Remove smart bookmarks support

RESOLVED WONTFIX

Status

()

RESOLVED WONTFIX
8 years ago
5 years ago

People

(Reporter: philikon, Unassigned)

Tracking

Firefox Tracking Flags

(Not tracked)

Details

(Whiteboard: [killthem])

I believe there are currently three ways that smart bookmarks get created:

a) Firefox creates Recently Bookmarked, Recent Tags and Most Visited for us.

b) One can create a new smart bookmark based on a tag query by dragging a tag from the Tags folder to a bookmark location. This is a rather obscure feature and pretty much undiscoverable. I bet most of our own developers don't know that we have this feature.

c) You can create a bookmark and enter a place: query for the location. This involves knowing Places and reading MDC. Highly undiscoverable.

I think most people will agree that b) and c) aren't worth supporting at all. The usefulness of a) might be worth arguing about (I call YAGNI on them), but we certainly don't need the full blown smart bookmark support just to support them.

To summarize, I'd like to propose we remove smart bookmark support. Personally I think we can just scrap them altogether, but if people really care about a), then these could be replaced by specialized menu items that query places. That way they'll be in code and not in the places DB, so no need for migration or Sync to deal with them.
Whiteboard: [killthem]
Note: I know there are some add-ons out there that rely on this feature.
(In reply to comment #1)
> Note: I know there are some add-ons out there that rely on this feature.

Do you know which ones? I'd love to find out what they're using smart bookmarks for. AMO should also be able to give us usage statistics.
(In reply to comment #2)
> Do you know which ones? I'd love to find out what they're using smart bookmarks
> for. AMO should also be able to give us usage statistics.
I just know that we've had add-on developers ask us questions about place: uris in #places on irc many times saying they were using it in their add-on.  Never really asked more.  I know it's not a good data point :(
(In reply to comment #3)
> (In reply to comment #2)
> > Do you know which ones? I'd love to find out what they're using smart bookmarks
> > for. AMO should also be able to give us usage statistics.
> I just know that we've had add-on developers ask us questions about place: uris
> in #places on irc many times saying they were using it in their add-on.  Never
> really asked more.  I know it's not a good data point :(

It's ok. I shall write about the proposed removals on my blog and have the add-on authors start the flamewar^W^W^Wprovide us with data there.

Comment 5

8 years ago
You forgot the most discoverable way:
d) You can save any search in the library as a smart bookmark. A 'save' button gets displayed every times you do a search, thus there exists some UI dedicated to creating smart bookmarks.
(In reply to comment #5)
> You forgot the most discoverable way:
> d) You can save any search in the library as a smart bookmark. A 'save' button
> gets displayed every times you do a search, thus there exists some UI dedicated
> to creating smart bookmarks.

Wow, thanks! I agree that it's probably the most discoverable way of them all, but in terms of absolute measurements it's still not very discoverable. Once again, I'm keen on finding out how many users use this feature!

I would still question the usefulness of the feature altogether. What's wrong with just using the awesomebar for searching for the relevant bookmarks whenever you need them? If you really need the saved searches because you just have that many bookmarks, you're probably doing something wrong. You probably just want folders.
(In reply to comment #6)
> I would still question the usefulness of the feature altogether. What's wrong
> with just using the awesomebar for searching for the relevant bookmarks
> whenever you need them? If you really need the saved searches because you just
> have that many bookmarks, you're probably doing something wrong. You probably
> just want folders.
Lots of people like to use the Library (given the number of bugs filed on issues for it) despite it not being so great.
It sounds to me you're making confusion between places queries and smart bookmarks. The latter are just places queries we create by default to show the user he can create searches and he can create tags, we can remove them if we want, even if the gain sounds ignorable.
Regarding the removal of places queries, I'm not sure I see the point, the UI sucks, sure, but they are pretty much powerful, and most likely at the base of the next UI (see bug 523520).
As I said for tags, a sucking UI is not a good enough argument to kill a feature, imo.
(In reply to comment #8)
> It sounds to me you're making confusion between places queries and smart
> bookmarks.

Actually I'm aware that places queries are a generic feature and smart bookmarks just happen to use them. I could've been more precise in the description, I suppose.

> The latter are just places queries we create by default to show the
> user he can create searches and he can create tags, we can remove them if we
> want, even if the gain sounds ignorable.

It's not ignorable to me ;). Sync needs to jump through a bunch of hoops to support smart bookmarks, as you know. I'd rather it wouldn't have to.

> Regarding the removal of places queries, I'm not sure I see the point, the UI
> sucks, sure, but they are pretty much powerful, and most likely at the base of
> the next UI (see bug 523520).
> As I said for tags, a sucking UI is not a good enough argument to kill a
> feature, imo.

I disagree. IMHO there's no reason to ever keep stupidly unusable and undiscoverable UI.
(In reply to comment #6)
> If you really need the saved searches because you just
> have that many bookmarks, you're probably doing something wrong. You probably
> just want folders.

FWIW: Careful about telling users they're doing it wrong. It's not all that nice to hear.

Personally, I really dislike folders and hierarchies, preferring to use tags and search for finding things later. Then again, I did work at Delicious, and my 16k+ bookmarks have never totally fit inside a browser.
(In reply to comment #10)
> FWIW: Careful about telling users they're doing it wrong. It's not all that
> nice to hear.

