Moving Through The Cloud: From Delicious to Firefox (And Keeping My Tags)

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about how I managed to rescue data for a friend from Delicious which has changed owners and had a deadline for migrating the data that not everybody seems to have made. But it was only half a victory because I used to use Delicious myself and ever since it changed hands I was not happy with how the new owner developed the service. I frequently had to struggle with login problems which made adding new bookmarks a hassle and going back to the collection to search for a bookmark an equally uneasy process as well. Time to do something about it I finally thought over the weekend and look for a new place for my bookmarks.

The main reasons I had my bookmarks on Delicious was because I could access them from different devices, a typical cloud based service and obviously any other solution would have to do that as well. Recently, Firefox has also added this capability with its "sync" service. What's even better here is that the copy stored on the web is fully encrypted and the encryption key is with me. In other words, neither Mozilla nor anyone else can look into the encrypted container which is unlike many other services which promise you to encrypt the data for you but at the same time have the key to decrypt the data as well. Makes me wonder what the point of such encryption is in the first place.

So by migrating from Delicious to Firefox sync I would get two things at once, privacy of my data and a usable, cross device bookmarking service. But there is a little catch when migrating the bookmarks. Delicious does have the option to export bookmarks together with tags. Unfortunately, Firefox doesn't like the format and only imports the bookmarks but not the tags. Not a good thing because it's the tags that make the link collection useful. This is a tough one but I finally found this page which offers a script that converts the Delicious output to a format Firefox can understand.

The converted file can then be read into Firefox via the "restore" functionality. The catch with this one is that it overwrites the bookmarks that are stored locally. The solution is to export the local bookmarks into an HTML file and then import the ex-Delicious bookmarks via the "restore" function. Afterward, those bookmarks have to be moved to a separate folder and then the "import HTML" function restores the local bookmarks.

The whole process took me the better part of two hours to figure out but I'm glad I've done it. Not only is my data secure and private now with a copy in the cloud that only I have the ciphering keys for but syncing to a new device running Firefox (e.g. a pad) only takes a couple of seconds.


2 thoughts on “Moving Through The Cloud: From Delicious to Firefox (And Keeping My Tags)”

  1. I’d still prefer a stable and reliable bookmark + userdata sync located somewhere in my control, rather than on a third party storage.

  2. Nice walkthrough, thanks for that. Some other thoughts come to my mind: I wonder if (many!) bookmarks are still needed now, in times of good search engines. 10-12 years ago I used a bookmark manager, Powermarks. Today, I rarely use bookmarks, I mostly do searches. And how static/valuable are bookmarks with short content lifetimes today, anyhow?

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