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Proposed Browser Bookmark Sharing Standard.


I've been thinking that it would be nice if browsers shared bookmarks
and history. So I wrote up the attached proposed standard. For those of
you who prefer nicely formatted HTML there's also a URL:


I am assuming a couple of things, of course:

* One, that a web browser is a sufficiently vital part of the desktop
that standards defining their behavior fall within the scope of
freedesktop.org's activities.

* Two, that the web browser folks actually pay attention to
freedesktop.org standards. :-) No offense meant, it's just that, so far,
most freedesktop standards are not very relevent to them.

-- b 

Biju 'botsie' Chacko                        biju_chacko at vsnl dot net
http://www.symonds.net/~botsie          Public Key available on request
Shared Browser Bookmark and History Standard

Biju Philip Chacko

botsie users sf net

  This DRAFT standard defines a method by which different web browsers should
  share bookmarks and history.

Table of Contents

        Introduction .........................................................3
        Bookmarks ............................................................3


Need for this standard

        There is currently a profusion of web browsers available for Unix
        desktops. Users often switch between browsers. They may wish try out a
        new alternative or perhaps a particular browser is more suited a
        particular task.

        Switching browsers can be annoying and inconvenient, especially when
        the user has a highly customised bookmark list or if he relies on the
        browser history to help him remember a URL.

        In addition, this lack of uniformity prevents effective use of
        bookmarks by third- party applications and system administrators for
        providing links to websites such as support sites or company
        intranets. Workarounds usually require the users to use a particular
        web browser.

        This document specifies a solution to this problem by defining a
        standard by which browsers can share bookmarks and history.

Referenced Standards

        This standard references the following Freedesktop.org standards:

        ·    Desktop Menu Specification 1

        ·    XDG Base Directory Specification 2

        ·    Desktop Entry Specification 3


        The Bookmark Menu spec is based on the Desktop Menu Spec. It is
        identical in most respects. The main differences are:

        · File Locations

        · Desktop Entry Types

        · Registered Categories

        · Registered OnlyShowIn Environments

File Locations

        The following files and file locations are used by the bookmark spec:


              This file contains the XML definition of the main bookmarks menu


              This directory contains a .desktop file for each possible


              This directory contains directory entries which may be
              associated with folders in the bookmark menu layout.


Shared Browser Bookmark and History Standard

Desktop Entry Types

           All Desktop Entries used by this spec must be of type 'link'. All
           other types must be ignored.

Registered Categories

           This DRAFT doesn't contain any registered categories yet. The
           author assumes that a reasonable list of categories can be created
           from community discussion.

Registered OnlyShowIn Environments

           Browsers that support this standard should register a unique
           identification string to be used as a 'OnlyShowIn' value.


           The scope of shared history is limited to URLs explicitly requested
           by the user. It does not include the browsing history accessable
           through the 'Back' and 'Forward' functions of the browser.

           Browser history is stored in $XDG_DATA_HOME/browser/history. A
           .desktop file is created for each URL to be saved. All desktop
           entries must be of type 'link'. All other types must be ignored.

Extensions to the Desktop Entry Spec

           Ordering of history items is implementation dependent. However, to
           facilitate order- ing by 'most recently used', this standard
           defines a new Desktop Entry key 'Times- tamp' of type 'numeric'.
           This key contains the number of seconds since the Epoch when the
           URL was last used.


           1. http://www.freedesktop.org/standards/menu/draft/menu-spec/menu-

           2. http://www.freedesktop.org/standards/basedir/draft/basedir-spec/basedir-

           3. http://www.freedesktop.org/standards/desktop-entry-spec.html


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