Bookmarklets can give us easy access to frequently used scripts that we need to run on websites. Instead of storing the script on GitHub or a file somewhere, we can store it in a bookmark and run it with the click of a mouse.

They’re also easily sharable. It’s a lot easier to convince my friends to create a bookmark with a script in it than to ask them to open the developer console and paste in a script. Bookmarks are familiar, the developer console is not.

I recently created a bookmarklet to scroll through a long list of 300+ images on a website and download the high resolution images one by one. Creating a bookmarklet made it super convenient for when I needed to run the script again, I just clicked the bookmark and the script was running.

How to create a bookmarklet

First we’ll create a script. For our example, we’ll have a simple script that simple shows an alert.

alert("Hello world!");

Next, we’ll “bookmarklet-ify” it! To do that, we simple wrap the script in an IIFE (immediately invoked function expression) and throw javascript: in front of it.

javascript: (function () {
  alert("Hello world!");

Now we create a bookmark and paste the above code as the URL for the bookmark and save it.

You can now click on the bookmark and you’ll get an alert that says “Hello world!”

What ideas do you have for bookmarklets?