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firefox bookmark search

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This feature has been requested several times before. The bottom line is that Firefox is just not a popular browser amongst Alfred users (< 5%).

 

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Firefox is about 2x as popular as Safari though: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_web_browsers#W3Counter_(May_2007_to_September_2018). It seems to me that usage is no longer a valid reason.

 

And that "<5%" of Firefox users still paid the same price for their copy of Alfred as everyone else. Perhaps you should offer a discount for Firefox users seeing as they're forced to go without such useful functionality.

Edited by Gareth

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9 hours ago, Gareth said:

Firefox is about 2x as popular as Safari

 

Those are global statistics, i.e. for all operating systems. Safari doesn't even run on ~90% of those computers, so they're not particularly relevant stats.

 

That 5% I quoted is from Alfred-specific websites, like this forum, so it's a more accurate number for the relevant audience of actual Alfred users.

 

Importantly, accessing Firefox's bookmarks is not easy. There is no API, and it requires digging into Firefox's internal data, which may change location or format at any time.

 

Currently, there are a few solutions:

 

Use a workflow that reads Firefox's bookmarks.


Export your Firefox bookmarks and import them into Safari (this sucks if your bookmarks change a lot).


Use an app that syncs Firefox bookmarks to Chrome/Safari, from where Alfred can read them:

 

Or finally, write your own program to export Firefox's bookmarks to .url or .webloc files on disk and point Alfred at them.

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12 hours ago, Gareth said:

And that "<5%" of Firefox users still paid the same price for their copy of Alfred as everyone else. Perhaps you should offer a discount for Firefox users seeing as they're forced to go without such useful functionality.

 

The bookmarks feature is a complimentary (free) feature in Alfred, and it's not even mentioned on Alfred's homepage or the Powerpack page.

 

We are very careful when picking features to include in Alfred's core (instead of an extension in the form of a Workflow), there is significantly more time consuming research and due diligence than we ever talk about publicly.

 

A few reasons Firefox hasn't been brought into Alfred's core are:

 

1. The low number of Firefox users (actually less than the 5% dean quotes) who use Alfred.
2. No public API for Firefox bookmarks, meaning a hacky approach would be required. This inevitably leads to increased maintenance effort to keep the feature working.
3. Firefox has complete overhauls every so often, rebranding, and re-launching. Alfred can't support this kind of nuance.

 

This is not to say that Alfred will never natively support Firefox, but at this point in time, it's not a good fit for Alfred's core... Especially when there are a number of workflows which can satisfy this feature.

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Posted (edited)

> Especially when there are a number of workflows which can satisfy this feature.

None of those workflows work properly which is why people keep requesting the feature be added to core. This is so obvious that I'm pretty sure you must already know it.

 

All you need to do is parse bookmarks.html. Firefox bookmarks have been moved in later versions to SQL you say? Then simply require that users enable the browser.bookmarks.autoExportHTML option in about:config and the browser will generate and maintain that file for you.

 

Given that bookmarks.html has existed since the dawn of the browser's existence, these "complete overhauls" that you mention are irrelevant. Parse that file and you have Firefox support, no strings attached. Easy.

As your own moderator says, "This feature has been requested several times before". Given that it would be easy to add the feature by parsing bookmarks.html, please go ahead and add it.

 

Thanks

Edited by Gareth

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Posted (edited)

If it's as straightforward as you claim, then why don't you write a workflow that does work? I'm sure other Firefox users would be very grateful.

 

If you need help, I and other forum members will be happy to provide it.

Edited by deanishe

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Posted (edited)

> If it's as straightforward as you claim, then why don't you write a workflow that does work?

Because I bought and paid for software that not only does it for 2 other browsers - one of which is less popular than the browser in question - and which takes feature requests from its customers. As the saying goes, "You don't get a dog and then bark yourself".

 

Also, I'm far from the only customer you have who wants this feature.

 

> I'm sure other Firefox users would be very grateful.

I'm sure they would indeed. But they didn't buy my software to help support me with its future development - they bought yours.

Edited by Gareth

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Gareth said:

one of which is less popular than the browser in question

 

I've already explained why this is not true. <5%. That's how many Alfred users use Firefox, and that's the number that matters.

 

2 hours ago, Gareth said:

Because I bought and paid for software that not only does it for 2 other browsers

 

Like Andrew said, bookmark search is a free feature.

 

2 hours ago, Gareth said:

one of which is less popular than the browser in question

 

Safari is at least 4x more popular than Firefox amongst Alfred users. Chrome is more than 10x more popular than FF, being the browser of choice for an absolute majority of Alfred users.

 

2 hours ago, Gareth said:

Also, I'm far from the only customer you have who wants this feature

 

b30ffc9d9b0218f6c204e0c74e3c87222c601ecc

 

And it really isn't as simple as you make it out to be:

 

11 hours ago, Gareth said:

All you need to do is parse bookmarks.html

 

No, it isn't.

