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enable simultaneously instances of FF on different machines to share bookmarks




Bookmarks & History
13 years ago
9 years ago


(Reporter: Frank J. Andersen, Unassigned)



Firefox Tracking Flags

(Not tracked)




13 years ago
I'm using sync2it.com service for synchronizing bookmarks/favorites between 7
pc, most running Firefox, and 2 of them both firefox and IE.

The service is great, but there is a problem because Firefox does not recognise
that the sync2it client makes changes to the bookmark file while Firefox is active. 
Firefox just overwrites the bookmarks file when closing...
This is of course a major problem as all pc's are used simultanious, and changes
may come at any time from any pc.

Acording to sync2it developer this might be a leftower from netscape behaviour... 

Suggest to make Firefox recognise external changes - and doing a re-read - or
maybe to let Firefox save only changes on exit.

If there is any good reason to keep this behaviour in Firefox - please tell so.
I've been searching the forum, but found no mention on this topic...


13 years ago
Summary: FF does not recognise external chnages to bookmarks file → FF does not recognise external changes to bookmarks file

Comment 1

13 years ago
This is just the way it works for now, and changing if to enable what you want
would probably require some quite deep change.

I'm changing this to an enhancement request, and modifying the description,
because a solution could be also internal to FF and not through an external
synchronization software.

If the instance of FF were not simultaneously running, you could use roaming
profile to do that. It's available only for Mozilla Suite 1.8 and as of now
poorly documented.
Severity: normal → enhancement
Ever confirmed: true
Summary: FF does not recognise external changes to bookmarks file → enable simultaneously instances of FF on different machines to share bookmarks

Comment 2

13 years ago
Firefox 1.0 is overwriting a newer bookmarks.html file upon exit.  In our case, 
Sync2It's BookmarkSync has created a modified bookmarkset that gets 
overwritten, but it could be any external edit of the file.  This seems to be 
improper behavior, not a feature request, as it should at least check the 
timestamp of the bookmarks.html file and warn about the impending overwrite.  

Another possibility would be to allow a 'freshen' feature, whereby the user 
could manually reload an externally modified bookmarks.html file.

Ideally, Firefox should monitor the bookmarks.html file with something like the 
Win32 API FindFirstChangeNotification function and deal with dynamic changes 

Comment 3

13 years ago
Jack, you are assuming that it's OK to overwrite a file inside FF's profile
while FF is running.
It's just not, and it has never been said this was an allowed thing to do.

If FF were to write down the BM file everytime there's a modification in the
bookmarks lists and reload it when modified externally, you could get the
behaviour you want with your external product. 

But they are reasons why FF doesn't do that, the more write of the list to the
disk the more risk there is to corrupt it, and there is enough BM list
corruption already. And the only gain of doing it would be to allow the
functionnality you want by using an external commercial product in addition to FF.

So if we go back to the root, the real functional requirement here is the one I
described in the summary line. And it's an enhancement request.

Anybody is free to write a patch to FF that does what you suggest, it would be
one way to get this new functionnality. But I'm doubtful that a patch that rises
the risk of BM list corruption will be accepted in the main FF tree.
Version: 1.0 Branch → unspecified

Comment 4

13 years ago
THAT WAS AN INCREDIBLY BOGUS ANSWER! Even __IF__ fear of corruption was an issue
(which I highly doubt), the problem could be simply solved by renaming the
original bookmarks file as "bookmarks.html.1" (or some such), writing out the
new bookmarks file-- (include a checksum for the data if you're really
paranoid)-- and then if there's a problem loading up the new file on the next
go-around, simply fall-back to the previous incarnation.
This is impossible, in the current implementation, and we're not going to put
any more effort into it.  The amount of added disk I/O this adds for typical
users isn't really acceptable.

Leaving this open because in theory unified storage could be used somehow to
support this, since its sqlite, but no promises.  And if its not feasible then,
it's a WONTFIX.

