Tag Archives: firefox

Foxmarks: Bookmark Synchronization Heaven

Long have I searched for the magic bullet solution to my bookmark synchronization woes.  I’ve wanted a simple plugin that would synchronize my bookmarks between multiple installations of Firefox and Safari, thus making it simple to access said bookmarks from any computer, or between the two commonly used browsers on my Mac.  I’ve looked at many options, but always the solution only allows me to sync one browser or the other, leaving me looking for some secondary sync tool to get between Firefox and Safari on my Mac itself, not via network or a proper sync.

I’d almost given up on finding a solution, then, a few months ago I started using Delicious. It was cool because there were plugins for Safari, Firefox, and IE, and of course, it’s by default a web based bookmarking system. Its cool, I like it, but I just didn’t use it much. The plugins integrate it into the browser by giving you ANOTHER bookmarks menu, not by integrating with the browsers’ bookmark system.

Before ever using Safari or Delicious, my Firefox bookmark sync tool of choice was Foxmarks. It provided a web interface for remote access to my bookmarks, plus a nice sync interface for all my Firefox installations. I was randomly poking around today and discovered that Foxmarks now works with Safari and IE! I was excited and wasted no time installing Foxmarks for Safari. So far, it works great!

For the most part, it works just as you’d expect, bookmarks sync between all my Safari(Mac only, for now, I think) and Firefox(Mac, Linux, and Windows) installations without hassle. I’ve yet to try out the Internet Explorer functionality, but I’m guessing it works pretty well. I just don’t use IE enough to care.

One caveat to be aware of: both Firefox and Safari use some browser specific URL syntax to access internal functionality for recent bookmarks, etc. That stuff will only work on the browser where it was created, Safari on Safari, Firefox on Firefox, etc. For me, that’s a non issue, I rarely use those features. I have tested and confirmed that javascript bookmarklets (like for Tinyurl and Cornify) do seem to work after syncing. Those are about the only reason I use on the bookmark menubar.

Firefox 3 rc2 Is Out!

Since moving to the Mac, I’ve tried to use Safari almost exclusively. I definitely like it, and it’s got some great tools, but I usually found myself running back to Firefox 2 whenever I had to really do work on a website because I really like some the power Firefox extensions give me. A couple of the things NOT too like about Firefox 2 was the heavy memory usage, the crashing, and the lack of native Mac OS X widgets.

I’ve been playing with Firefox 3 betas off and on, but yesterday I noticed Firefox 3 release candidate 2 is out! This is likely going to be the last pre-release until the official launch, it has fixed a lot of bugs, and it solves some of my nagging issues. Memory usage is better, crashing less frequent, and we now have native widgets! Of course, I use Firefox for work, so to use FF3 I need my extentions which haven’t all been available till now:

Yesterday I mentioned this to my co-worker who expressed concern about being able to test in Firefox 2. We already have this issue with IE6/IE7 and there’s no good solution for that but to have an extra copy of Windows with only IE6 installed. (yes, you can try weird hacks like this, but they don’t always seem to work)

Well, with Firefox (old and new) there’s this snazzy profile manager tool, which lets you choose what profile you want to use.

First, if you want to have multiple copies of Firefox installed, just name them differently. When you download Firefox the app is named “Firefox” I’m planning to use Firefox 3 as my standard now, so I’ve left it named that renamed my old Firefox to “Firefox2”. Shocking, isn’t it.

Now, from Terminal, I can run the following:

$ /Applications/Firefox2.app/Contents/MacOS/firefox -ProfileManager

You should see something like this:

Firefox Profile Manager

By default, you’ll probably only have the “default” profile, but you can create a profile dedicated to testing in FF2 which should prevent it from screwing with my FF3 profile (as I’ve noticed can happen). Another side effect is that this lets you run multiple copies (of the different versions) of Firefox at once. Also, un-check the “Don’t ask at startup” box, and you won’t have to run the secondary browsers from the command-line to ensure you get the profile you intended.

For the record, I’ve tested the same thing on Windows XP. While you can install multiple copies/versions of Firefox and use the different profiles the same way, you cannot run both copies at the same time. At least I couldn’t make it work.

Safari Session Save & Restore with ForgetMeNot

My foray into the Mac OS X world is fraught with daily challenges as I try to learn my way around this new environment.

Firefox has long been my browser of choice on Windows and Linux. So now, I’ve used it on Mac, and while I still like it, I’ve felt the urge to try out “Mac native” apps such as the bundled Safari web browser. For the most part, switching to Safari meant learning new keyboard shortcuts, but one thing that was really killing me is that if I closed Safari or it crashed, I lost all my tabs. I am a pretty heavy user of the auto session save in Firefox.

So, I found ForgetMeNot. This great little GPL’d plugin for Safari does exactly what it says, it saves, then reloads windows and tabs when I relaunch Safari. No frills, no extras, no money (but please feel free to donate). I’m a fan of tools that do their job well. This one does it.