Digital Web Magazine

The web professional's online magazine of choice.

Live Bookmarks in Firefox

Nick Finck

November 17, 2004 at 9:50 AM

I was having a conversation with DL Byron today and we were talking about how we go about reading our favorite web sites. I started explaining how I use FeedDemon at home for all of my feeds and a selective number of key feeds via Blo.gs at work. He mentioned a feature in Firefox called Live Bookmarks which has relatively gone unnoticed and unmentioned by the web community at large. I took his advice and checked it out. I was pretty amazed at this functionality as it was something I publicly requested from browsers when RSS feeds had just started appearing on blogs. Thanks to Firefox it's now here. The first sign of this feature is that little orange icon in the bottom right corner of the browser. This works much like a similar feature in FeedDemon only there is one catch: it works like a bookmark, reads like a feed. Once you add a Live Bookmark it will create a folder in your bookmarks for that feed and inside you will find all of the posts in that feed when they are posted. Honestly if you are still not sure what the fuss is about I encourage you to simply take it for a spin and see for yourself. This is yet another reason why you should be using Firefox.

Comments

Kyle

November 17, 2004 at 12:00 PM

What I really like about the Live Bookmarks is that because of them, I can now have my del.icio.us links in my bookmarks because they provide RSS feeds.

sean

November 17, 2004 at 2:44 PM

I have spent the whole day (whilst supposed to be working...) looking for RSS feeds to add as live bookmarks because I love this feature so much! The fact that firefox automatically detects feeds and displays that icon to let you know you can subscribe is amazing. Long live the fox!

-b-

November 17, 2004 at 3:05 PM

Totally agree. The functionality of Live Bookmarks has really grown on me. I've been a harsh critic of feed readers and found Live Bookmarks to be elegant and useful and it might be an RSS killer app - that or an app similar to it.

Richard Kendall

November 17, 2004 at 4:30 PM

This app is genius, and can cause a great distraction! Can there be many more reasons that people will need to turn to Firefox? Now version 1.0 has ironed out all the faults, it really does make Internet Explorer seem 20th century by comparison! How long before the fiery fox makes a severe dent in the new browser war?

Eileen Foster

November 17, 2004 at 9:32 PM

I "discovered" the Live Bookmarks feature yesterday after messing around with FireFox. I'd installed FireFox weeks ago and hadn't migrated yet, but after discovering the RSS capabilities, I am THERE. Migrated all my Safari bookmarks Bloglines to FireFox already. What I love the most is that it's one-step to the actual post. I like seeing the design. While Bloglines made it easier to keep up with various blogs...I hated sacraficing beauty for speed and efficiency. FireFox has it all.

Kae Verens

November 18, 2004 at 1:04 AM

I've been using the live bookmark feature since I installed the prerelease firefox. The only complaints I have about it might be: 1. I need to read through each one to see if there's anything new. My opinion is that there should be an "unread items" bookmark directory that automatically fills with the most recent new items. 2. The bookmarks seem to update erratically - sometimes I look, and the information there is 24 hours or so old. 3. To get a bookmark to update itself, you need to rightclick on it, and tell it to refresh. Then the menu vanishes and you need to call it up again. That can be very tiresome when there are a lot of feeds. Especially as I don't use a mouse on my home computer. The ideal solution might be to have an "update all" link that does this. How I manage it at the moment is to shut down the browser and restart it, but that kills any sessions I'm working in... 4. When you click on a bookmark, then view the rss list again, you see that the item you've just read is now marked as read. If that feed refreshes, though, the marked items are suddenly unmarked. better than a list of commonly visited websites, though...

Kae Verens

November 18, 2004 at 1:04 AM

marked as "unread", I mean...

Matthew

November 18, 2004 at 2:40 AM

Live bookmarks is, for me, the killer application of Firefox. It has introduced me to the world of RSS and I love it. I agree with the dude who wasted a day finding RSS feeds at work... I have found myself doing the same... Ooops

tom

November 18, 2004 at 4:59 AM

Live Bookmarks is lame, because you can't see the description text under the headlines, and because the headlines are automatically truncated after a few characters. I highly recommend the Sage extension for Firefox. It turns Firefox into a fullfledged newsreader, completely eliminating the need for a separate, standalone newsreader application in addition to your web browser: http://sage.mozdev.org/

Reed Hedges

November 18, 2004 at 6:44 AM

OmniWeb (http://www.omnigroup.com) has an excellent implementation of this feature, because it combines with its feature to check if a page has changed since you last read it, and hide already read bookmarks from some views, etc. Unfortunately, in the new vecsion of OmniWeb, they changed the bookmarks view from a sidebar to a fullscreen window with too many panels. Sage looks good, thanks Tom. But could someone fix the link from Tom's comment, it seems to spill over into the comment form, so it's followed whenever I click on any of the form fields!

Reed Hedges

November 18, 2004 at 6:46 AM

Aha, my post fixed it. Thanks lynx!

Will Chatham

November 18, 2004 at 7:53 AM

Live Bookmarks wasn't implemented in FF's beta releases until the PR1.0, which is probably why nobody noticed it for a while. It was, however, in the nightly build for a longer time. The only reason I don't like it yet is because it breaks the functionality of the Bookmarks Synchronizer extension. I use this extension religiously to maintaint the same set of bookmarks between 4 computers at home and at work. Hopefully this will be fixed soon. That said, I downloaded the new Thunderbird 0.9 this morning, which now has an RSS aggregator built in, and must say that I am highly impressed so far. It allows you to read only headlines, headlines and summaries, or whole entries with the web site being displayed in the Preview Pane. Not to mention the fact that it is Thunderbird, the companion mail app to Firefox.

Robert

November 18, 2004 at 10:10 AM

I agree, tom. Sage works so much better than the plain ol' Live Bookmarks feature. It gives you more control and a more detailed look at your feeds including summaries. I'd also recommend using the LiveLines extension which makes adding feeds to Sage a snap.

Jules

November 19, 2004 at 6:09 AM

Somewhat off topic but I have found the Clusty toolbar extension for FF to be very cool. It allows you to search for information about a word by Control-Right click on it. I have avoided RSS because of how much it could turn into a time-waster for me (not to suggest that it is time-wasting for others) but I think I will have a look at Live Bookmarks and Sage. The install instructions did not work for me, I downloaded the extension (xpi) and then dragged it into the Extensions window. Oh yeah, the Foxy Tunes extension also is pretty cool allowing you to load WinAmp (amongst many other players) from the status bar player at the bottom of FF.

Media Temple

via Ad Packs