Using robots to make a bookmarklet for the Wayback Machine

As I dig through and repost the archives of J’s Notes I’m finding a ton of dead links because twenty plus years is a LOOOOOONG time on the Internet and things go away. But thanks to the Wayback Machine you can find a lot of lost digital history with a quick search. But cut and pasting each link into a search is tedious, so maybe there’s a way to shortcut with a bookmark that has a little code to do the work for me.

So let’s ask ChatGPT!

After a little tweaking, some testing, minor back and forth with ChatGPT, and a total of 15 minutes, the following code did the trick:

javascript:(function() {
  var currentUrl = window.location.href;'*/' + currentUrl, '_blank');

To use:

  1. Create a new bookmark in your browser.
  2. Edit the bookmark’s URL field.
  3. Copy and paste the code above into the URL field.
  4. Give the bookmark a name (e.g. “Find Cache”).
  5. Save the bookmark.

Sure, I probably could have just Googled this, but even some of those answers didn’t work when testing afterwards. And using ChatGPT and working through the process helped me learn a thing or two about life, love, and javascript. It got the process started a lot quicker than if I’d tried to do this from scratch and I was able to get to iteration right away.

And this is where I think the true value of ChatGPT is (right now at least). Rough first drafts that you can then edit and build off of and make your own. I wouldn’t recommend it for “original” content — because it’s not original, it’s aggregated and filtered from other people’s work — but for non-proprietary work or learning the basics of something it can go a long way to saving some time and effort.

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