Open Files with Finder's App Switcher
Say you're in the Finder looking at a file and you want to open it with an application that's already running but which doesn't own that particular document. How? Switch to that app and choose File > Open? Too many steps. Choose Open With from the file's contextual menu? Takes too long, and the app might not be listed. Drag the file to the Dock and drop it onto the app's icon? The icon might be hard to find; worse, you might miss.
In Leopard there's a new solution: use the Command-Tab switcher. Yes, the Command-Tab switcher accepts drag-and-drop! The gesture required is a bit tricky. Start dragging the file in the Finder: move the file, but don't let up on the mouse button. With your other hand, press Command-Tab to summon the switcher, and don't let up on the Command key. Drag the file onto the application's icon in the switcher and let go of the mouse. (Now you can let go of the Command key too.) Extra tip: If you switch to the app beforehand, its icon in the Command-Tab switcher will be easy to find; it will be first (or second).
Series: Bookmarks Everywhere
Article 1 of 3 in series
Let's face it: the bookmark or hotlist features of most Web browsers stink. They're utterly lousy. Most aren't even hierarchical, which makes it practically impossible to categorize your bookmarks, and the few (like Netscape Navigator's) that are hierarchical don't have the elegance of a well-written Macintosh application. When Web browsers first appeared, I yelled about how we needed a good independent bookmark program, partly because the existing ones were lousy, and partly because those of us who have to use and test multiple Web browsers find it difficult to switch back and forth if we lose our bookmarks each timeShow full article
Let's face it: the bookmark or hotlist features of most Web browsers stink. They're utterly lousy. Most aren't even hierarchical, which makes it practically impossible to categorize your bookmarks, and the few (like Netscape Navigator's) that are hierarchical don't have the elegance of a well-written Macintosh application.
When Web browsers first appeared, I yelled about how we needed a good independent bookmark program, partly because the existing ones were lousy, and partly because those of us who have to use and test multiple Web browsers find it difficult to switch back and forth if we lose our bookmarks each time. Also, since you collect URLs from multiple places (such as email, newsgroup postings, and Web pages), why should a bookmark manager be limited to a single program?
It took a while, but now there are tons of independent bookmark managers, ranging from the truly simple to the overly complex. I look briefly at a number of them here, but thanks to the multitude of bookmark managers available, I'm splitting this article into two parts. The first part focuses on bookmark managers that use their own interface for organizing bookmarks, and next week the second part will look at programs that rely on the Finder for organization.
BookMark Manager 1.521 -- Shinjiro Nojimi's $20 shareware BookMark Manager is a limited-time demo application that sports a two-pane interface for hierarchical storage of bookmarks. You can go more than two levels deep, but the Find Parent command becomes necessary at that point - more panes would be useful. BookMark Manager has a Find View that lets you find text in the title (fast) or in the URL and text notes for that bookmark (slower). It seems BookMark Manager has all the basics covered in terms of importing, exporting, sorting, and launching URLs, but its interface needs serious work - the buttons are too small and needlessly trying for 3-D, the main window isn't resizable, many of the dialogs are unnecessarily complex, and there are confusing menu commands (such as Cancel). Although BookMark Manager can launch URLs once registered, it has no shortcut for grabbing URLs from other applications.
ClipFiler 1.3 FKEY -- Casey Fleser's <email@example.com> $10 shareware ClipFiler FKEY, despite being the least full-featured of any of the bookmark managers, still gets a strong vote because of its simplicity. You drop a suitcase containing the appropriate FKEY in your Fonts folder, reboot, and from then on, all you have to do capture any text selection is hit that FKEY (Shift-Command and a number). ClipFiler saves the selection to a SimpleText document called Clippings on your desktop, and you can use Peter Lewis and Quinn's ICeTEe (bundled with Internet Config) to launch URLs by Command-clicking them. I like ClipFiler because I can easily snag more than just a URL, which makes it great for storing items to check out later. It makes a lousy bookmark manager, of course, but most bookmark managers are mediocre at storing much more than URLs and short descriptions.
