Alternatives to Delicious

I’ve used Delicious (del.icio.us) for some time now for managing bookmarks. I have never really used its social features, just its management features. With word that it is closing (sigh, just after I had to leave Bloglines, too) I’m looking for something else. There are a somewhat bewildering array of new options available, and I’m wondering if people have had experience with them. My requirements are:

  • Completely reliable syncing between multiple devices, even if each one is being used and actively bookmarking things simultaneously. My browser is Firefox. Back when I chose Delicious, nothing else accomplished this.
  • The ability to present bookmarks as a toolbar in Firefox, either using its own system or a different one.
  • I prefer tagging to hierarchical organization.
  • I can run a service on my own server, IF it is Free Software, trivial to set up, and needs little care and feeding. If it’s not part of Debian, that’s a strong negative here.
  • If it’s hosted in the cloud, I am concerned about privacy, security, and long-term stability. I must have a way to export my data, preferably automatically. I will be reading ToS and privacy policies carefully.
  • A system that can be trusted to encrypt my bookmarks on the server side is another nice to have.
  • Being able to create bookmarks directly from my Android phone is nice but not required.
  • Being able to access bookmarks from a regular web browser is a feature I use a few times a year; again, nice but not required.
  • What should I look into?

    Incidentally, if you need to export your Delicious data, go here.

19 thoughts on “Alternatives to Delicious

  1. I’ve been using Firefox Sync for a few months now and I like it. I don’t run my own Sync server, I just use Mozilla’s, and in addition to bookmarks, I can access the open tabs on other browsers, and have a global history.

    If you want simple, the SyncPlaces plugin is what I used after I dumped Delicious a couple years ago. It syncs your bookmarks to a file on a WebDAV share, and can optionally export them as XML as well so you can view them in a browser.

    In either case, I do find Firefox’s internal bookmark *manager* to be a little inadequate. I’m not real big on tags, but I use a hierarchical folder structure *and* tags. When I search by tag, Firefox won’t show me what *folder* the bookmarks are in. I haven’t found a better bookmark manager plugin, though.

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  2. Oh, and I’d like to point out that you used the words \completely reliable\ and \sync\ in the same sentence. No such thing. :)

    That said, I’ve not had any trouble with Firefox Sync so far.

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    John Goerzen Reply:

    Oh sure, introduce reality into a perfectly good discussion about browsers… we all know they’re pretty flawless…

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  3. I’ve had good luck with the minimal weave (aka sync) server. It’s a small bit of PHP and sqlite3. I’ve been meaning to package it, but it’s a little trivial and doesn’t have a good upstream site.

    It’s reliable between devices, but it may block syncing momentarily since sqlite isn’t multithreaded. I’ve never noticed this happen though.

    I believe it’s encrypted and thus the password doubles as a decryption key. Could be wrong, but it works just fine over HTTPS.

    Fennec supports it (Maemo Firefox) and so if Fennec ever lands on Android, one would assume it would support sync.

    Finally, it supports more than bookmarks. History, cookies, TABS, and passwords are supported, and all of that is optional, including bookmarks.

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  4. The best way is to write (x)html pages containing your bookmark links supplemented with RDF(a) for any metadata you want to keep with them. If you run a local triplestore such as virtuoso you can SPARQL query your data and make it scale and network much better than del.icio.us in a decentralized way (or just keep it organized by to yourself).

    Now that RDFa core can be used with arbitrary XML languages you could even use it in combination with the nice XBEL schema used by Konqueror and others.

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  5. I switched to Pinboard — http://pinboard.in/ — but I guess that doesn’t have a toolbar for you. I believe it should meet all of the other criteria, though.

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    Benedict Eastaugh Reply:

    Pinboard is excellent; I have been using it for well over a year and am extremely happy with it as a replacement for Delicious. It is an antisocial bookmarking service, meaning that the focus is on bookmarking rather than sharing links.

    There is currently a discussion on the mailing list about improving the existing Firefox toolbar.

    http://groups.google.com/group/pinboard-dev/browse_thread/thread/f86e4386e6e01fa1#

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  6. Thanks everyone for the hints. So far it looks like Firefox Sync / Weave is the best option. I’m not entirely pleased with how well Firefox lets me search my bookmarks, but I am pleased with the privacy and stability of the system.

    Of course, it now looks like delicious may live to see another day — maybe. Pretty vague stuff coming out of Yahoo, and boy did they bungle this if they didn’t intend to kill it.

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  7. You might also take a look at the TagSieve addon which has excellent tag browsing capabilities ( https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/124046/ )

    This along with Firefox sync is what I use and recommend.

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    John Goerzen Reply:

    Ah, PERFECT. That addresses pretty much my last lingering complaints about FF omissions relative to Delicious. That and the default “new bookmark” box not having a description entry field.

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  8. Both Xmarks and Delicious are still alive. XMarks was purchased by LastPass, and Delicious by Yahoo. No need to panic. :)

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