4.11  Multi-Device Sync Configurations

Because of restrictions imposed by web browser publishers and device manufacturers, no single app or service can sync bookmarks between all browsers and devices.  But Synkmark or BookMacster can be used in conjunction with other services to the job, and using multiple services gives you workarounds in case one of them fails.  The information in this section will empower you to sketch out a system that works for you.

Major web browser publishers now provide proprietary sync services for your bookmarks among their browsers on multiple devices.  They do not talk to one another.  Synkmark or BookMacster can be the missing bridge among them.

Unless you’re starting from scratch, which is rare, syncing among multiple devices or browsers requires a little thought to get all of your bookmarks in the correct place  before you start checking boxes.  We recommend sketching it out.

If you only use one web browser, such as only Safari, and want it synced among multiple devices, we recommend using Smarky, Synkmark or BookMacster only to sort and otherwise manage your bookmarks, but do not enable Syncing or Agents.  Instead, switch on the proprietary syncing service which is built into the web browser.  These services are able to sync not only bookmarks but open tabs, history and other data.

There are two basic alternatives:

4.11.1  Alternative 1: One Synkmark or BookMacster on One Bridge Mac

This is the best alternative for most users, who want bookmarks synced to Safari, Chrome or Firefox on a iOS or Android device (phone or tablet).  In this example, Syncing is activated in Synkmark or BookMacster on only one Mac.  Syncing to other devices is via the browsers’ proprietary services: iCloud, Firefox Sync, and Sign In to Chrome (Google).  The Mac with Synkmark or BookMacster syncing active is called the Bridge Mac.

You should choose as your “Bridge” Mac whicever Mac you use most often, because syncing among the browsers will only occur when this Mac is on and you are logged in to it.

Whatever you do, be careful not to create a Sync Loop.

4.11.2  Alternative 2: Via a File Syncing Service in the Cloud

The other alternative is to install Synkmark or BookMacster on more than one Mac, using a single synced Bookmarkshelf Document.  To do this, you move the document into a synced folder, that is, a folder synced by a Online File Syncing Service.  In this example, Synkmark or BookMacster will not only bridge among browsers but also among Macs.  You activate the browsers’ proprietary services only as needed to branch off to any non-Mac devices where Synkmark or BookMacster can’t go.  In this case, syncing to that device will only occur when the associated Mac is on, and you are logged in

We maintain a web page with our current evaluations of various services.

Again, be careful not to create a Sync Loop.  Connecting more than more than one Mac to one of these syncing services, if the Macs are also connected via Synkmark or BookMacster, will create a sync loop.

Alternative 1 has the additional advantage of syncing not only bookmarks but other browser data (open tabs, history, etc.) within each browser.  Safari open tabs on one device will sync to Safari open tabs on another device.  Safari open tabs will not sync to Firefox open tabs.  Alternative 2 does not support syncing of open tabs or other data, because it relies on Synkmark or BookMacster between devices, and the app syncs only bookmarks.

For more complex requirments, you may mix Alternatives 1 and 2.  Just be careful not to create a Sync Loop.  (Third and final warning.)  A Sync Loop will almost always ruin your day.

4.11.3  Bookmarks on a Local Network

Because a Bookmarkshelf Document (.bkmslf) file is just a document file, if you don’t want to synchronize over the internet, you can get the same effect as synchronizing by simply accessing this file from multiple Macs.  The following figure shows three ways to do that.  Note, however, that in all cases here your Bookmarkshelf file is stored on only one device.  Therefore, whichever device is hosting your .Bookmarkshelf file should have some kind of backup system, Apple’s Time Machine™ for example, in case the device fails or suffers some natural or man-made disaster.