DragNet 1.0.2 -- OnBase Technology's $39.95 DragNet (with a limited demo) is perhaps the most ambitious bookmark managers. Its four windows provide most any feature you could want. The Addresses window lets you enter, name, and categorize new bookmarks manually (DragNet automatically adds fields for Date Added and Date Last Visited). You can search by typing words while no other text fields are selected - a handy, though confusing interface. The Directory window looks much like a Finder window in Name view with categories for folders and URLs for files. The Directory window simplifies the task of categorizing URLs and browsing among the categories. The Searcher window lets you find groups of URLs containing a text string (unlike the searching feature of the Addresses window, which finds the next matching URL). Finally, the Hot List window contains six configurable pop-up menus that hold URLs in a category. Below the six pop-up menus are ten buttons that, much like the buttons on a car radio, provide instant access to frequently visited sites.
You can drag an item from any DragNet window to a browser to launch it, or click the omnipresent Go To button. Snagging URLs is generally a matter of drag & drop as well, but DragNet can also get the current URL from some browsers, and there's an extension included that intercepts Netscape Navigator 2.0's Add Bookmark menu item and redirects the URL to DragNet's database. DragNet's online help stands in for the lack of a manual, and my testing revealed only some cosmetic display problems in 16-bit or 24-bit color on my second monitor. Oddly, DragNet does not use Internet Config, nor does it differentiate between different types of URL schemes, although it accepts non-http URLs. Nonetheless, in terms of the commercial database-oriented bookmark managers, DragNet's currently the best.
GrabNet 2.0 -- GrabNet, from the ForeFront Group, is a full-featured commercial ($19.95 with a 30-day full demo) bookmark manager. You can drag & drop URLs into your GrabNet document (it also can grab the current URL in your browser) and double-clicking an item or dragging it to your browser launches its URL. GrabNet supports hierarchical lists in both name and icon views and lets you sort them by label (name), origin (URL), and last visited date. Most interesting about GrabNet, however, is that you can create not only a comment for each URL, but you can also paste in some text or a graphic that displays when you have that URL selected within GrabNet. I'm not sure how I'd use this feature, and it seems like more work than I'd go to while creating URLs. I wasn't thrilled with GrabNet; its interface confused me slightly, and I'm not fond of toolbars and cryptic buttons (especially when they appear in the menus). Other than the capability to find a text string within the database, GrabNet seems to have all the basic features, including HTML import and export.
Internet Memory 1.5 -- The $20 Internet Memory (distributed as a locked, five-item demo) provides a clean interface for adding URLs via drag & drop and launching them with a double-click. It supports URLs of a variety of types, but doesn't use Internet Config to match URL types to helper applications. A neat feature is that Internet Memory can minimize its window to just its icon when you launch a URL; single-clicking that window maximizes it again. Unfortunately, you can't drag URLs into the minimized window. Internet Memory supports multiple address books and multiple folders for organizing URLs hierarchically, which is good, but forces you to edit everything in a dialog, including folder names and URL titles. You can search your address books, and Internet Memory has a Record mode that records URLs you visit with Netscape Navigator. Other unusual features include the capability to write-protect or DES encrypt your address books (can't say that I particularly see the need for either), and the capability to store multiple email signatures or other bits of boilerplate text to copy and paste into other applications. Overall, Internet Memory works, but doesn't have much to recommend it over other choices unless you need one of its more unusual features.
MailKeeper 1.0.2 -- Nisus Software's $35 MailKeeper (with a 75-record limited demo) does much more than just keep track of URLs. It stores and indexes text of any sort, and includes functionality to handle email addresses and URLs automatically. Storing text requires first copying the text, and then pressing a hotkey to move the selected text to your MailKeeper database. Drag & drop of URLs into MailKeeper also works, and you can drag URLs from MailKeeper to a drag-aware Web browser to launch them. As an added bonus, ICeTEe also works within MailKeeper if your Web browser doesn't support drag & drop. MailKeeper's most innovative feature is its method of helping you find items. Called Guided Information Access, it provides you with four user-defined columns of categories. Clicking on a category in a column narrows the list of items shown to those that match that category. Clicking another category in the same column or in a different one narrows the list to items that contain both categories. This process enables you to work easily through a large sets of data, and you can supplement it with date restrictions. You can define additional categories for MailKeeper to index automatically when an item is first saved to your database, although the method of getting MailKeeper to do that categorization after the fact is clumsy. MailKeeper suffers primarily from a confusing interface, and it's not really dedicated enough to URLs to be ideal for that purpose. I'd like to see MailKeeper add automatic recategorization when categories are added or deleted and the capability to index and then search an entire Eudora mailbox.
