There has been some good news lately on the progress of Firefox 3. Mozilla was able to get the backend of Places back into the latest nightly releases, but as of right now you won’t notice many differences. Once Places has been completed, it will offer a central location for users to manage things like their RSS feeds, website history, and bookmarks.

Firefox 3 Alpha 5 is due out around June 1, and by that time they will have Places functional, but it is doubtful that they will get around to polishing the frontend (the actual interface) by that point. Here are some tips that were pointed out in the forum regarding the use of Places as it stands right now:

  • Backup your bookmarks before running the latest nightly of Firefox 3! The file that you need to backup is called bookmarks.html and is located in your Firefox profile folder. Of course, there is an automatic backup created called bookmarks.preplaces.html just in case anything terrible should happen and for those who are too lazy to back it up themselves.
  • When you run the Firefox 3 nightly for the first time it will migrate from bookmarks.html to places.sqlite. The places.sqlite is the new storage location for your bookmarks, but Firefox 3 will also keep the bookmarks.html file up-to-date in case you want to switch back to Firefox 2. However, if you switch back to Firefox 2 and modify your bookmarks the changes will not appear in Firefox 3 the next time you launch it. This is because Firefox 2 doesn’t keep the places.sqlite file up-to-date like Firefox 3 does for bookmarks.html.

Here is a quick screenshot to show you that there is no difference to the interface yet, even though the backup file for Places has been created which verifies that Places is running:

Firefox 3 Places
Click to Enlarge

I also did a little digging, and noticed that in Firefox 3 Alpha 6 (due out June 29) more functionality will be added to Places, including tagging capabilities. I eventually came across this image that demonstrates four different methods of implementing tags in the bookmarks:

Firefox 3 Tags & Bookmarks
Click to Enlarge

The problem that they are trying to conquer is getting around those people who don’t understand what tags are and how they are used. Judging by the smiley faces in the mockup, they have determined the last option (the one furthest to the right) to be the best. I would have to agree with that because if I was going to bookmark or tag a site I would want to have a nice unified interface for doing it. This solution provides just that. The only thing that I’m hoping they implement is an auto-complete feature that will show a listing of matching tags as the user types them.

So what do you think about the tagging being built-in to Firefox?