30 September 2006

Keeping it simple

With my work almost done on a new minor release of Clippings, my attention is turning to other projects to work on. One idea I had been floating around for some time was something related to del.icio.us. I've already created a rough prototype - a simple XULRunner app that retrieves all the user's tags for display or copying to the clipboard. The prototype app is woefully simplistic - but the couple of hours spent on it is a great way to explore some ideas.

I have noticed that there are a lot of Firefox extensions out there for integrating del.icio.us with Firefox - some of them good (like Another Delicious Sidebar), and others not so much (like VeryDelicious, which is reportedly riddled with problems, as the user comments on the Mozilla Addons page for this extension indicate).

A common task is getting a list of bookmarks tagged with a particular tag name or a combination of tag names. A Firefox extension or even an XULRunner app was considered, where there would be a text box for the user to enter a tag (e.g., "sanity") or a combination of tags (e.g., "sanity+chocolate"), and a list of del.icio.us bookmarks with the given tag(s) then appears in a list box below it. A tag browser, basically. And then there are some nice-to-have features, like jumping directly to the URL or being able to edit a bookmark - add/remove tags, change the title and URL, delete it, etc.

But then I realized that a simple browser custom keyword can do the trick. Simply create a new bookmark with the URL of the form:
Substitute <your_delicious_userid> as appropriate. Give the new bookmark a keyword, e.g. "tag". Then in the browser window, just type "tag <tagname(s)>" in the location bar, and presto! The del.icio.us site loads up, with all your bookmarks tagged with the given tagname(s) listed.

So to list all bookmarks tagged with "sanity", you would type in the browser's location bar:
tag sanity
And to list all bookmarks tagged with both "sanity" and "chocolate":
tag sanity+chocolate
With such a simple solution that most adept users can implement, it's laughable that one would create an extension (or hell, a complete XULRunner app) that would do the same thing. The custom keywords feature found in Firefox, SeaMonkey, and Mozilla 1.x is sufficient enough for listing all your del.icio.us bookmarks tagged with a particular tag or tags; and the del.icio.us site itself works very well for managing your tags and bookmarks. It's all about keeping it simple - and leveraging existing solutions to solve new problems.

Update: Apparently, there is a del.icio.us search engine addon for Firefox.

02 September 2006

Clippings 2.0.99 (development snapshot)

With the release of Firefox 2.0 beta 2, a new development snapshot of Clippings is now available for download for those craving the latest and greatest:

clippings-2.0.99.xpi (64 KB; English only; compatible with Firefox 1.5 - 2.0b2 and Thunderbird 1.5 - 1.5.0.x)

It is recommended that only testers, early adopters and advanced users (the same type of users who would be using a Firefox beta release) should download and install this development build of Clippings.

What's new:
  • You can now drag and drop into Clippings Manager to create new clippings. This is useful for creating new clippings from selected text from apps other than Firefox.
  • Bug fix: [clipman] Infinite recursion if moving or copying a folder to its subfolder (bug 14647)
  • Bug fix: [clipman] Using Drag 'n Drop to Move an Item Into a Collapsed Folder Doesn't Work (bug 14650)
  • New folder data lost if cancelling out of New Clipping (bug 14951)
The following compatibility issues with Firefox 2 have been fixed (bug 14715):
  • New/New From Selection command is always disabled in rich edit box
  • "Spell check this field" command in text boxes in New Clipping dialog has a
    folder icon instead of a check mark (note: the "Spell check this field" command doesn't appear anymore in dialog text box context menus due to a fix for Firefox bug 336799, so this is no longer an issue)
In addition, Firefox 2.0 beta 2 doesn't crash when pasting clippings containing Asian characters. This problem was experienced in beta 1.

Getting Help:

Support requests should be emailed to the Clippings mailing list at clippings@mozdev.org. If you think you found a bug, please do a search first to see if the issue hasn't been reported yet. Bug reports can be emailed to the Clippings mailing list; or if you have a Bugzilla account on Mozdev, you may file a bug report at http://clippings.mozdev.org/bugs.html.