SiteMarker -- Rhythmic Sphere's $12.95 SiteMarker 1.0b5-3 works only with Netscape Navigator. It provides an unusual vertical three-pane display, known as a collection. The top pane contains multiple catalogs; the middle pane contains multiple categories within a catalog; and the bottom pane contains markers - the actual URLs within the categories. A number of windoids complete the interface. The Notator windoid lets you add comments to a marker. The Searcher windoid provides an interface to searching many of the main Web search engines and catalogs. The Stylist windoid lets you change the look of your collection window, and - finally - the Button Bar provides quick access to your eight favorite markers. SiteMarker can import and export HTML, and it has a Browser menu that can control Netscape via Apple events. An unusual item on that menu is Extract Links, which you use to suck all the links out of the current Web page (especially handy for snagging the results of a Yahoo search, for instance). SiteMarker also features a record mode that creates a marker for every page you visit. You can launch URLs by double-clicking or dragging them to Netscape, but you can't drag from Netscape to SiteMarker. Instead, to snag the current URL, you click the Mark button in the SiteMarker collection window or use the Mark command in the Marker menu. Overall, I found SiteMarker full-featured (although it lacks a Find) but sluggish and somewhat clumsy. Still, its record mode and Searcher windoid make it a useful tool.
The URL Manager 1.1 -- Alco Blom's $15 shareware application, The URL Manager, is fast, slick, and easy. Its documents open as Finder-like windows in Name view, but with a faster response time. You create bookmarks by dragging them in from a Web browser, or typing Command-N and editing the bookmark name and URL in place in the list (rather than in a clumsy dialog). You can search for text in names or URLs, and double-clicking a bookmark launches the URL in your Web browser. You can also open bookmarks in a specified (via Internet Config) helper application. A dedicated menu holds links to the main Web search engines. It's easy to get URLs into other applications, either by dragging or a simple copy and paste, which I find I do a lot in my writing and email. The URL Manager can import Netscape's bookmarks, bookmark files saved as HTML (it can even scan for URLs in normal text files), and Anarchie and Fetch bookmark files, and it can export an HTML page of bookmarks. You won't go wrong with The URL Manager, and Alco appears to be updating it frequently and with powerful new features.
WabbitDA 1.4.5 -- Mel Patrick's <firstname.lastname@example.org> freeware WabbitDA has a lot going for it. It's quick, easy to use, fully supports drag & drop, and has flexible search capabilities. You create new bookmarks by either copying them and clicking the New button, or dragging them to WabbitDA's window from Netscape or another drag-aware application. WabbitDA can also import bookmarks from Anarchie, Netscape, or another WabbitDA file. You launch URLs by dragging them to a drag-aware application or Command-clicking them in the WabbitDA window. Unusual features in WabbitDA are the grouping of URLs by scheme, and the marking of the group by color, along with a stopwatch feature for tracking how much time you spend online. WabbitDA's main drawback is that it's not hierarchical, and although you can create multiple WabbitDA files, you can have only one open at a time. I prefer The URL Manager to WabbitDA, but WabbitDA is quite good, and the price is right.
Web Squirrel 1.0.5 -- Eastgate Systems' WebSquirrel ($49 with a free demo, and for another week you can buy one, get one free via DealBITS) is the most innovative and unique of the bookmark managers. Drawing inspiration from Eastgate's hypertext editor Storyspace, Web Squirrel uses a graphical layout for storing bookmarks, simplifying navigation with a powerful Find feature and some easily accessed shortcuts. With support for pasting and drag & drop (from Web browsers or from other Web Squirrel documents), it's easy to get URLs into Web Squirrel, and a simple double-click launches the URL in the proper Internet Config-defined helper application. Web Squirrel suffers primarily from being somewhat unstable in my testing and from a plethora of unrelated metaphorical terms. This Web squirrel (since when do squirrels spin webs?) creates farms, which contain multiple items (bookmarks) that can be graphically grouped into neighborhoods or textually grouped into lists. You can walk or fly around your farm (what, no horse?). Agents (rather conspicuous on a farm in their dark suits) watch the contents of your farm for keywords and continually gather up matching sites. Web Squirrel's graphical display is screen hungry, but if it was more stable, I'd probably use it since its organizational schemes are actually fun to use.
