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A Client is usually a web browser. More generally, a client is a thing from which a Bookmarkshelf will get bookmarks content during its Import, and to which it will send them during its Export. In the first context, it is referred to as an Import Client and in the second, an Export Client. You add and remove Clients in the Import and Export tables in a Bookmarkshelf’s Settings > Clients tab.
There are actually four types of clients.
Most often, a Client is a locally-installed web browser app, with its bookmarks in your Mac account. Client “Safari” simply means your Safari bookmarks. For browser apps that support multiple profiles, each profile is a different Client.
A Client can also be a web-based browser app account. If you have multiple accounts, for example, two Delicious accounts, each will appear as a separate Client in BookMacster.
A Client may also reference the bookmarks of a particular locally-installed web browser app on another Mac account on your network, for example, the Opera bookmarks in account Suzie in server Old Powerbook. This will appear in the popup menu as “Old Powerbook:Suzie:Opera 10”.
Finally, a Client can be a loose file of bookmarks which you accessed using the Choose File (Advanced) menu item. BookMacster tracks this file using the path and file alias mechanism built into Mac OS X.
Major web browser publishers now provide proprietary sync services] for your bookmarks, open tabs, browsing history and other data among their browsers on multiple devices. For syncing, you may need to consider how they interact with BookMacster. The following list gives links to the instructions you need to control these services.
In order to execute an Import or Export command, BookMacster must somehow access the bookmarks content of the Client that you chose in the popup menu in Settings > Clients.
This section explains how that is done, for each of the different types of Clients.
BookMacster has two methods for importing from and exporting to Locally-installed browser apps (Safari, Firefox, etc.). BookMacster automatically chooses the appropriate method based on current conditions.
The quick direct sync is to import from and/or export to the file or files on the disk which the browser app itself uses. This is the only method available with Safari. Safari allows BookMacster to do this while Safari is running, provided that BookMacster is careful to maintain iCloud data. This is also the only method availalable with Opera and the older browsers, although in these cases BookMacster must quit the browser before importing and/or exporting. If the desired operation cannot be safely performed without quitting a running browser app, BookMacster presents a dialog asking you if it is OK to quit the app, and then to re-launch it when done. BookMacster can also use the quick direct sync for Chrome and Firefox.
The other method is the coordinated sync. This method, which is only available in Chrome and Firefos, communicates the import or export through a browser add-on, and hence works while a browser app is running. BookMacster installs the browser add-on into your browser profile when you add Chrome or Firefox as a Client. For Chrome, this is done silently, while Firefox requires your OK.
In multi-device sync configurations, BookMacster’s imports and exports must be coordinated with other services sign as Chrome’s Sign In to Google or Firefox’ Firefox Sync, and in general this means that the coordinated sync described above must be used, and therefore the browser must be launched if it is not running.
A simple example explains why. Say that BookMacster is syncing Safari and Chrome, and you also have Chrome on your iPhone synced to Chrome on your Mac via Sign in to Google. When you add a new bookmark in Safari, BookMacster could export that to Chrome using the quick direct sync if Chrome was not running, but only Chrome can push that new bookmark to Chrome on your iPhone, which won’t happen if Chrome is not running. The same thing happens in the reverse direction; a bookmark added to Chrome on your iPhone can not show up in BookMacster or Safari without Chrome’s help.
Therefore, before an Import or Export, if Chrome or Firefox are involved and are not running, BookMacster looks to see if Sign in to Google or Firefox Sync are active in the profiles involved, and if so, by default it automatically launches Chrome or Firefox.
You can control this behavior by clicking the tab Settings > Clients, and then clicking the Advanced Client Settings (gear) button for the subject Chrome or Firefox profile.
In the Special Settings section you will see a popup menu to set launch browser during Syncs.
If you do not want to leave Chrome or Firefox running in the background, and you find it annoying when BookMacster launches them automatically, and you don’t mind bookmarks syncing being delayed, or occasional omitted bookmarks due to conflicts, you may change this setting to Never.
The opposite situation arises if you using another external syncinc service instead of the built-in Sign in to Google or Firefox Sync. In this case, such a service may have its own add-on installed into Chrome or Firefox, and again, BookMacster should launch Chrome or Firefox prior to an import or export in order to coordinate syncing with it. But BookMacster is not aware of external syncing services. To fix this, you can make sure that syncing is always properly coordinated by setting the popup to Always.
But you can make all of the above moot. There is a way to eliminate the annoyance of browsers launching and quitting if you are using Sign in to Google or Firefox Sync, while maintaining reliable bookmarks sync. The solution is to add Firefox or Chrome to your Login Items, and just leave them running. You can close all of their windows if you are not using them. With no open windows, there is not much activity, and, thanks to the use of modern virtual memory by Mac OS X, there will not be any noticeable performance degradation. This is even more so if you have Mac OS X 10.9 which features App Nap. I hardly ever bother quitting apps on this MacBook Air. Currently it has been running or sleeping for 4 days, and I have 35 apps running.
When you set a Client on an Other Macintosh User Account, BookMacster accesses the same file it would access normally, except if looks in a different Home Folder. If this Home Folder is on a different Mac, BookMacster will present the usual dialogs necessary to “mount” the filesystem of the other Mac. This is the same as what happens when in Finder when you “browse” and “connect to” a server.
Whether on your Mac or another Mac, authentication may be required. If BookMacster cannot obtain the required credential from your Mac OS X Keychain, it will ask you. However, if one of BookMacster’s Agent’s Workers cannot obtain a required credential or cannot mount a required server for some reason, it will simply fail and try again the next time it is triggered.
In contrast to how BookMacster accesses bookmarks in your Macintosh User Account (explained in the previous section), on other Mactintosh user accounts, only the quick direct sync method is available. Neither BookMacster nor its Workers check to see if a web browser is running when accessing files on an Other Macintosh User Account, although it does warn you to check. Thus, if you are using this advanced feature, you need to be careful about whether or not web browsers are running in the other account. To be safe, just quit them before importing or exporting.
In order to help identify a Client in the common situation where people have a similarly-named user account on multiple Macs, BookMacster remembers and displays the server name on which the file resides.
The bookmarks of web-based browser apps such as Delicious can be accessed at any time, typically using an “application programming interface” (API). Where available, BookMacster uses such an API. The web apps’ operation “in the cloud” take care of synchronizing changes uploaded and downloaded by BookMacster, although occasionally glitches occur.
Accessing content from a web app requires that BookMacster be able to get a password from your Mac OS X Keychain If you want a BookMacster Agent to be importing from or exporting to a web app, when setting the Client, make sure to check the box that says Keep in my Mac OS X Keychain.
In order to minimize loading on their servers, web apps require that BookMacster maintain a local cache of your bookmarks content. Sometimes a glitch may result in the server telling BookMacster that its local cache is synchronized with their data when in fact it is not. If you are seeing inconsistencies between BookMacster and a web app, you can force BookMacster to re-download all bookmarks content from the server on the next import by emptying BookMacster’s local cache. To do this, in the menu click BookMacster > Empty Cache. The web apps don’t like if you do this too frequently (within minutes) and may temporarily ban your IP address if they feel offended. BookMacster keeps track of this for you, if you are in danger of being banned, usually warns you and refuses to perform the command.
When you set a Client using the Choose File (Advanced). item in the popup menu it the Import or Export table, BookMacster remembers the Macintosh file system’s “alias” so that if you move the file, it cam still be found. Again, no checks or warnings on browser running are made before performing an Import or Export.
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