Could you imagine having a browser without a bookmarking system? To me that would be like using a computer that doesn’t let you copy and paste…it’s almost impossible to fathom what that would be like! So I think it is safe to say that bookmarks are important for productivity, but the real question is, what can we do to make it better?
I crawled my way through all of the 218 bookmark-related Firefox extensions on the Mozilla add-ons site, and I quickly realized how poorly some of the extensions were categorized since many of them didn’t have much to do with bookmarking at all. I was able to find a pretty good amount of extensions though that I thought were pretty interesting.
One of the most common things people want to do with their bookmarks is synchronize them with some online service. That way they can be accessed whether they are at work, home, or on the go.
There are several different services that can be used to store your bookmarks, and here’s a listing of what I believe are the best synchronizing extensions:
- GMarks (for Google Bookmarks) – This is my favorite Firefox extension for synchronizing bookmarks. It makes use of the Google Bookmarks system so that everything you bookmark is kept private, and it is packed with features. You can have your bookmarks in a toolbar or in the sidebar, and it’s capable of importing your existing Firefox bookmarks.
- Smarky (for Simpy) – This is based off of the GMarks extension mentioned above, except this one works with the Simpy bookmarking system.
- Del.icio.us (for Del.icio.us, duh) – This is a simple Firefox extension that’s used for managing your bookmarks on Del.icio.us. You can add a description, notes, and tags to each bookmark you save.
- Foxmarks (for Foxmarks or custom) – I really like this extension because it integrates right into your existing Firefox bookmarks. You can hardly notice that the extension is synchronizing your bookmarks, but it is. Lifehacker also has a great tutorial on how to setup Foxmarks to work with your own FTP.
- Clipmarks (for Clipmarks) – Clip certain sections of websites so that only the content you want is saved.
–Making Bookmarks More Productive–
Now on to more of the gems. Some of these extensions I had heard of, or even written about prior to this, but there are still several that I hadn’t seen. You may not need to use some of them now, but there are certain times when each would serve a useful purpose.
- Flat Bookmark Editor – This adds several fields to the bottom of the Bookmarks Manager so that you can edit the contents of a bookmark without having to pull up the properties. This is extremely useful if you’re trying to edit a bunch of bookmarks simultaneously.
- Speed Dial – The idea for this type of feature was originally from the Opera browser, but as expected, a version with slightly less features has also been turned into a Firefox extension. Using it, you can set some of your favorite sites to be displayed on a Speed Dial page.
- Visual Bookmarks – Have a hard time finding a site or image in your bookmarks? This could be just the solution since you can view all of the sites as thumbnails. Unfortunately this doesn’t integrate into the Firefox bookmark system so you’ll have to bookmark sites separately with this extension, but you can highlight certain portions of the screen that you want captured for the thumbnail.
- Bookmarks Duplicate Detector – When you reach a few hundred bookmarks, sometimes it is difficult to remember whether you’ve already bookmarked a site or not. Have no fear…Book Duplicate Detector will scour through your bookmarks looking for ones that point to the same address.
- Smart Bookmarks Bar – Sometimes you may want to put a lot of bookmarks on your toolbar, but the problem is that there just isn’t enough room. This extension will collapse all of your bookmarks down to just their icon, and when you hover over them with your mouse it will reveal their names.
- Bookmarks LInkChecker – You can check your bookmarks to see if the links have been broken. This should become part of your regularly scheduled maintenance.
- Enhanced Bookmark Search – This is a much more powerful search mechanism for finding bookmarks. You can even save searches into dynamically updating folders…it kind of reminds me of how the dynamic playlists in iTunes work.
- Dog Ears – This lets you bookmark your place on a page so that you can quickly jump to the important portions using the Shift+Spacebar hotkey.
- AddThis – Using this extension you can quickly bookmark a site on any number of different services.
I think I’ve covered almost all of the interesting bookmark-related extensions, but I would love to hear of any others you can come up with. Don’t forget to checkout our URL-related extensions as well, but even more importantly, make sure that your Firefox extensions don’t have memory leaks.