You're right. I didn't mean to hurt anybody's feelings.

What I meant: our current bookmark system doesn't scale all that well (in terms of perf, maintenance, etc.), while creating the illusion that it's this super duper datastore that you can query with smart bookmarks and tags and what have you, so you can put zillions of bookmarks in it. This doesn't usually work so well.

So what I meant to say is: there's a mismatch between the expectation people may have based on the features we provide and the features we can actually support. I realize that some people would love for us to extend our scope and properly support those features. I would argue for divide and conquer: make our scope smaller, leave the extra features to tools and services that can do this sort of thing better. Like the web.

> Personally, I really dislike folders and hierarchies, preferring to use tags
> and search for finding things later. Then again, I did work at Delicious, and
> my 16k+ bookmarks have never totally fit inside a browser.

On that basis I don't see a problem with removing Smart Bookmarks then, if you're already using a service that's better at dealing with bookmarks than the browser is.

Comment 12

8 years ago
(In reply to comment #11)
> So what I meant to say is: there's a mismatch between the expectation people
> may have based on the features we provide and the features we can actually
> support. I realize that some people would love for us to extend our scope and
> properly support those features. I would argue for divide and conquer: make our
> scope smaller, leave the extra features to tools and services that can do this
> sort of thing better. Like the web.
> 
> > Personally, I really dislike folders and hierarchies, preferring to use tags
> > and search for finding things later. Then again, I did work at Delicious, and
> > my 16k+ bookmarks have never totally fit inside a browser.
> 
> On that basis I don't see a problem with removing Smart Bookmarks then, if
> you're already using a service that's better at dealing with bookmarks than the
> browser is.

Excuse me, but I don't want my already working bookmark hierarchy to be substituted by "the cloud". Nothing is more reliable than just having the bookmarks there, ready to be queried, used, copied, edited and tagged/etc, anytime and without the need of a constant internet connection. Remember that even in the US, there are zones without full constant internet service!
I am not even willing to try out sync, just because I can't rely on my ISPs nor on a third party service that might or might not exist next year.

Considering what is being suggested here, Sync might be debated for removal by 2012, anyway! (suffering the fate of other several mozilla projects that many loved but died anyway)

Comment 13

8 years ago
> If you really need the saved searches because you just have that many 
> bookmarks, you're probably doing something wrong. You probably 
> just want folders.

So, if there are so many bookmarks that automated search views of them are useful, you shouldn't use automated searches but have to sort them manually instead?

That doesn't make any kind of sense.

(and +1 for the "I don't *want* to push this stuff into the cloud, thanks" viewpoint)
It's great that everyone feels the need to express their opinion, but bugzilla is not the place for that (per bugzilla etiquette: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/page.cgi?id=etiquette.html).  Please take the discussion to dev.apps.firefox: https://www.mozilla.org/about/forums/#dev-apps-firefox
(In reply to comment #14)
> It's great that everyone feels the need to express their opinion, but bugzilla
> is not the place for that (per bugzilla etiquette:
> https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/page.cgi?id=etiquette.html).  Please take the
> discussion to dev.apps.firefox:
> https://www.mozilla.org/about/forums/#dev-apps-firefox

FWIW, I started this thread to try to move discussion there:

http://groups.google.com/group/mozilla.dev.apps.firefox/browse_thread/thread/fa6f83e781b962a4

Comment 16

8 years ago
I'm the author of SearchPlaces, and extension which allows you to edit existing, or create new Smart Bookmarks. You can see from the usage stats that it's not used by many. The low numbers are so low because not many people understand Smart Bookmarks due to the poor documentation for the places query language, the paucity of this documentation, and the fact that what is there is out of date. Because of these documentation problems the extension itself is not very user friendly, because I'm unsure as to the rules. So it is only used by the very knowledgeable and SortPlaces users who want to sort their Smart Bookmarks results like the rest of their bookmarks.

I've no axe to grind because I personally don't use Smart Bookmarks. But I think you either need to document and promote this feature properly or drop it altogether.

Comment 17

6 years ago
(In reply to Marco Bonardo [:mak] from comment #8)
> 
> Regarding the removal of places queries, I'm not sure I see the point, the
> UI sucks, sure, but they are pretty much powerful, and most likely at the
> base of the next UI (see bug 523520).
> As I said for tags, a sucking UI is not a good enough argument to kill a
> feature, imo.

Exactly,I would have expected-please excuse me for jumping in-that this was the right time for finally polishing the Library and bring into the GUI the hidden capabilities of places queries,developing the full potential of smart bookmarks.
Yes it's true that this is an almost hidden feature,but that's exactly because it's not much publicized and really hasn't worked as it should so far,which does not mean IMHO that should be abandoned and the users requested to rely on an external service.
That makes no sense,my bookmarks belong on my computer and should stay there,along with the ability to query/organize/rearrange them locally,again excuse me but I see this as a proper core feature of a browser much more than any social service integration.
we can't drop queries cause they feed great parts of the UI, and this is basically the story here, at least for now.
Status: NEW → RESOLVED
Last Resolved: 6 years ago
Resolution: --- → WONTFIX
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