The title of this blog post might be a bit misleading. SiteBar is not really a social bookmark service like del.icio.us or furl.net. SiteBar is an excellent online bookmark manager which you can also download and install on your own server. All you need is a LAMP system which means that it will run in most webhosting environments. I am discussing this tool here because it's quite useful for system administrators.
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As a sysop you usually don't work all the time on your own computer. Often you try to fix problems on desktop machines, work on the server console etc. I guess it happened not only once that you needed one of your bookmarks while trying to fix a problem. One option is to use a social bookmark service like deli.cio.us.
This solution might not work for you though. Often your company's security policy doesn't allow you to access the web from a server. Another issue are backups. Your bookmarks are important data for you and probably essential for your daily work. Hence, daily backups are a must for bookmarks, too. The question is: Can you export your bookmarks daily from your favourite online bookmark manager? I guess not. Even more problematic might be the fact that you have bookmarks which you can't give to others. I'm talking about bookmarks to internal company web pages which contain confidential data.
The solution is to setup your own online bookmark manager on one of your servers. Maybe there are system administrators or colleges in your company which like to use them too. SiteBar has an integrated user management.
I've been using SiteBar for quite a while now. It has many more features than all other online bookmark services, I've seen so far. They also have an online version. If you plan to install it, it could be worth checking it out there first.
There are two features which I like most: First of all, SiteBar doesn't work with tags. Yeah, I consider this an advantage. Tagging can get quite time consuming if you always have to think about the best tags for every new bookmark. I prefer the old style of bookmarking that uses simple folders. Of course, SiteBar allows you to create subfolders. This way of managing bookmarks works much better for me than with tags. Tags are more useful if you share your bookmarks with many others, but that's not the point of this article.
The other feature of SiteBar I want to mention can be inferred from its name. SiteBar is also a sidebar. This means that it can be integrated in your web browser. I've tested it with Firefox, Internet Explorer and Opera. With Sitebar you work with bookmarks the same way as with your local bookmarks. With a mouse click, your bookmark list will open on the left side of your browser while your current web page stays open. You can even drag and drop bookmarks from one folder to another, add new folders change the properties of a bookmark with a right click and so on. This means that your bookmarks are on a server, but you handle them as if they were local. Drag and drop doesn't work with Opera though.
The Sitebar's installation is very easy. All you need is a MySQL system, a web server and PHP. Copy the PHP files to the server, start the installation script and then start adding bookmarks. Of course, you can also import your bookmarks and export them again if you want to change to another bookmark manager. You can use a bookmarklet to add new bookmarks. There is a Firefox extension which makes the SiteBar integration easier.
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I hope the features discussed so far made you curious enough to have a look at this great tool. SiteBar has many more features that other online bookmark managers lack. SiteBar can be downloaded here. Even if you don't want to install it on your server, you should check out the online version. A commercial version with more features is also available.