  • Firefox has profiles, so there may be multiple sets of bookmarks. Therefore you also need to find and extract the profile metadata to get the proper profile names. Alfred can't just show 8s0yn3yg.dev-edition-default-1516906151252 as the profile name because that's the directory it found the bookmarks in.
  • You can't just read an SQLite database. It may be locked by the application, meaning you can't even open it.
  • The database location or schema may change at any time, so you're also left trying to figure out which version of Firefox is running so you use the appropriate filepath and SQL queries. Firefox Developer Edition saves its data in the same folder as regular Firefox. Do you know how to tell which profile belongs to which version?

 

Use bookmarks.html, you say?

  • Messing with settings in about:config is "black magic" to a lot of users and fraught with risks. Cue support requests and accusations of "you broke my Firefox!"
  • Many (most?) users don't read the docs. They aren't even going to get as far as about:config. They'll just make a "Firefox bookmark search doesn't work" post on the forum or send Vero an email. See all the "XYZ doesn't work in Mojave" posts on the forum for a perfect example of how this would go down.

 

And that's just off the top of my head. Doubtless, I'd run into a bunch more issues actually trying to implement it. Because you always do.

 


 

Once again, if you would like to implement a Firefox bookmark workflow, I (and doubtless other users) would be happy to help.

 

But given Andrew's comments, it isn't going into core Alfred any time soon.

 

Edited by deanishe

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Posted (edited)

Umm, what? You write about the SQL database immediately after I just told you that this database is not required?

 

And then you claim that toggling a boolean in about:config is beyond your users' abilities? So your users are expected to be able to use advanced default results, set up custom web searches and create new workflows, but toggling a boolean in about:config is too complicated? Are you for real? What nonsense!

 

Andrew said he didn't want to tackle this feature before I suggested using the exported HTML document which would make it a whole lot easier than using the database. As such, I don't think it's too much to expect that changing circumstances might change his mind - unless of course you guys are flatly determined not to implement the feature regardless of any circumstances because you just hate Firefox? Is that what you're saying?

 

And I find it incredible that you would post condescending memes in a response to one of your customers' requests. Are you honestly that much of a dick? You even said yourself that, "this feature has been requested several times before", so why on earth would you try to make out via meme that I'm the only one asking for it?

 

I've heard of mods on here having an attitude problem before. And now I see it with my own eyes. @Vero could you please take a look at this?

Edited by Gareth

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Posted (edited)

Now he's just messaged me with:

 

Quote

Hi Gareth,

If you want to insult me, a PM is just fine.

Thanks,

Dean

 

What I want, Dean, is to be able to post to the "feature suggestions" area of your "user forum" (which I believe is for customers to request new features?) without getting snotty responses from an arrogant, haughty, condescending moderator who seems to think it's his job to piss people off. Since this seems to be beyond you, I kindly ask that you butt out and let one of your more mature colleagues take over.

 

How on earth someone with your personality characterists is allowed to represent a company is anyone's guess because you're causing it nothing but harm - and so publicly too as a forum moderator! Just amazing!

 

Please don't message me again. If I could block you then I would.

Edited by Gareth

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The meme was a joke, Gareth. My goal was not to offend you, and I’m sorry that I did.

 

I don’t think using “about:config” is beyond Alfred users’ ability, but it is outside of normal usage, and makes activating the feature somewhat complex. That’s why I mentioned SQLite: that’s the only way the feature could work “out of the box”.

 

A lot of people do not read instructions. I don’t think that’s a controversial statement, is it?

 

And that *will* lead to support requests.

 

I have no more idea about or influence over what gets implemented than you do.

 

Once again, I am sorry for any offense I have caused, and my offer to help with a Firefox boomarks workflow still stands.

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I could believe the meme was a joke if it was posted in isolation, but with the rest of the post as context I really don't think so. There is clearly an attitude at play here and it matches what I've seen elsewhere on the forum as well as what I've heard on Reddit. If it walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck then it's a duck.

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Just installed Alfred 4. I kinda hoped this feature would have been added as one of the benefits of the upgrade, but nope.


I'm a so-called Mega supporter - a decision I made back when I was still using Chrome, before Firefox became the superior browser.

 

Alfred's upgrade process asked me if I wanted to make an additional contribution towards its development and I'm afraid the answer was no - and will continue to be no - while the feature I want most remains on your ignore list.

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1 hour ago, Gareth said:

Just installed Alfred 4. I kinda hoped this feature would have been added as one of the benefits of the upgrade, but nope.


I'm a so-called Mega supporter - a decision I made back when I was still using Chrome, before Firefox became the superior browser.

 

Alfred's upgrade process asked me if I wanted to make an additional contribution towards its development and I'm afraid the answer was no - and will continue to be no - while the feature I want most remains on your ignore list.

