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Firefox Delicious Add-in, RefControl, Missing Bookmarks, and Poor Software Design

I have been experiencing an ongoing issue with the Delicious Firefox add-in where the list of local bookmarks didn’t jive with the list on the Delicious website – I had more locally than on the Delicious website.  After an unfruitful exchange with Delicious support (does anyone ever really get any help with first level support?  No offense intended, people), I set out to figure out what was going on myself.

Turns out that another Firefox add-in called RefControl caused the post to the Delicious website to fail when adding new bookmarks.  The add-in uses a local SqlLite instance to cache your bookmarks offline so as to improve performance, so what was happening was that the add-in added the bookmark locally, but the post to the website failed, and so the bookmark never was really ‘saved’.  What’s the rub?  The add-in received an ‘authentication failed’ response from the Delicious services, but didn’t notify the user that an error occurred.  Happily, I kept on, thinking my bookmarks were safe and ubiquitously stored on Delicious’ servers.  Bad, bad design, that decision not to capture an exception and notify the user.

It wasn’t until I noticed the discrepancy between the add-in and the web that I ever realized there was a problem.  To make matters worse, there’s no way to sync between your local cache and the web, only a one-way from the web to your local cache.  So I had to hack up the SqlLite database of bookmarks, cull the ones that were missing from the web, and re-add them one by one.  Not a fun thing to make your users do.  Again, shame on you, Delicious.

Incidentally, the fix for using RefControl and Delicious together in Firefox is to add an exception to RefControl:  Allow del.icio.us as Normal.

posted on Wednesday, February 3, 2010 4:24 PM Print
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