WebnoteHappy Mini-Review

May 17th, 2006

WebnoteHappy is a desktop bookmark management tool from Happy Apps. Author Luis de la Rosa has focused on making it easy to quickly add bookmarks from any browser, and give them a text note and tags if desired. The application also makes it easy to import and export a variety of formats.

I haven’t used the application with a particularly large set of bookmarks, but everything seems very snappy so far. I imported my Safari bookmarks, for what it’s worth, and it was almost instantaneous with no superfluous UI to slow me down. Searching is very quick and uses a Mail-style filtering and “by what criteria” type of interface. The application also supports “Smart Folders,” again with a very Mail-inspired configuration UI.

I like the notion of an independent desktop application for managing bookmarks. It takes ownership away from browser and online services, putting the user’s archival data in their own hands. With the flexibility to export back to the browser or services, it provides an excellent compromise of full ownership of data, while selectively participating in the social communities that one chooses to.

WebnoteHappy allows user to import from or export to del.icio.us, a popular social bookmarking site. But just like NetNewsWire in its recent 2.1 update, del.icio.us is supported to the exclusion of other services. I would like to see a more generic approach taken to “bookmark sharing” from desktop applications. As users choose from a variety of services for things like blogging, they also may choose from Furl, Digg, reddit, or many other services for their bookmarking needs. At least with WebnoteHappy, the verb is “Share” as opposed to NetNewsWire’s “Post to del.icio.us.” While the latter may be more explicit in the short term, the former leaves hope for future expansion of choices – perhaps even a plugin architecture for user-added sharing support.

AppleScript support is minimal and has some rough edges (in my experiments, I managed to crash WebnoteHappy), but establishes a decent baseline of functionality by exposing the “webnote” data model to scripters who want to examine it. If future releases build upon the existing dictionary to add verbs for things like “sharing” and “tagging,” the application could take on all new levels of functionality. For instance, lets say I want to put a subset of my saved bookmarks onto Del.Icio.Us, I might adopt a system where every such bookmark is tagged as “delicious.” Then I could write a script like this:

tell application "WebnoteHappy"
	set delNotes to every webnote whose tags contains "delicious"
	set newNotes to every webnote of delNotes whose tags does not contain "dpublished"
	share newNotes with bookmark service "Del.Icio.Us"
	add tag "dpublished" to webnotes of newNotes
end tell

Such support would make it easy to periodically update arbitrary bookmarking services as I saw fit.

WebnoteHappy is a great 1.0 release, and embraces many of the design guidelines I like to harp on about (while failing to finish my own personal projects): very minimal preferences, a clearly focused problem domain, easy and intuitive to learn. Check it out!

6 Responses to “WebnoteHappy Mini-Review”

  1. Tony Frey Says:

    Good review. While the application looks well done, why would anyone pay $25 for a bookmark application? I think someone is being “optomistic”.

  2. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Tony: I don’t know – who would pay $400 for a photo editing application? I think it’s possible that another price point might have been wiser, but who knows. If it’s useful to somebody and changes their life, they’ll pay for it. I think $25 is still in the “affordable” realm for most people buying software.

  3. Joshua Says:

    Tony: Even if it only sells 100 copies, thats quite a bit of money – especially since it’s built (I think) off of a WebnoteHappy Lite, so it probably shares a very common codebase and therefore didn’t require too much time to code. Mmmm, profit.

  4. FredB Says:

    I paid for it. And I don’t see why it’s weird.
    I don’t know about you, but bookmarks are quite important in my workflow. Being able to tag them, search them efficiently, put them on delicious to be able to get them from everywhere, etc. with a nice UI is quite nice for me. Even at €20.
    I already had thousands of bookmarks and had an hard time organizing them. And now, with rss, delicious etc. the number is increasing rapidly. Thanks to WNH I can handle them!

  5. neil Says:

    Does it work with http://jots.com ?

  6. gtr Says:

    While the application looks well done, why would anyone pay $25 for a bookmark application? I think someone is being “optomistic”.

    25 bucks is not a lot for a well done application. Look around. It’s on the cheap side. Besides, why would anyone pay money for a bookmark manager assumes everyone has your needs. Bookmarks are much more important to me than manipulating photographs. So I use iPhoto. But I figure if someone is paying 400 for PS they must have different needs than I do.

    I’m going to download it, and if I like it I’ll buy it (the light version might be good enough, but if it’s done well, I don’t mind helping someone make a living doing something they like).

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