 

Oh, I was too hoping that this will be supported. Too bad it isn't :(

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Posted (edited)
On 5/30/2019 at 5:34 PM, Justin Aiken said:

https://9to5google.com/2019/05/29/chrome-ad-blocking-enterprise-manifest-v3/

 

Is one of many reasons I'd like to switch to firefox... Alfred's bookmark search is the one thing holding me back.

 

I actually made the switch last year, despite the lack of support in Alfred, because of the performance advantage, the awesome usability tools and most importantly the significantly better privacy features. I missed Alfred's bookmark search a LOT and did find a couple of hacky workarounds, but none of them as smooth as native support. But I refuse to go back to Chrome.

 

And yet despite having suggested on their twitter feed in 2017 that Firefox support could come, it still nowhere to be seen:

 

 

Very, very disappointing.

They've spent time on setting up improved theme support - which I doubt anyone gives a toss about - and have actively ignored Firefox despite the increasing awareness of data privacy in recent years.

The Alfred team really need a wake-up call.

Edited by Gareth

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I'll pitch in my +1 here, not sure if it means much. With all of the changes with Chrome, I'd like to start using Firefox more and launching bookmarks through Alfred is a huge help for that.

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36 minutes ago, Jakub Sypiański said:

If I wanted to ask the same question about Vivaldi, should I open a new thread?

 

Your post doesn't really belong in here, but I'm not sure there's much point in submitting a feature request for Vivaldi support. All the same arguments for not supporting Firefox apply, only more so because Vivaldi is used by an absolutely tiny proportion of Alfred users (under 0.2%).

 

This is squarely in workflow territory, imo, and your best bet is probably to go to the workflows forum and see if anyone's interested in helping you write a workflow for Vivaldi's bookmarks (or adapt an existing Chromium one, which might be trivial to do).

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Posted (edited)

> All the same arguments for not supporting Firefox apply

In this day and age, with data privacy what it is and Chrome leaking data like a sieve, you have no valid arguments for not supporting Firefox.

 

I'd actually respect you more if you just came out and said you're too lazy to support it, rather than trying to justify it with some BS.

Hiding behind usage numbers isn't valid because as others have already pointed out, the lack of Firefox support in Alfred is the 1 thing keeping them from making the switch. They WANT to switch but you are preventing them from doing so. You are part of the reason for the usage statistics.

It's like me telling my wife, "You cannot drive my car because you are not insured on it" and then immediately afterwards, "Oh, there's no point in me insuring you on my car because you never drive it". It's just nonsense.

Stop investing time into useless features that no-one wants like themes, and put some time into adding support into a feature that your customers are actually asking for - which is support for the safest major browser. The usage statistics will follow.

Edited by Gareth

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Posted (edited)

@Gareth I don't like the way you present your arguments (also, you have no data to claim that people don't want themes, do you?), but you have a good point: the statistics of active browser users are potentially strongly biased. The impossibility to use the browser of choice due to Alfred's limitations definitely influences statistics. It would be interesting to find out which browsers Alfred users USE, but which they WOULD LIKE to use. However, I don't think that "Firefox: 5%" would suddenly become "People who'd love to use Firefox, but can't: 25%". Just because of the bookmarks?

 

@deanishe Thank you for the answer. I can't wait to learn to make my own workflows, especially after discovering how supportive and dynamic is the the community here. But for now, I will try to forget how great it would be to have my Vivaldi bookmarks accessible through Alfred. ;)

Edited by Jakub Sypiański

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Jakub Sypiański said:

but you have a good point: the statistics of active browser users are potentially strongly biased. The impossibility to use the browser of choice due to Alfred's limitations definitely influences statistics.

 

FWIW, Chrome was already by far the most popular browser amongst Alfred users back when only Safari bookmarks were supported. Indeed its share was increasing faster before Chrome bookmark support was added than after. So, having to use a workflow to search their bookmarks clearly didn't put people off using Chrome.

Edited by deanishe

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Posted (edited)

I also would like FF to be supported, since the provided ff workflow tries to read the SQL db and is, thus not working when FF is running. I, however, don't see it that critical with workflow vs. 'provided by default' since I think that Alfred is lacking features in more important areas. A working workflow would be sufficient.

 

A simple solution could be to allow the bookmarks feature in Alfred to parse a html file - this way FF bookmarks could be added just by pointing it to the profile folder and setting the browser.bookmarks.autoExportHTML flag.

 

Regarding browser choice in general: I have a feeling, that Safari is somehow falling behind in performance, especially if one uses it with all bells&whistles, like adblockers. Chrome is the new IE - barebone, introducing more and more limitations, a privacy nightmare. It its strange to see, how FF is getting in the "David vs. Goliath" role once again. So, while I absolute believe that Chrome is by a large margin the most used browser for Alfred users, the thinking here should be more strategical, since we don't want to ask ourselves in 10 years how we've got there with browser monopoly.

Edited by lycopodiopsida

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