trenchant.org

by adam mathes
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Setting More Good Bits

I’ve been playing with Furl recently. After signing up for the service, it adds a browser button or toolbar that “furls” pages - saves them to a searchable online repository. It also has elements of a social bookmark manager (like del.icio.us or Stumbleupon) but the emphasis seems more on the personal data repository aspect.

I think it’s a very good implementation of the “one click to save this page for later” idea. I prototyped some software to do this - but for a single user at the desktop level called Flick. (I never did get around to releasing it, but other than the fact that it’s a Perl application it’s really nice and does play nicely on Windows and Mac.)

The primary issue with Furl - and one of the reasons I worked on the local desktop app for Flick - is that there may be very valid reasons not to want your personal data repository on someone else’s server. Partially because there’s always the inherent danger that the hosted solution might go away, but more that in the “business” world you probably just don’t want that information anywhere outside the firewall. There may also be serious scalability issues if the service gets very large. (You don’t have to worry much about efficiency or scalaibility if you just have to support a single user occassionally seraching through hundreds of indexed documents.)

I also think in general the site design could use some help, the default way to display your personal archive to the public, mine for example seems to be a relatively poor display of that information. (A first attempt at my reformatting it based on the older Flick output, which I like a little better but needs work.)

Furl offers an RSS feed of your pages, as well as some javascript includes. It also has an export facility which dumps everything (sans index) into an XML file. It’d be nice to see something like the API for del.icio.us.

Overall though, a very interesting and useful piece of software.

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