WebArranger 2.0 -- CE Software's $99.95 WebArranger 2.0 (1.0 was distributed free through 16-Feb-96, and version 2.0 is a $49 upgrade and comes with a free demo), is astonishing in its scope, thanks in large part to its heritage as a personal information manager called Arrange from Common Knowledge. WebArranger can grab URLs with a hotkey thanks to an extension called Grabber and can launch URLs with a keystroke (ICeTEe's Command-click also works). You can import Netscape bookmarks, and - in an unusual feature - your Netscape History file. WebArranger can check URLs to see if they've changed, record your path through strands of the Web, and even keep trying to get into busy FTP sites. A variety of searching and sorting features are available. On the downside, although WebArranger uses drag & drop internally, it doesn't accept URLs dropped into its windows. Perhaps my main criticism is that WebArranger is overkill - if you're willing to devote plenty of time to learning its features and using it constantly, it won't disappoint, but more casual users or those wishing to starting using a program quickly will find WebArranger's myriad options and features confusing.
What URL?! 1.0a4 -- Noah Mittman's free What URL is an extremely simple application that accepts URLs dragged into its windows (you can also create bookmarks manually, although not directly, as in The URL Manager). It's not hierarchical, but you can create multiple windows and drag bookmarks between them. Launching is a matter of a double-clicking the URL in question. There's no sorting or searching, and you can only select one bookmark at a time. One unusual feature is a little padlock icon in the lower left corner of each window, which, when clicked, locks that window against accepting more bookmarks. A second click opens it again. What URL doesn't match up to The URL Manager or WabbitDA at this time, but it's still an early release.
WWW-Freund 1.0 -- David Renelt's free <email@example.com> WWW-Freund sports a clean interface, but has little power under the hood. It uses a two-pane window to create a hierarchical interface to your bookmarks, and it has a button to copy the URL to the clipboard and another to launch the URL specifically in Netscape. You cannot drag URLs into WWW-Freund, or snag them with a hotkey; instead, you must paste the URLs in manually. And, although you can add and edit a description of the URL if you like, if you make a mistake in either the name or the URL, you cannot edit them. You can't even move a URL from one group to another as far as I can see.
Take Your Pick -- After looking at all of these bookmark managers, I feel the best commercial utility is DragNet, with honorable mentions going to WebSquirrel for being the most interesting, and WebArranger, for taking too many steroids. In the shareware arena, my pick is The URL Manager, and for freeware, I currently prefer WabbitDA.
Which do I use? None of the above (actually, I do use WebArranger, but not for its bookmark management capabilities). Tune in next week for the second part of this article, which looks at bookmark managers that rely on the Finder. My personal favorite falls into that category.
Article 2 of 3 in series
This article is the second part of my look at bookmark management utilities. In TidBITS-323 last week, I looked at utilities that offer their own interfacesShow full article
This article is the second part of my look at bookmark management utilities. In TidBITS-323 last week, I looked at utilities that offer their own interfaces. This week I'm changing gears and investigating bookmark managers that rely on the Finder to organize, categorize, and search through your bookmarks. A few additional programs have straggled in since last week, so look for the third part of this article in the next issue of TidBITS, covering everything I missed in the first two parts.
CyberFinder 2.0 -- Aladdin Systems' $30 CyberFinder control panel (with a 15-day fully functional demo) is completely integrated into the Finder, so your bookmarks appear to be files in Finder windows. CyberFinder can create "libraries" that look like folders in the Finder, and you can store bookmarks for all the common URL schemes in these libraries. Creating new bookmarks is a matter of either grabbing a URL from any application with a user-defined hot key, or pressing Shift and choosing New Bookmark from the Finder's File menu. Replacing Shift with Control toggles that item to New Library. You launch URLs by double-clicking the bookmarks in the Finder, or by selecting a URL in any application and pressing another user-defined hot key. The actual URL is accessible if you select the bookmark and choose Get Info from the Finder's File menu.
