A Comparison of Bookmarking Tools
I've started switching desktops more and more often now, and one of the most annoying problems is losing bookmarks which you added on some other computer. Of course there are a lot of tools out there specifically written to solve this problem, so all I have to do is pick one right? Well, being slightly obsessive compulsive I drew up a list of requirements and set out to find the best one to solve my network-enabled bookmarking problem.
Here is the list of features that I came up with:
After much searching and browsing forums, I wittled the competition down to the following main contenders:
There were a few others which I glanced at, but which didn't capture enough of my interest to make it into the final review:
Here is the final comparison table of each of the tools:
* must allow browse and edit capability
The table shows that Netvouz has the best feature set to match my requirements, but unfortunately the plugin only offers basic bookmarklet functionality. I soon discovered that a good plugin really was my #1 requirement (along with network access obviously), and the rest were very secondary to this.
I was initially quite excited about the Yahoo! bookmarks tool because it had folders and tags, however it quickly let me down. The Web UI is very slow and cludgy. I hadn't planned to use the Web UI much, so this wouldn't be a problem, except that the Firefox toolbar looks more like a 'spambar'. So, while Yahoo! had a decent set of features, the UIs didn't have that seamlessly integrated feel I was looking for.
Enter del.icio.us. The del.icio.us plugin felt great - it was fast, looked good and common functionality was easily accessed. As delicious doesn't have support for folders, the plugin creates a hierarchy by enumerating all possible combinations of your tags. For me, this creates a lot of mess in the sidebar since I use a lot of tags which are purely meta information and only really useful in search. The plugin does have a 'favourite tags' feature, but this is a local setting and is not shared across computers.
Simpy had an interesting feature for sharing bookmarks amongst a private group, but again, the plugin was a bit rusty and didn't match up the native Firefox bookmarks manager.
Google Bookmarks suffered from the same problem. Although there are several plugins available I was unable to find any that were really great.
As it turns out, I got frustrated with all of these products - perhaps my habits are too entrenched with the regular Firefox bookmarks. I find that the Firefox bookmarks UI is just so much more efficient for organising your bookmarks.
I also noticed that bookmarks search and synchronizing is on the list of features for Firefox 3. As such, I've decided to wait for Firefox 3 for a permanent solution to the problem. Until then, I'm using Google Browser Sync to keep my bookmarks synchronized on each of my desktops. Its working quite nicely for me so far .
... and it wasn't even on the list of contenders (although Foxmarks is quite similar).
Roger is an active member of the JSF 2 Expert Group and is happy to be a contributor to the Java Community. He has been writing software since the age of 8 and his other interests include languages, psychology, travel and running.