Foxmarks: Product Features

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Product Features

What does Foxmarks do?

Foxmarks is an extension for Firefox that allows you to synchronize your bookmarks across multiple computers. Install Foxmarks on each machine that you want to keep synchronized, and Foxmarks will automatically propagate bookmarks changes that you make on one machine to all the others.

How does it work?

Foxmarks relies on a server (you can set up your own, or use the Foxcloud server that we provide free) to store your bookmarks. Changes you make to your bookmarks are uploaded to the server, where your other computers running Foxmarks can download them.

(Okay, this is admittedly an oversimplification. But this is the general idea.)

How does automatic synchronization work?

Foxmarks works hard to keep your bookmarks synchronized across all of your computers with minimal involvement on your part. Here's how.

Whenever you make a change to your bookmarks, Foxmarks notes that change and starts a 5 minute timer running. If you make more changes, it resets the 5 minute timer. If the timer counts down to 0, Foxmarks initiates synchronization, which merges the changes you made locally with any changes that are currently recorded on the server. If you quit Firefox while the timer is still running, Foxmarks will ask you whether you want to synchronize those changes before quitting. (You can control this behavior on the Foxmarks Control Panel).

Every hour, Foxmarks initiates synchronization regardless of whether there are changes detected locally in order to synchronize with changes that may have originated on other computers that you're syncing with.

The net result is that bookmark changes you make are typically made available to other computers within 5 minutes. And those changes are automatically synchronized into every other computer within 60 minutes, or sooner if you synchronize manually.

Note that if there are no changes to synchronize, the synchronization process is extremely quick, so fast that you might not even notice it happening.

If you want, you can disable automatic synchronization by turning off the checkbox in the Foxmarks Settings dialog. This will disable both the minute-to-minute and hour-to-hour synchronization. At this time, there are no other controls that affect how automatic synchronization operates.

What keyboard shortcuts are available for Foxmarks?

There are two keyboard shortcuts: ctrl-shift-S (Mac: cmd-ctrl-s) initiates synchronization, and ctrl-shift-F (Mac: cmd-ctrl-f) displays the Foxmarks Control Panel.

What happens to my existing bookmarks when I install Foxmarks? Will my bookmarks get overwritten?

Foxmarks works by creating a single master file which contains all your bookmarks. When you install Foxmarks on a first machine, the master file contains all the bookmarks on that computer. When you install Foxmarks on a second or subsequent machine, Foxmarks offers you several alternatives:

  • Erase the bookmarks on the newly installed machine, replacing them with the bookmarks from the master file;
  • Erase the bookmarks in the master file, and replace them with the bookmarks from the newly installed machine;
  • Merge the bookmarks in the master file with the bookmarks on the newly installed computer.

Most people will choose the last option, as it's the one that guarantees that you won't lose any bookmarks. But sometimes you'll install Foxmarks on a machine that doesn't have any bookmarks that you want to keep; in that case, one of the other two options becomes more useful.

If you choose to merge the master file with the bookmarks on the newly installed computer, Foxmarks will join the two sets together, attempting to match up bookmarks that it finds in both sets so as to eliminate duplicates. More precisely, it will use one set of bookmarks as the initial list of bookmarks and will add to that any new bookmarks or folders found in the second (or subsequent) set of bookmarks. (Thanks, Enzo.)

When the process is complete, your two computers will have identical bookmarks, and Foxmarks' continued operation will keep them the same: changes made on one computer will also be made on the other.

Which of the bookmark fields are synchronized (name, location, keyword, description)?

We synchronize essentially everything we can -- with the exception of favicons, which will generally be retrieved by Firefox the first time you access a bookmark. Specifically, for bookmarks we sync:

  • name
  • description
  • location (url)
  • keyword
  • open-in-sidebar toggle
  • bookmark added date

For folders:

  • name
  • description
  • folder added date
  • folder contents and position of contents within the folder

For Livemarks:

  • name
  • description
  • feed url

For separators:

  • name

How do I upgrade to the latest version of Foxmarks?

Getting the latest version of Foxmarks is easy. Follow the procedure outlined here.

I only want to sync part of my bookmarks, is this possible?

Not yet, but we're working on it. (See Foxmarks: Suggestions for Improvements).

What are the "Upload Now" and "Download Now" buttons for?

In normal operation, once you have performed initial synchronization, everything should be smooth sailing. Occasionally, though, you may encounter difficulties that will require you to perform some maintenance operation. The "Upload" and "Download" buttons allow you to force your synchronization into a known state. If you press "Upload Now," whatever bookmarks are on your computer will become the new appointed set of bookmarks (stored on our server) to be synchronized across all other machines..

If you press "Download Now," the set of bookmarks on your computer will be erased, and the set of bookmarks on the server will be installed in their stead.

Note that neither of these are "Synchronization" operations -- changes that you might have made (on other computers that you use in the case of "Upload Now" or on the computer you're using now in the case of "Download Now") will be lost. Tread lightly, and employ these options only when absolutely necessary. Normally, you shouldn't need to use these actions.

What are its licensing terms?

The Foxmarks Extension for Firefox is free software distributed under the Apache 2.0 License. Please refer to the Terms of Service for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions