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Bookmarks/Favorites Mgmt

Like many of you, I use a few different computers during the course of a day, and both IE and Firebird depending on what I'm doing. I also create tons of bookmarks along the way. What tools and techniques do you use to keep these things straight?

One of stupidest things about Firebird is that it uses an html file to store bookmarks on Windows. This is dumb because Windows has a system facility for storing and organizing bookmarks.

One thought that crossed my mind is using the Blogger button on the Google Toolbar to create a blog of all my bookmarks. That seems less than ideal (but might make for an interesting blog).

I also seem to recall something like a Yahoo toolbar which stores your bookmarks at Yahoo. I'd rather not put another toolbar on my browser, which does 8 billion things I don't need, just to keep my bookmarks on a server.

I might be able to use a PDA, or USB key, or my iPod to keep my bookmarks on a portable storage device. And just plug that into whatever computer I'm using. But there are numerous drawbacks with those approaches.

I seem to recall another article somebody sent me once, where you could tell IE and Windows to use another location to store favorites. Perhaps I could tell it to use my ftp server. That would probably be very slow, though, and not work with Firebird.

Any other ideas?

Monday, December 29, 2003

A bit off topic but I believe why Firebird uses an HTML file is for this exact reason, you can store your bookmarks file on a remote machine and access it from all other machines.

Monday, December 29, 2003

Well, the blog thing is being done:
and it can make an interesting read. ;)

Or you could set up your own bookmark server:

One thing I have run across which is useful, especially when you have 8,000,000 links, is something to kill the dead ones. 
AM-DEAD-Link works fairly well and is not destructive unless you wish it to be.

Monday, December 29, 2003

heh - with all respect, dmooney, you're showing your age...

or, lack thereof.  Back in the day, when IE 3 was a lame joke humping Netscape's leg, netscape kept it's bookmarks in an html file.

One of the "neat" tricks at the time was to bookmark your bookmark html file, and you'd have a convenient launch page for all your links. marginally more convenient than using the bookmark UI from the menu, or simply make the bookmark file the default homepage.  probably sounds lame now, I guess.

I'm not specifically trying to slam Microsoft or IE, but I don't like the fact that IE has chosen to use some binary format piece of shit for internet shortcuts. I wish IE kept their bookmarks as a single html file like old NS used to.

Of course, I guess MS was thinking that they wanted shortcuts to go anywhere, making the destination transparent -- whether it was on the local file system or 10,000 miles away on a web server someplace. I guess that's why all their "shortcuts" are binary (though you can see text in them if you poke around). Maybe they didn't think they could or just didn't want to try to do that with an html format.

more gray than you
Monday, December 29, 2003

"IE has chosen to use some binary format piece of shit for internet shortcuts"

Um, it's a very simple INI format text file.  Has an advantage over a straight HTML file with A tags in that it understands subframe locations, too.

What it does do very differently is that it uses the filesystem to store lots of links, each in one file. Like you might stick a bunch of symlinks in your home directory on a unix system. Then it uses the shell API to manage the files.

Big advantage: it's easy to use the file system to manage lots of items coming from lots of applications.

Disadvantage: it's hard to share lots of little files across multiple machines/networks. files are a little bit easier. it's also often slower to read lots of files from the filesystem than it is to read a a single file into memory and parse it. Also, there are some weird security holes in this model (e.g. a frame with a subframe pointing to the 'wrong' site) which make sharing .url files considered a security risk.

Monday, December 29, 2003

mb wrote:
"IE has chosen to use some binary format piece of shit for internet shortcuts"

Um, it's a very simple INI format text file.

you're right. I was wrong regarding the file format.

thanks for the correction.

more gray than you
Monday, December 29, 2003

HTML or binary format isn't the important difference to me, I guess. I think it might be less convenient to synchronize to html files of bookmarks than it would be to copy one set of .URL files into a directory containing another set of .url files. .URL files aren't binary at all, they are text structured in the .INI style. Here's the contents of my Yahoo Movies .URL file:


Perhaps if they designed .URL files today, they would use XML and a text based Modified date instead. It matters little.

Storing a bunch of .URL files in a remote location doesn't seem too much harder than storing a single HTML file. Neither does creating a shortcut in my Favorites folder TO my Favorites folder.

Anyway, I just think it is annoying that Firebird doesn't put my bookmarks on the start menu where my IE favorites go. And I think it is annoying that even on the same computer, my bookmarks and favorites can't stay in sync without some amount of twiddling. It is Microsoft's OS after all. Microsoft have said this is the way to store favorites on our OS, please use this method. The Netscape/Mozilla developers have chosen to ignore this facility and it is making their product less usable as a result.

I wonder if Max OS X has a system facility for bookmarks and if the Mozilla-based browsers on Mac use it or use the html file (or maybe the system facility is an html file).

I understand they wanted to use the html file for operating systems which did not already have a bookmark facility. Including Windows 3.1, Windows 95 and Windows NT. But Windows 98, ME, 2000 and XP all have Favorites integrated into the OS. 98 came out around 6 years ago! They've rewritten the Mozilla browser from scratch since then!

Monday, December 29, 2003

Making a phone call mid-post is probably not advisable in active topics, as my post became largely redundant.

Anyway, aside from the Netscape/Microsoft incompatibility, is there nothing less than a custom bookmarks server or a blog that one can use to keep their favorites in sync?

Monday, December 29, 2003

Open IE and select File -> Import and Export...  This allows you to export favorites in the Netscape bookmark.htm format.  Assuming you program, it's trivial to automate this using ImportExportFavorites (and it can be used to post the bookmarks to a server). 

Monday, December 29, 2003

That is an excellent tip! I could write a little plug-in or something to do this occasionally. :)

Monday, December 29, 2003

K-meleon (which is a Win32 shell around the Mozilla rendering engine) has both a Favorites and a Bookmarks menu.  I beleive the the Favorites menu is just a view into Windows' favorites. 

Monday, December 29, 2003

If you have a lot of bookmarks, PowerMarks is good, but doesn't work with Firebird. ( )

It also stores your bookmarks in a .htm file. All I do is FTP it up to my server and I can access them from anywhere, download it and import it into PowerMarks somewhere else, or hit CTRL + F to find a link based on keywords.

I guess you could do the same with Firebird, just do a diff / merge to combine two sets of bookmarks.
Tuesday, December 30, 2003

I was looking into the same thing this past week.

Netscape 4 had "roaming profiles" that would strore bookmarks and settings.  The functionality is being worked on for Mozilla and looks like it will be included in the next release:

If you can wait a couple months this will probably be the way to go.

Steve H
Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Regarding OS X, I have five browsers and tehy all put bookmarks in a different place. If there is a system facility, no one seems to know about it. Would LOVE to have all my browsers share the same bookmarks.

Ed the Millwright
Tuesday, December 30, 2003

The advantage of an .html file is that you can use the same bookmarks in Windows and Linux.

The Favorites folder can be placed anywhere. I believe you can simply cut and paste it, and Windows will make the requisite registry changes., but if not simply go to H_KEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\ShellFolders and ...\UserShellfolders.
and change the location.

Stephen Jones
Wednesday, December 31, 2003


john manoogian III
Monday, April 12, 2004

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