I was looking through the list of updated Firefox add-ons the other day and stumbled on something called ViewMarks. ViewMarks is a visual bookmarks utility that allows Firefox users to browse and otherwise interact with their bookmarks visually. What exactly does that mean? Here’s how the developer of ViewMarks describes the product:
“ViewMarks offers an alternative way to organize and use your bookmarks. When you create a bookmark, a preview image is automatically captured and saved. You can then use a web page view of your bookmark folders, navigate through them, rearrange items with drag and drop, move and copy between folders, edit title, url, keywords and description, search items and of course open bookmarks and bookmark folders in the same or a new tab or in a new window. You can open different bookmark folder in different tabs and directly link to them. Missing preview images are automatically captured when opening a bookmarked web page. All preview images can also be copied to the clipboard and loaded from file.”
The most important thing to take out of all that, at least initially, is that instead of browsing your bookmarks in list form, or via the standard folders and files interface, you get little a realizable preview image of every bookmark you have saved. The first time you use ViewMarks, of course, those preview images won’t have been created, but once you’ve installed ViewMarks, each time you visit a website in your bookmarks a thumbnail will be created. This thumbnail shows you what the website looks like, not just what it’s called and what its URL is, which can often be more useful, especially for visual learners.
One thing I really like about ViewMarks is that it doesn’t try to be another bookmark utility. By this I mean that it doesn’t create a whole new set of bookmarks for you. It isn’t like Google Bookmarks, which are separate from Google Chrome bookmarks, or Delicious or one of many bookmark utilities. ViewMarks takes your existing Firefox bookmarks and displays them to you in a different manner. Any changes you make in the standard bookmarks interface are shown in your ViewMarks, and vice versa. If you create a new ViewMark, you’ve also created a new bookmark. Move or copy a bookmark to a new folder and a new ViewMark will appear in that folder. It’s the same data, just displayed differently.
Also, just like your standard Firefox bookmarks, ViewMarks supports tagging and searching, so if you don’t like categorizing your bookmarks into different folders (which can be less efficient, especially as a single bookmark might fit into multiple categories), you can find what you’re looking for by using tags. This way, a single bookmark – let’s use ESPN.com as an example – could show up both under Fantasy Sports and NBA, as well as appearing when you search for your “sports” or “fun stuff” tag (or whatever you use to designate non-business websites).
ViewMarks is a nice option for people wanting a change from the standard Firefox bookmarks. It doesn’t take a lot of set-up or configuration, and the fact that it integrates with your regular bookmarks means that if at some point you stop using it, all the changes you made, or bookmarks you added while using it, won’t be lost.