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3x3Links is a Speed-Dial-Style Browser Start Page. Here is the Blog with news about new features and background information.
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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A short History of 3x3Links

First, there was Chrome. Actually, there was Opera before, but I didn't know back then.

When opening a new tab in Chrome, a 3x3 grid with thumbshots of the websites visited last appears. How nice! I really dislike tiny links making it hard to aim at with your mouse.
I found out later this feature was called Speed-Dial. It should change my life forever.

Back then at my company we had a department startpage for our browser with all the important links to web applications and Intranet pages. It was a mess: A HTML page with 20 shortcuts build out of an icon and a caption. It looked like an untidy windows desktop.
We needed a redesign.

The demands:
  • Big links for fast mouse navigation
  • A possibility to group links into categories, e.g.: Inform, CRM, Webapps etc.
One and one came together and the GUI design was taken over from the Chrome Speed-Dial feature with several enhancements:
  • A link can not only point to websites, but also to another Speed-Dial page making it possible to group links
  • A maximum of 3 levels was established, because I thought 3 x 3 x 3 sounded cool
  • Firefox supports a CSS tag for rounded corners which was included, since I was using Firefox and it looked nice
  • The border color of folders became orange, since this was the color of folder icons in windows
  • Since I didn't want to take snapshots of all the Intranet applications, I took the logos, which looked much cooler
  • I added keyboard shortcuts based on the 1 to 9 keys on the keyboard number pad, since I was used to it by often typing numbers. I knew the position of the keys on the keyboard by heart and somehow it was also obvious: 9 links on the start page and 9 number keys, both arranged in a 3x3 grid.
At this point there was no, just an internal intranet start page for my department used by my colleagues. Now something dangerous happened: I got used to it.
Intranet News? - Press CTRL+T, 4, 8
DB List? - Press CTRL+T, 9, 9
I never called my favorites so fast. Here is a screenshot of the first 3x3Links, programmed in PL/SQL, running on a Oracle DB and with a HTML frontend:

Since I became addicted to the concept, I just wanted to use it also at home. But how should I get an Oracle DB and Application Server running at home? No way.

Luckily The Google App Engine came to my help. It was August 2008 and it was just released out of private beta. I just had to learn Python.

3x3Links was rewritten from the scratch in Python in one month going live first of November 2008. It was mentioned by Lifehacker [via Digital Inspiration] three days after the Alpha version has been released.
I was so excited, I couldn't sleep the whole night.

Since then a lot of new features based on user feedback have been added to 3x3Links as mentioned inside the change log. Starting now, all news regarding 3x3Links will be posted to this blog. Subscribe now to our RSS feed.

Thank you for using 3x3Links.


  1. Hi Brother Federico,

    Please see:

    Help Us spread His Living Word...

    And Thanks SO Much... <'((((><


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