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You are here: MacNN Forums > Software - Troubleshooting and Discussion > macOS > Safari's bookmark interface - the way to go for OW 5?

Safari's bookmark interface - the way to go for OW 5?
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cpac
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Jan 9, 2003, 07:58 PM
 
Hey all. After the initial excitement died down it seems the most innovative feature of Safari seems to be its bookmark handling, for two distinct reasons:

(1) The iTunes like structure.

(2) The full-window overlay thing (that nicely disappears when done looking at it)

As I recall, our previous discussions about how OW 5 ought to implement tabbed browsing, and other features, did not consider this possibility, so I wanted to suggest that this new metaphor suggests several interesting potential interface improvements: (p.s. - forgive the inelegant use of iTunes terms, I think it's just the easiest way to express what I mean)

History - As things stand currently, I for one find history useless. It's difficult to navigate, particularly in a drawer. Safari allows one to see it in a more extended way by having it be one of the "play lists" on the left of the bookmark window. This still has problems, but would be much better if History were it's own bookmark-like window. The whole window would show history, there would be pre-defined play lists to the left covering specific periods of time. Websites would be displayed on the right in nested folders (or a preference could be checked to show it either as nested sites, or as page-by-page history) Anyway, clicking the history clock on the menu bar (or the equivalent keyboard shortcut) would display this temporary overlay page, the same again would return you to whatever content was visible before.

Bookmarks Omni's bookmarks are already pretty d*mn good, but if nothing else, adopting the iTunes-ish set up might allow for easier navigation and an always-visible Info panel integrated into the bookmark window (perhaps additional columns to show whether a bookmark is set to be auto-checked, automatic play-list like bookmark folder to hold recently visited sites, sites with changes, or sites thought to be dead. Throw in the ability to load an entire folder of bookmarks at once (see below) and you've got far-and-away the best bookmark system out there.

Tabs I, for one, am not ravenous about tabs the way some are. (I can happily open several OW windows on top of each other and command-` between them). But many obviously want this feature. A new type of window panel, like the bookmark and history windows could be created for active pages. Basically it's be a running list of the currently open sites for any given window (and thus not redundant of the "window" menu). A preference could be set to allow thumbnails, status icons, or mere URLs/site names to display each open page. A command, (perhaps command-T) would send each page to this pane). The toolbar icon for this pane would also have a drop down menu (like the back and forward buttons) of currently open sites. Further, a smart-bookmark folder as described above, could hold each of the loaded pages. Some keyboard command (perhaps the whole command-1, command-2 of Safari) could immediately jump one from one open page to the next.

This is perhaps the least elegant of the three windows I'm proposing, as it doesn't provide one-click access to each open page, but per the earlier discussions on the topic, I'm not sure there's an elegant way to do this (My own vote being the whole color-changed version of the favorites bar).

One final thought - all three of these windows might be even more useful if they were accessible not only through keyboard commands and/or toolbar items, but also favorites bar items (per Safari). There are a number of people, like me, that browse with only the favorites bar visible, and not having one-click availability of these panels would be less than fun.

[Edit - p.s. a fourth window possibility would be "saved" websites, akin (I think) to what people like in IE. It'd have a list of saved web sites, and indicate the date/time they were saved. It would also provide a means of reloading that same site.

More window types could be used to help, e.g. do web authoring, by keeping all your .html files accessible in one screen. - It's a powerful metaphor people!]

-----------------------

Anyway, what do y'all think? I'd gladly pay an upgrade fee (having already registered) for OW 5 with the above two bookmark and history type behaviors, let alone a good tab-panel.
( Last edited by cpac; Jan 9, 2003 at 08:33 PM. )
cpac
     
cpac  (op)
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Jan 9, 2003, 09:37 PM
 
[bump]

no thoughts? Guy? Rickster? Lookmark?
cpac
     
Guy Incognito
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Jan 9, 2003, 09:59 PM
 
Yeah...I agree...there's got to be better methods for bookmark keeping/browsing.