CyberFinder's power is undeniable, since it piggybacks on the Finder's sorting and searching capabilities, and there are some nice touches, such as opening bookmark files from a variety of Web browsers as libraries (which makes moving to CyberFinder easier). CyberFinder's ease of use is very good, but it also inherits the Finder's clunkiness. In addition, some utilities, like Now Menus, don't see CyberFinder libraries as Macintosh folders, although I circumvent that problem by storing bookmarks in true folders rather than libraries, trading the larger file size of individual files in the Finder for the flexibility offered by Now Menus. CyberFinder has two notable problems: its bookmarks aren't available unless the control panel is loaded (but see URL Clerk below), and it can't grab the <TITLE> tag from a Web page if you're snagging a URL from a Web browser. Overall, however, CyberFinder is my pick for the best and most flexible of the bookmark managers.
DropURL -- Perhaps the simplest of the bookmark utilities that rely on the Finder for their database work, Peter Marks's <firstname.lastname@example.org> free DropURL 1.1 uses Internet Config to launch a URL listed in the first line of a text file dropped on DropURL. If you change the creator of the text file to "DURL" (a utility to do this is included), you can double-click the file to launch its URL. Only the first line is used, so any additional lines are available for comments or descriptions. DropURL has no capabilities for easily capturing URLs or creating these text files - that's all up to you.
Duke of URL -- Although it uses the Finder for all database work, the postcardware Duke of URL 1.0 is unique in a number of ways. It works only with Netscape and saves a URL launcher of the current Netscape page as a mini AppleScript application. You must activate Duke of URL manually by launching it for each page you wish to record, and it's quite slow to work, both in saving URLs and launching them. In part because it relies on the Finder and AppleScript, Duke of URL ends up not being particularly usable in comparison to many other options.
NetSnagger -- Rod Morehead's free NetSnagger 1.1b3 sports only two features. It lets you create Launchers, which are NetSnagger files you can double-click in the Finder in order to launch the URL associated with them. It also lets you create Draggers, which are NetSnagger windows that facilitate retrieval of files stored at Info-Mac and UMich mirror sites. You open a Dragger window to a specific mirror, then drag the partial URL to a file (say, from an Info-Mac Digest) into that window. NetSnagger works with Internet Config to retrieve the file, or, if you're using a Launcher, to launch the appropriate URL with your preferred Web browser. Creating Launchers and Draggers is a bit clumsy, but using them is relatively easy. All sorting and searching of Launchers relies on the Finder, and although it's nowhere near as useful or elegant as CyberFinder, NetSnagger is an application and it's free.
URL Clerk -- The freeware URL Clerk 1.1 <email@example.com> offers a few features not found in other Finder-using bookmark launchers. URLs (one per file) are stored in text files URL Clerk can create for you if you drop an appropriate text file or clipping file onto the included Bookmarker application. Another option lets URL Clerk convert text or clipping files automatically to its bookmark format after launching them. It can launch CyberFinder bookmarks, which might be handy if you normally use CyberFinder but don't have it loaded. Unfortunately, as with many of the Finder-based bookmark managers, there's no easy way to create URL Clerk bookmark files - you must do it manually in one of a few different ways. Double-clicking any URL Clerk bookmark launches URL Clerk, which in turn launches the URL in the Internet Config-specified helper application. URL Clerk is simple, but ends up being so simple that it's mostly useful to CyberFinder users.
Web ShortCuts -- WhollyMac's $18 (with a 15-day trial) Web ShortCuts 1.0 relies on the Finder for all of its searching, sorting, and organizing. Its main claim to fame is that it lets you create an icon for the Finder file that holds a URL. Creating the icon is as simple as selecting something onscreen, although the entire process requires copying a URL, switching to Web ShortCuts, choosing New from the File menu, pasting in the URL, clicking the Clip Image button, selecting an image to turn into an icon, clicking the Save As button, and finally naming and saving the file in a Standard File dialog. Launching a URL is far easier - you can either double-click it or, if you're running Netscape, you can simply drag the icon from the Finder into the Netscape window. Despite the clever icon grabbing feature, Web ShortCuts just doesn't seem sufficiently easy, nor does it offer much over free programs like NetSnagger.
