One of my favorite Firefox extensions

I use several computers on a daily basis. I've done this for quite a while. At work I have my workstation, at home I have a PC and lots of times I just use my laptop. The problem is I like to try to keep my desktop environment in sync across all those machines as much as possible.

With Firefox, for example, I want all my bookmarks up to date everywhere. And fortunately, for Firefox, I have found an extension quite some time ago which helps do this.

Its currently called Bookmark Sync and Sort, but previously it was called Bookmark Synchronizer [2,3].

What this extension allows you to do is to store your bookmarks on server somewhere, and load them in multiple Firefox instances. It does some cool things like allowing you to merge bookmarks on your server with any changes you've made locally. And it provides multiple protocols for saving and loading the bookmarks, including FTP and WebDAV.

What I did was set up Sun Java System Web Server 7.0 on a server I can access from anywhere I am, and configured a WebDAV collection for Bookmark Sync and Sort. What about security? Well a couple of things. My SJSWS instance is configured for SSL with a self-signed certificate. And I have restricted the WebDAV collection to authenticated users. Bookmark Sync and Sort handles all this great.

So how does one configure WebDAV with SJSWS 7.0? Its actually not that difficult. A good reference is Meena Vyas' SJSWS WebDAV entry.

Specifically, here's what I did. First enable WebDAV with wadm

wadm> enable-webdav --config=<server-instance>

Then create a WebDAV collection

wadm> create-dav-collection --config=<server-instance>  --vs=<virtual-server> --uri=/davx/marks --source-uri=/marks

This will create a WebDAV collection that you access via DAV at /marks, which is a little opposite of usual with WebDAV but we want to make sure the web server doesn't mess with the bookmarks file when it serves it.

Now, that is enough to set up an open WebDAV collection. But it would be good to control access to the collection. So, from the Admin Console, Set up access control. Go to the Access Control tab of Configurations -> server-instance.

Then select the Users tab and create or edit the users and passwords.

Next, go to the Access Control Lists (ACL) tab. Edit the default ACL, and add an entry with the settings

  • Access: Allow
  • Users & Groups: All in the authentication database
  • Rights: All Access Rights

Next, Edit the dav-src ACL, add a similar entry with the settings

  • Access: Allow
  • Users & Groups: All in the authentication database
  • Rights: All Access Rights

Now, Deploy the configuration and you are done.

Comments:

I use a simpler version provided by FoxMarks at: https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/2410/

Posted by Arun on March 13, 2007 at 04:01 PM PDT #

Google has also released a killer extension that is a little more extensive in the syncronization department. It will also sync your sessions, cookies, saved passwords, as well as your bookmarks.

Try it, it's called 'Google Browser Sync', and the URL is: http://www.google.com/tools/firefox/browsersync/.

It does require that you have a Google account of some description, either 'gmail.com' or 'Google Apps'. It stores the data on Google's end. I use this today across several desktops. Running Windows XP SP2, Solaris NV 57, Debian, & Ubuntu, and it works seemlessly.

Check it out.

Posted by Michael Kennedy on March 13, 2007 at 08:54 PM PDT #

I like Sync and Sort for the simple reason that my information is not in anyone else's hands. Call me untrustworthy but...

Posted by Alex on March 13, 2007 at 11:34 PM PDT #

I use FoxMarks too, but I've always been a bit wary about having my info live on someone else's server (like Joe and Alex). Same reason why I'm reluctant to use Google calendar- they've already got a portion of my email and browsing history!

Posted by rama on March 14, 2007 at 05:20 AM PDT #

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