BookmarkBridge User Manual

Chapter 3. How BookmarkBridge Works

Theory of Operation

While seemingly simple from appearance, BookmarkBridge is actually a rather complex program under the hood. This section attempts to explain how BookmarkBridge works. This entire chapter is intended for a technical audience. It is not necessary to understand any of this chapter in order to successfully use BookmarkBridge. However, for the curious I have provided this information. Furthermore, it can be helpful to understand how something works and what it is trying do in order to troubleshoot and fix a problem.

The Bookmark Tree

Whenever the user asks BookmarkBridge to view or merge bookmarks, it reads the bookmarks from every configured browser and combines these into an internal bookmark tree. It keeps this tree in memory and it becomes the master copy of bookmarks that are either displayed to the user or saved to each browser. This tree consists of all bookmarks and folders. The tree starts with an un-named, root folder. This root folder contains all bookmarks that are not, themselves, in a separate folder. This root folder also contains all first-level subfolders. These subfolders can then contain more bookmarks and folders. If the user chooses to view their bookmarks, they are actually viewing a representation of this tree.

Once this tree has been generated, BookmarkBridge saves it to a file, usually called bookmarks.xbel. See Appendix C - Configuration Files for more information. This happens even if the user just views their bookmarks.

Reading the Bookmarks

When BookmarkBridge is asked to view or merge bookmarks, it first reads the bookmark tree, if any, from any previous invocation. It then calls on an internal module for each configured browser to read bookmarks into memory. BookmarkBridge has such a module for each browser it supports. These modules read their browser's bookmarks into a tree belonging to that browser. Later that tree is merged into a combined tree consisting of bookmarks from each browser. Once the bookmarks from all browsers have been read, BookmarkBridge knows which browsers have which bookmarks and folders. If it was able to find a copy of the bookmark tree from the last time it was run, it is able to know if a bookmark or folder was previously saved in a browser but is no longer present. It also knows which bookmarks are different between the browsers and which bookmarks are new.

Saving Bookmarks

Once a combined bookmark tree has been produced from the bookmarks of each browser, BookmarkBridge then calls again on the module for each configured browser to save the new bookmark tree out to the browsers.

Table of Contents          Previous: None          Next: Compiling BookmarkBridge From Source

BookmarkBridge is Copyright © 2003 by Ken Schenke. All Rights Reserved. This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.