CyberNotes
Web Browser Wednesday




One of my favorite additions to the Firefox 3 browser (currently in Beta) are Smart Bookmarks. There’s a good chance that you’ve played with things in other applications that are similar to Smart Bookmarks. For example, iTunes (and many other media players) have what are referred to as Smart Playlists. These are playlists that automatically assemble themselves based on specific criteria, such as the “most played” and “recently added” media. Smart Bookmarks are very similar since they can show you things like your most visited bookmarks or your recently added bookmarks:

firefox smart bookmarks.png

Just a few weeks ago we showed you how to quickly restore the default Smart Bookmarks that come with the browser, but did you know that it’s also possible to make your own? Thanks to the new bookmarks backend that Mozilla has implemented it’s actually pretty easy for you to create your own Smart Bookmarks once you understand how they work. An extension will inevitably come along that makes this a no-brainer, but it will take you no time to catch on to manually creating them.

The first thing we’re going to do is show you the steps needed to create a new Smart Bookmark, and then we’re going to give you an overview of the query syntax you’ll want to use to take things up a notch.

–Creating a Smart Bookmark–

There are a few different ways that you can create a Smart Bookmark, but I’m going to show you the one that I believe is the easiest.

  1. Open up the Bookmarks Organizer by going to the Bookmarks Menu, and click the Organize Bookmarks option.
    firefox organize bookmarks.png
  2. Click the Organize Menu and choose the New Bookmark option:
    firefox new bookmark-1.png
  3. Now you need to type in whatever name you would like for the Smart Bookmark. In the location field, however, is where you will insert the specialized “URL” which we’ll cover in the next section. This screenshot shows an example location that will return the top 10 bookmarks you visit the most:
    firefox add smart bookmark.png
  4. The Smart Bookmark that you just created should now be visible in the Bookmark Organizer, and you can place it wherever you would like. The content will dynamically change based on the criteria that you specified in the previous step.
    firefox smart bookmark example.png

–Smart Bookmarks Queries–

In Step 3 above you were told to insert a specialized URL into the location field of the bookmark. This is really the thing that differentiates a Smart Bookmark from a regular bookmark. Each location field for a Smart Bookmark will start with “place:” followed by a few parameters that tell the bookmark what its contents should contain. You’ll also notice that each parameter is separated by an ampersand (&).

Want some examples? Here are a few to get your creative juices flowing:

  • 10 Most Visited Sites:
    place:queryType=0&sort=8&maxResults=10
  • 10 Most Recent Bookmarks:
    place:queryType=1&sort=12&maxResults=10
  • 15 Most Visited Bookmarks:
    place:queryType=1&sort=8&maxResults=15
  • 10 Most Visited Sites with “CyberNet” in them:
    place:queryType=0&sort=8&maxResults=10&terms=cybernet
  • 5 Most Visited Sites at the cybernetnews.com Domain:
    place:queryType=0&sort=8&maxResults=5&domain=cybernetnews.com

Looking at some of those examples there is a good chance that you picked up on how the queries work. Over at the Mozilla forum they have begun assembling a rather comprehensive list of parameters that you can use with the queries, but there are quite a few that most of you won’t use when creating these manually. Here are some of the more useful ones that I used in the examples above, along with a brief description of the values that go with them:

  • sort – This is used in all of the examples above, and this is what determines the order in which the bookmarks are sorted. A majority of the examples I gave use a sort value of “8”, which organizes the results according to the largest visit count first. Here are all the values that you can use with it:
    • 0 – Natural bookmark order
    • 1 – Sort by title, A-Z
    • 2 – Sort by title, Z-A
    • 3 – Sort by visit date, most recent last
    • 4 – Sort by visit date, most recent first
    • 5 – Sort by uri, A-Z
    • 6 – Sort by uri, Z-A
    • 7 – Sort by visit count, ascending
    • 8 – Sort by visit count, descending
    • 9 – Sort by keyword, A-Z
    • 10 – Sort by keyword, Z-A
    • 11 – Sort by date added, most recent last
    • 12 – Sort by date added, most recent first
    • 13 – Sort by last modified date, most recent last
    • 14 – Sort by last modified date, most recent first
    • 17 – Sort by tags, ascending
    • 18 – Sort by tags, descending
    • 19 – Sort by annotation, ascending
    • 20 – Sort by annotation, descending
  • queryType – This is also used in all of the examples above. It’s used to specify whether you want to search the History (a.k.a. sites you’ve visited), Bookmarks, or both.
    • 0 – Searches only your History
    • 1 – Searches only your Bookmarks
    • 2 – Searches both your History and Bookmarks
  • maxResults – Use this to specify how many results you want returned.
    • 0 – Return all results
    • 1 to ?? – Any number besides “0” will indicate the number of results you want returned
  • domain – Specify the domain of a site, such as “cybernetnews.com” as seen in the example above.
  • terms – Word(s) that you want to search for. From what I gather it searches most areas of your sites/bookmarks including the title.

The different parameters that I just covered are only a small amount of what’s actually available, but they are the ones that have proven to be the most useful to me. If you get overly ambitious you can checkout the full selection.

–Overview–

It’s inevitable that there will be an extension that makes it easier to configure these Smart Bookmarks, but it’s actually not that hard to manually create them. Although it could get tedious if you wanted to make a bunch of them.

Now we would like to turn things over to you. Let us know in the comments what kind of concoctions you come up with so that more of us can benefit from your infinite wisdom!