andEs Corner: Replacing delicious in firefox

So my latest mini project at home is to try and replace the social bookmarking & tagging  service with something more local since firefox also introduced local tagging. This is not just interesting for replacing delicious but also interesting if you want to move away from folders and towards the much better method of finding: tagging. I, at least, think it is easier to find something based on many keywords or tags than trying to remember the one folder I stored something. But maybe I am just getting senile.

In order to do this I need to replace the parts of delicious that I was actually using:
1. sync bookmarks between my 3 major PCs
2. search based also on tags
3. bookmark in a neat way, such that I can also tag all in one window and with one click
If you are using delicious to share bookmarks with other people then I think you need to stay with it; for this delicious is perfect but I don’t use this. The only other requirement I have is to import the thousands of pages I have tagged in delicious over the last three years or so.

After much messing around I managed to do most of this with the help of only a few firefox addons:
1. firefox sync plugin (based on the mozilla weave project)
I have activated here via the sync preferences only bookmarks and passwords. The history, preferences and tabs do not fit to how I work with firefox and my PCs and so I am currently not using this.
The only problem I had with this was when I tried to export/import bookmarks from delicious. Here I ended up with a HUGE amount of untagged bookmarks in my main bookmarks menu. It took a LOT of messing around to get rid of this mess. As there is no way of importing the tags I am currently living with searching delicious for my old bookmarks and now all new stuff is being added locally.

2. Toolbar Buttons
There should be an easier way of doing this but I simply wanted one icon on my toolbar for bookmarking the side I am on with one click (and not right mouse key which is not so easy on my eeepc. So I added I think 60 buttons which come in this set and picked out the one for bookmark this page.

3. handy tag plugin
When I press the bookmark button (or even bookmark this page from the menu) firefox does not automatically present you with a field for adding tags. Well, with this addon it not only offers this field but also offers 4 handy little buttons where you can search for proposals to tag with (one of the nice things about delicious if other people have bookmarked this page). It uses four sources: your own tags, delicious, the webpage’s keywords and KGen. This is not essential but a useful addon for this purpose as quite often I can’t think of what tag to give.
I tried lots of other addons, some of which looked handy but in the end the newest firefox actually provided most of the functionality I needed in just as comfortable a method – of course you may need some other functionality to me – which is to me the beauty of firefox addons: users get to choose the features they want thus avoiding application bloat. It does seem that firefox is concentrating in adding more tagging functionality so before you look for an addon check what your latest version can do by itself.

Now I can easily bookmark and tag and then search using default firefox functionality based on tags even better than delicious as the awesome bar seems to manage to find quite quickly URLs or tags containing the text you entered and even shows you in the result list whether the match refers to the tag or the URL.

The one thing that does not currently work (and no googled solutions worked anymore) is the import of delicious bookmarks including the tags. This is not a delicious issue (they export in html form, keeping all of the tags) but firefox will only import .json files with tags – html file import loses the tags.
I am currently using firefox 3.6.8 which right now is the up2date released version – so I hope in some future version this will work. I will provide an update on this when / if I resolve it.


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