My Pick -- I'm slightly surprised by my final choice of bookmark managers. Despite the fact I feel increasingly hampered by the Finder, after testing all of the bookmark managers I've looked at for these articles, I settled on Aladdin's CyberFinder, although I use it in a specific manner. I created a Web URLs folder, and using Now Menus, gave it an icon in my menubar so it's available all the time. Within that folder, I created yet more folders, including one called Unfiled URLs, and I set CyberFinder to save all snagged URLs to that folder. When I capture a new URL, I immediately open the Unfiled URLs folder from my iconic Web URLs menu. I then name the file appropriately, and using the feature of Now Menus that lets you drag files into a hierarchical folder that Now Menus has created, move the bookmark into the appropriate folder. I also keep a To Check Out folder toggled open within the Unfiled URLs folder, so if I grab a URL quickly without knowing if it will be worth keeping, I stuff it in the To Check Out folder for later perusal. Even better, since I can use Now Menus to assign keyboard shortcuts to menu items, I can now go to Yahoo or Alta Vista or a couple of other sites with a press of a key, no matter what I'm doing. Although the Finder can be slow and clumsy, CyberFinder turned out to be the best solution for me.
To be complete, I also like Casey Fleser's ClipFiler FKEY, since it's a great way to stuff random bits of text into a SimpleText file. I haven't quite decided if I plan to use ClipFiler or WebArranger for this task, since after Matt Neuburg's article about WebArranger in TidBITS-313, Tonya and I sat down and figured out more about how WebArranger works (and it's very cool, if you can get past the massive confusions). Another possibility is a future version of MailKeeper, if it makes it easier to recategorize text and generally improves the interface.
Tune in next week for a grab-bag of the various programs that escaped my notice the first time around, along with a few additional tips and techniques.
Article 3 of 3 in series
When we publish articles that attempt to review a comprehensive collection of a certain type of product, we sometimes miss a few products for one reason or anotherShow full article
When we publish articles that attempt to review a comprehensive collection of a certain type of product, we sometimes miss a few products for one reason or another. Here then, are the products that didn't make it into the previous two parts of this article, which began in TidBITS-323.
Clay Basket -- Dave Winer's Clay Basket, now at 1.0b8, was one of the first bookmark managers, but in its second major incarnation added Web site management features that drove its bookmark management features into the background. Dave tells us Clay Basket's third incarnation will reverse direction.
Clay Basket only works with Netscape Navigator and is essentially an outliner, like Frontier's, that displays bookmarks hierarchically. Although you can drag links from Netscape into Clay Basket's outline window, that merely creates a new outline item with the URL as the name; it doesn't make the item hot (you must manually copy the URL into the item's Location window to make it hot). You can launch the URLs associated with normal hot items by double-clicking their outline triangles. However, if you make an item with a URL into a topic heading, you can only launch its URL by opening its Location window and clicking the Send to Netscape button. Clay Basket can import and edit a Netscape bookmarks file, and it offers a Netscape recording mode. Clay Basket supports non-Web URLs, but only through Netscape. Clay Basket is not so much of a bookmark manager but an alternate editor for Netscape's bookmarks file (making it unnecessary with Netscape 2.0.x).
In Control 4.0 -- Attain's $85 In Control information manager (with a free limited demo) recently added support for URLs. Like WebArranger, In Control enables you to snag URLs at any time (thanks to an extension) and you can drag & drop URLs into In Control. Also like WebArranger, you can organize bookmarks any way you like (thanks to In Control's database capabilities). In Control uses Internet Config, can import bookmarks, and can extract URLs from HTML files. Most interestingly, In Control can identify URLs even in other text that you grab, giving you the context of the surrounding text and the capability to launch the related URL. Tim Stein <firstname.lastname@example.org>, who told me about In Control's new capabilities, feels that In Control is faster and easier to use than WebArranger.
InfoDepot 2.5 -- Chena Software's $189 information management program, InfoDepot, now supports URLs in version 2.5, which is a free upgrade for registered users of 2.4. You can drag URLs into InfoDepot from Web browsers that support drag & drop, and once you have the URLs in InfoDepot, you organize them with InfoDepot's outlining capabilities. Launching URLs is done via a script, or you can use ICeTEe to Command-click the URLs to launch them via your preferred helper application. InfoDepot supports three URL schemes (http, ftp, and gopher) but doesn't use Internet Config; instead it routes all URLs through Netscape Navigator. Although it lacks the URL features, Chena offers a free outliner based on InfoDepot 2.4.
