Monthly Archives: January 2004

Mobile Bookmark Manager

John at mypalmlife is looking for a Palm application that will synchronize with his desktop bookmarks and import them into the Web Pro web browser. I've also been looking for the same solution. John points to three different solutions, some of which might be good starting points. (I tried FavoGo, but the conduit threw an exception on the first try.)

I had the concept for a “Mobile Bookmark Manager” that would provide much of this functionality:

  • Synchronize bookmarks between desktop web browsers (IE, Mozilla, etc.) and device, being able to sync your whole collection or perhaps just one sub-folder
  • On the device, ability to beam/send bookmarks for sharing
  • On the device, ability to add new bookmarks which will be synced back to the desktop
  • For newly-discovered bookmarks, create a “read later” method that would be presented back on the desktop (“while you were away, here are some new pages you wanted to read…”)

You could also use this to synchronize bookmarks between multiple computers, but I suspect that a server-based solution would work better. For one thing, people don't usually sync to ALL of their computers.

One current obstacle is lack of an “official” interface to the device web browsers' bookmarks databases (e.g., palmOne's Web Pro). I've looked at the database and it's not too complicated, so one could always reverse engineer the format and pay close attention to updates in the future in case it changes. One approach would be simply a conduit that synced between the desktop favorites and the Web Pro bookmarks database, saving the need for a device application.

Palm Turns Eight

From Brighthand I learned that the first Palm Pilot was demonstrated at Demo '96 by Jeff Hawkins and Ed Colligan. I've been here over five years and I'm not even an old-timer.

No mention of this anywhere on our website, but I suppose it's not a major milestone or anything. The Company Backgrounder does mention that the first Palm Pilot was launched in 1996 (I believe it was in April).

.NET Framework

Today Joel Spolsky wrote Please Sir May I Have a Linker? which starts as a rant on the lack of a linker in .NET but brings up some valid issues about the need for end-users to install the .NET framework. Over time, more and more users should have the framework, especially as it starts being bundled with Windows. But, Joel raises a good point about the frequency of framework updates which might require continuous updates by users.

At Palm, we faced a similar problem with Palm Desktop 4.0 which required a minimal version of Internet Explorer (we were using the browser control). Fortunately we were able to pick a very minimal version (IE 4.0 SP1) which meant that only early Win95 and Win98 systems would require an update to IE; everything since then has at least version 4.0 installed.

Joel gives the example of a simple program that gives an indecipherable error message when launched on a machine without .NET. In a more typical scenario, you would probably deliver the application with an installer that could detect whether the .NET components were installed and alert the user in a clear way if not.

It does look like Microsoft will allow developers to redistribute the framework, but at 27MB you would probably only do that for an internal project. For internet-based downloads, I suspect most developers will not bundle the framework, relying on end users to update from Microsoft directly. I suppose this is similar to the previous incarnations which needed Visual Basic or MFC DLLs to be distributed, although they certainly weren't as large as .NET.

Vegablog

Now playing wth Vegablog which is a blogging client for Palm devices. Testing by writing this post from my Tungsten C over 802.11 wireless.

It’s missing a few features like category handling and editing of existing posts, but works well and seems like a good starting point.

Link: “www.bitsplitter.net/vegablog/(www.bitsplitter.net/vegablog/)”:www.bitsplitter.net/vegablog/