Developers Take Note: DuckDuckHack Launched

Martin Brinkmann
May 2, 2012
Updated • Apr 26, 2015
Internet, Search

If you are a regular reader you know that I made the full switch to the DuckDuckGo search engine some time ago.

I had plenty of reasons for this move, from Google's pollution of the search results with ads and cross-promo of their own services over privacy concerns, to the fact that DuckDuckGo's results are pretty good, most of the time.

One thing that I really like about the search engine are the hacks that are displayed on top of the results. Hacks provide you with direct information and a link to the original source.

If you look up the name of a politician you may see a Wikipedia entry at the top, if you search for lyrics you may get the first lines of it right on the page.

The Goodies page highlights the sources that are currently integrated into the DuckDuckGo search engine. To improve the feature, DuckDuckHack was launched yesterday officially which aims to provide third party developers with the tools to create custom hacks for the search engine.

The search engine supports four different types of plugins:

  • Goodies, which are made up of calculations and cheat sheets.
  • Spice, which use external API calls to display information
  • Fathead, querying keyword databases
  • Longtail, accessing full-text data

Different programming or scripting languages are used depending on the plugin type. Goodies for instance are written in Perl, while Spice plugins in JavaScript.

Not all plugins that developers create will go live on the search engine. They are posted for discussion first, before they may or may not be integrated into the live search engine. Ideas by users without programming experience are posted on the same website, which may be a good starting point for developers who need inspiration.

While the makers of DuckDuckGo have the final say in this regard, it is unlikely that they will block the integration of a popular plugin. This may also be a great way of webmasters to bring their service in front of a larger audience. New plugins are announced over on Twitter.

What's your take on this development?


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  1. Jay said on May 2, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    Great article, Martin. Thanks for the info.

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