And ala iTunes would be good.

A bookmark would have metadata or keywords (either user defined or fetched from the contents of the bookmarked page)...and then magically sorted into specific categories ala iTunes.

www.apple.com would have 'apple' as a keyword, 'computer', 'company', 'mac' etc...

www.microsoft.com would have 'microsoft' as a keyword, 'sh!t', 'company' etc...

Your favorite football page would have 'football', 'sports', 'scores' etc...

They'd all be sorted into categories that can be filtered ala iTunes.

I just have to figure out an engenious way for the bookmark adding to add these keywords effortlessly without having to add them yourself (although it definitely also be user-definable.)

The 'playlist' approach is already taken care of in Safari...they're just the 'Folders' that contain user-defined bookmark lists.

But for the bookmarks that aren't sorted...the iTunes-browsing method would be real cool.
( Last edited by Guy Incognito; Jan 9, 2003 at 10:09 PM. )
     
Guy Incognito
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Jan 9, 2003, 10:14 PM
 
In fact...this could all be extended to something even bigger.

If we can get an app to intelligently and carefully figure out what keywords to use for bookmark metadata, all pages ever browsed by the internet browser could automatically get catalogued as a bookmark (but don't look at them as bookmark at this point)...so every page you ever go to gets inserted into the database for the browser to search easily via keyword searches or iTunes-like browsing.

This would certainly take care of the 'history' aspect, since one piece of the metadata would be a last-browsed date. And this could easily be queried using the exact same interface. One interface for both bookmarking and history.

This most closely reflects the existing 'history' idea...where every site visited in the user-defined period is logged and used by things such as url-auto-completion...but the iTunes-like browsing and metadata would make finding a specific site easier than linearly going down a list of sites you've already visited to find the one you want to find.
( Last edited by Guy Incognito; Jan 9, 2003 at 10:20 PM. )
     
Guy Incognito
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Jan 9, 2003, 10:27 PM
 
So umm...let me merge the last two posts into one smaller less confusing post.

Bookmarks should gain metadata or keywords. All history 'bookmarks' should also gain metadata or keywords.

The way Safari bookmarks is very good...like iTunes' playlists, you can create a folder to group bookmarked websites.

The rest of the sites that are 'history' sites that haven't been bookmarked would be browsable via the iTunes-like interface that uses keyword to categorize everything.

Then smart-playlists-like folders could come along and keep updating using a simple query. Things like "all bookmarks viewed less than 5 days ago", or "all forum sites", or "all forum sites that don't contain the annoying guy incognito"

I think this idea is ahead of it's time though...letting the computer intelligently figure out the keywords is probably a huge feat.
     
Guy Incognito
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Jan 9, 2003, 10:31 PM
 
Of course...it cooould use the sources keywords until more intelligent methods could go through the site and pick out good and relevant keywords...

Apple's would be:

<META NAME="Keywords" CONTENT="Apple Computer, Hardware, Power Mac, Power Mac Server, PowerBook, iMac, iBook, iPod, AirPort, G4, Software, Operating Systems, Mac OS X, Mac OS 9, AppleWorks, QuickTime, WebObjects, iMovie, iPhoto, iTunes, iDVD, Final Cut Pro, DVD Studio Pro, Cinema Tools, Remote Desktop">
     
Rickster
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Jan 10, 2003, 05:15 PM
 
Interesting suggestions, guys. Keep 'em coming. I can't promise we'll use them all, or even any one of them; but the more input we get, the better we can make our decisions.

Really, it's too early to say just how the new UI features we see in Safari will influence the evolution of OmniWeb's UI, but you can be sure they will. Apple's team set out to solve many of the same problems we've been working on for future versions OmniWeb, and in some cases their solutions are similar to what we have so far, in other cases not. There will be some cross-pollination of ideas now, but don't think we're going to just do things the Safari way now... innovation is our business, and we'll keep at it.
Rick Roe
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