SurfBoard 1.0b1 -- Abbott Systems' $39 SurfBoard is perhaps the most attractive of the bookmark managers I've seen, featuring an interface reminiscent of a futuristic TV remote control. A tall vertical green button opens the display screen to show your current list of URLs (you can have more than one list). The main list is likely to be long and hard to navigate (although you can sort by name or last access time), so nine "fast dial" buttons in the main screen provide quick access to URLs in categories you set. A blue triangle button at the top of the window lists the last 15 URLs you've visited, and a blue "plus" button grabs the current URL from your Web browser (either Netscape Navigator or Internet Explorer). You can drag links into SurfBoard from Netscape, and SurfBoard can import bookmark lists from both browsers. I haven't used SurfBoard for long, but it looks like a great effort. I'd worry about it bogging down with too many URLs, but its features for making recently accessed URLs available will help a great deal.
URLs R Us -- There are a ton of HyperCard stacks that track URLs, and most of these stacks, useful as they may be for their creators, generally aren't good general purpose solutions. However, Jon Pugh's URLs R Us stack goes beyond most other HyperCard URL managers because it uses AppleScript to grab URLs from Netscape Navigator or the clipboard, can launch them easily, and has various sorting and finding features. Even more unusual are its features to check Web pages, updating a "Date visited" field and "Title" field. Jon's stack has a variety of other features as well, so be sure to turn on balloon help when exploring its interface. If you use HyperCard all the time anyway, Jon's stack is worth a look.
WebPinMaker 1.2.4 -- Hisashi Hoda's free WebPinMaker is an interesting program. At first blush it's just a way of snagging URLs, and then only from Netscape Navigator. WebPinMaker creates a small windoid that is always available, floating over all other applications. Clicking the push pin icon in that windoid snags the current URLs in one of three formats. You set the formats by zooming the windoid and selecting Pin File (a format that CyberFinder will take over if loaded), Netscape URL, or Self Launch. A Pin file is a WebPinMaker file that launches its URL by launching WebPinMaker first. A Netscape URL is the same as what you'd get by dragging a bookmark out of Netscape 2.0's bookmark list. A Self Launch file is the self-extracting version of a URL: double-click it and it launches the URL itself without needing WebPinMaker around (which is true of the Netscape URL file as well, and they're smaller).
Other Comments -- Readers always send in lots of tips when we publish articles of short reviews, and I wanted to share a few of the more interesting ones. First off, Mel Patrick, author of WabbitDA, wrote to pass on a correct email address: <email@example.com>.
Alco Blom <firstname.lastname@example.org>, author of URL Manager, writes:
I'd like to mention one powerful feature of URL Manager (that you indeed included in your review) that I use frequently in combination with TidBITS - the Scan Text command. Drop a TidBITS issue on URL Manager's window (or use drag & drop with a whole chunk of TidBITS text), and voila, you have imported all hypertext links mentioned in that issue.
Aleks Totic <email@example.com> wrote to tell us that if you drag bookmarks or folders from Netscape's bookmarks window to the Finder while CyberFinder is loaded, you get CyberFinder bookmarks. The reverse is true as well, so dragging CyberFinder bookmarks or folders from the Finder to Netscape's bookmarks window creates Netscape bookmarks.
Outliners -- A number of people mentioned using other outliners, specifically Acta and Frontier, to store URLs. Although getting URLs into these programs isn't generally easy, launching URLs via ICeTEe is trivial.
Finding in the Finder -- A criticism of bookmark managers that rely on the Finder (like CyberFinder) is that they don't seem to have sophisticated searching capabilities. You can search for the name of a bookmark file, but what if you want to search for text that appears in the URL itself? You can if you have System 7.5's Find File program.
Open Find File and select the disk(s) in which you want to search. Click the More Choices button to reveal a second set of menus. From the first pop-up menu, choose "creator," and in the text entry field to its right, enter "URL1" (sans quotes). That limits the search to files created by CyberFinder (though you could enter the creator for any bookmark manager). Now, press Option while choosing contents from the second pop-up menu (contents won't appear unless you hold down Option). Then, type the text you want to find in the text entry field to the right, say "apple" to find all sites whose URLs contain the string "apple". Finally, click the Find button.