Use del.icio.us or something like that to share bookmarks this way.
Assignee: vladimir+bm → nobody
OS: Windows XP → All
Hardware: PC → All
Target Milestone: --- → Future

Comment 6

13 years ago
I agree that simply overwriting bookmarks.html as Firefox exits, without concern for external modification during runtime, is very non-dynamic.  It would seem that an external change to the bookmarks file ought to be immediately reflected in a running instance of Firefox, and similarly a user change to a bookmark using the Firefox UI ought to be immediately written to the bookmarks file.  Dynamic is better.  
IE handles gthis issue using shortcut items in the filesystem, and the system is very fast, despite the fact that IE needs to read the entire shortcuts tree each time the bookmarks menu is displayed!

Comment 7

13 years ago
(In reply to comment #5)
> This is impossible, in the current implementation, and we're not going to put
> any more effort into it.  The amount of added disk I/O this adds for typical
> users isn't really acceptable.

Actually it won't be much I/O, as FF just has to check the timestamp when FF itself is doing actual change - and if timestamp is changed since last reload, just do new load and apply change. That should be fairly simple to implement (...speaking as systemsdeveloper on other platforms - without detailed knowledge of FF internals.)

> Use del.icio.us or something like that to share bookmarks this way.

I learned long time ago newer to make judgement on other peoples choice og tools... There are currently no other tool that i know of which allows the same functionality - namely updating your bookmarks on your local pc - as well as keeping them available on the web - in the same time.
The best and simplest and most efficient way to manage bookmark is in your active browser - and a tools which supports spreading updates to all your other work-platforms simultaniously is something everybody should have.... Un beatable.

SO - PLEASE make FF facilitate this!!!!

I tried various extensions as well - but all fail - either to slow or to litle functionality.

Comment 8

13 years ago
IMO, ideally, bookmarks should be an independent service that is accessible at runtime.  In other words, bookmarks should be an service that exists independently of all FF instances, and serves bookmarks to not only FF, but also any other application that needs access to bookmarks.  The service should obviously also allow updates from external sources.

If bookmark functionality were implemented in this manner, the bookmarks service could conceivably be located on any machine, anywhere.  Secure bookmark servers could be implemented and made accessible via the Internet, supporting the "FF secure bookmark standard". Then, a 3rd party sync tool would not be needed!  Third parties could, however, host FF bookmark servers which guarantee customers privacy and high availability.

A local cache could be created on the system running FF which would be used by FF and other programs when the bookmark server was not available.

I've wanted this functionality for some time, since I develop between several machines, and would prefer a consistent list of bookmarks that can be updated from any source.  

IMO, the addition of this type of functionality would cause many people who haven't made the switch to FF to switch!  Think of the possibility to convert large companies with many users that work between desktop and laptop computers.

And if you're providing roaming bookmarks, why not roaming history?  Or, even roaming cookies?

FF has many features that are great, and that distinguish it from IE (ie. reduced security issues, tabbed browsing, etc).  But other distinguishing features are needed if FF hopes to continue to move people who haven't moved to FF, and bookmarks functionality has always been LAME in EVERY browser I've EVER used.

Outside of this, the only other area that could really use improvement in FF is startup time.  I open and close browser windows frequently, and startup time is an issue.  I know that I could alternatively used tabbed windows in FF, but as the old saying goes, it's hard to teach an old dog...  

I still believe that the current bookmark system (ie. bookmarks.html) should be dynamic in nature, but ultimately bookmarks functionality should be considered an area that is a focused enhancement target.

Just my 2 cents.

sorry for bugspam, long-overdue mass reassign of ancient QA contact bugs, filter on "beltznerLovesGoats" to get rid of this mass change
QA Contact: mconnor → bookmarks
not possible with sqlite since that could potentially break database consistency and slow it down (consider having to wait for disk i/o and fsyncs while all instances are writing bookmarks, we already have enough fsync issues with one instance only), we also have an exclusive lock on it.
This issue should be solved using sync services or extensions like Weave, Foxmarks and so on.
Last Resolved: 9 years ago
Resolution: --- → WONTFIX
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