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gnotebook: Two for the Web: gnobog and Encompass - page 2

We have a winner... sort of.

  • March 2, 2001
  • By Michael Hall

gnobog's a bookmark manager that manages to not only store bookmarks, but do so in a browser-agnostic manner. Once a bookmark's stored in gnobog, it can be dragged-and-dropped into any browser window. If a browser isn't open, it invokes one with a doubleclick of the bookmark. Bookmarks can also be dragged into gnobog, making it perfect as a browser-neutral place to keep everything.

For a Mozilla user who's gotten used to the convenience of the bookmark sidebar, gnobog also offers a pleasant usability enhancement: bookmarks appear as a list in a relatively narrow window, providing the opportunity to keep the convenience of getting at them with a single move of the mouse instead of descending through a series of nested menus and folders. Since part of my day is spent just looking at various sites for interesting stuff to throw up on the Linux Today news feed, it's nice to be able to just move down a list without having to navigate Netscape's menus.

Getting gnobog
Gnobog's available from its project homepage. It comes in a tarball; RPM's for Red Hat 6.2, 7.0, and Mandrake 7.2; and it's been included in Debian but is currently only available in the unstable (Sid) branch of the distribution.

To build from source, the regular assortment of libraries is required, and make sure the libglade packages are present as well.

Using gnobog
Upon launching gnobog, you're presented with a simple, two-paned window. The first thing to do is import some bookmarks by selecting File/Open from the menu bar. gnobog understands Netscape and Mozilla bookmarks files and imports them automatically, or you can point it at a specific bookmark file if you'd like. gnobog loads the given file and presents it in a separate window. To make gnobog your central repository, place the mouse in that window, right click, and click Selection/Select All, then drag that selection into the pane in the main gnobog window marked "storing zone." Those bookmarks are now part of gnobog.

Once your bookmarks are stored, using gnobog is a simple matter of launching it and trying it out. Simply double-clicking on a bookmark will cause either your default browser to launch and load that bookmark, or cause the current window of a browser you've already launched to load the bookmark, but there are several other ways to use gnobog as well.

For instance, gnobog supports drag-and-drop of bookmarks by selecting one and dragging it into the desired browser window. There's also a context menu available by right-clicking on a bookmark that provides a smorgasboard of browsers: Opera, Netscape, Mozilla, Galeon, Nautilus, Konqueror, Lynx, and Links (the last two appear in a gnome-terminal.) The menu also presents the option of using the GNOME URL-handler, gftp, and ncftp.

The long list of browsers is something anyone interested in web interoperability ought to enjoy: it's possible to take a look at a page under design with a number of browsers quickly and easily.

gnobog doesn't stop at providing ease of use with browsers, though. It also supports drag-and-drop of bookmarks into other applications. A quick check revealed, for instance, that dragging a bookmark into kedit opened the referenced page for editing, and dragging a bookmark into a gnome-terminal pasted that URL at the shell prompt. The gnobog developers promise similar functionality will be added over time, as well.

Outside the neat usability tweaks, gnobog is a very nice bookmark management tool. It provides plenty of editing options for creating folders and separators, and outputs a bookmark.html file that's compatible with Netscape.

There's one other encouraging note to be found in gnobog: despite its use of GNOME libraries, glade in particular, it looks as if the developers are working to make it cooperate with just about any application you care to use it with, several KDE apps included. In fact, the ability to drag a URL into a text editor seems to be limited to kedit at the moment. While we're all waiting around for the harmonic convergence of environments to take place, it's good to see individual environments stepping up and showing the way.

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