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Firefox Sync does not allow a master Bookmarks machine, why?

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c627627

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Post Posted June 20th, 2018, 2:32 pm

For people who use a main home machine and just want to transfer Bookmarks to various mobile Devices, why is there no way to do that? Correct me if I'm wrong, but the main Bookmark machine will be infested with various crap Bookmarks from all the mobile devices if you use Sync because Firefox only allows syncing both ways.

I have to immediately delete the Firefox sync acct, then create a brand new one, every time, every single time I try to transfer Bookmarks FROM main machine to a mobile device as this is the only way to transfer Bookmarks from my main machine to a mobile device, without having mobile Bookmarks messing up the main Bookmarks stash which needs to be used for multiple mobile devices.

Also, what do you think is the reason why Firefox developers did not include a way for us to know when Syncing is in progress and when it is finished on PC? There is no indicator on PC like there is on Android where it tells you Syncing... and it tells you 'last synced 0 minutes ago' so you know syncing is done.

and the most important question:
I cannot imagine what could possibly be the reason why we are not allowed to just simply save a Firefox Bookmarks file then simply import it into Firefox mobile, directly from a file without using the internet at all!

I mean people have huge, 200GB microSD cards on their Android devices... All their most important files are right there, why can't they just tap and import Bookmarks from a file right into Firefox Mobile? Surely there is reason why we are prevented from doing so, I was just wondering what do you think it is?
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the-edmeister

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Post Posted June 20th, 2018, 4:51 pm

There is no "Main" machine with Sync. All bookmarks are merged on all devices, with Mobile not always getting all the bookmarks from Laptop / Desktop depending upon the total of bookmarks on the Laptop / Desktop devices. (I have looked for a spec for "Mobile" as to how Firefox or Sync decides how many Desktop bookmarks get sent thru Sync to "Mobile", but never found an explanation or spec as to how that works.)

Sync does keep Mobile Bookmarks in such labeled folder when sync'd to Desktop / Laptop devices. Those Mobile Bookmarks shouldn't get intermixed with bookmarks from Laptop or Desktop installations. iirc, before like April or May 2015 the Mobile bookmarks did get intermixed on Desktop / Laptop devices, but that was changed on the lead up to Firefox for iOS getting released in June or July 2015.

As far as no "Sync progress" indicator, IMO the developers are a bunch of clowns with their "less is more" approach to the UI and indicators. On Desktop / Laptop if you would hover the cursor over the double-circular arrows in the Menu panel to the right of your email address for Sync you will see Last Sync: and the Day / Time of the last Sync event.

And you don't need to delete your Firefox Account to clear your data from Sync and get a fresh load of Sync'd data to each of your devices, simply Reset your Firefox Account Password, that will clear all your data from the Sync server.

As far as being able to export bookmarks in to a file that you could import into a different Firefox installation, you can use Export Bookmarks to HTML in the Library window, but that file would include ALL your bookmarks and that file would append any existing bookmarks on the device that you would import that file to, giving you duplicates. Short of editing out existing bookmarks in that HTML file that wouldn't work for you - there's no way to "Export to HTML" for bookmarks by date saved or never than the last Export you would have done.
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c627627

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Post Posted June 20th, 2018, 10:12 pm

Thanks for the tip about password reset. Is that the only way to transfer Bookmarks from your main PC to various mobile devices, to reset the password before each transfer?

Thank you also for the tip on how to tell sync status on PC.

...but the point was to use a file on Android, to get mobile devices to import a Bookmarks file (not PC devices to import a file)... and that can't be done, you can't import a Bookmarks file on Firefox mobile, right?
Also, why is it that they insist on having all those subfolders? Is there a way to have one single Bookmarks folder on Firefox mobile just like Firefox PC has, with no other subfolders, don't some people just want to have the same experience on Firefox mobile as they do on Firefox PC... but there's no way to have a single Bookmarks folder on Firefox mobile, correct?
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the-edmeister

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Post Posted June 20th, 2018, 11:44 pm

c627627 wrote:Thanks for the tip about password reset. Is that the only way to transfer Bookmarks from your main PC to various mobile devices, to reset the password before each transfer?

No, that was only in response to your statement about deleting your Sync account and creating a new Sync account to stop your "mobile Bookmarks messing up the main Bookmarks stash". And clearing all Firefox data from the Sync server isn't a primary feature, but rather a by-product of changing the account password, which makes the saved data useless as the data is encrypted by a "key" that is created from the user's password.

Sync is intended to be connected all the time, not to be enabled when the user wants to connect it. And of prime importance by the developers is that Sync remain unobtrusively in the background needing no user input; hence the lack of user controls - basically "Sync now" for tabs (which is hidden in Customize by default), in the Menu panel the Sync now dual-arrow button and Connect & Disconnect menu item.

What aspect of the Desktop / Laptop bookmarks is getting messed up? If it is duplication of bookmarks & folders, you're not the only one having that issue. I traced that problem back to changes made to Sync to April/ May 2015 when Firefox for iOS when into Beta testing, based upon support requests over at SUMO - the official Mozilla support fora.

I don't have any Mobile devices - questions about Mobile devices and Sync on Mobile are best asked over here:
viewforum.php?f=47
From the Board Index > Other Mozilla Discussion > Mobile

In conclusion, you seem to be the only user here whose "Joined date" goes back 13 years who is using Sync; same thing at SUMO. "Old timers" mostly gave up on that POS after it let them down repeatedly or never even tried it, from many comments I have seen posted on both fora.
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c627627

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Post Posted June 21st, 2018, 7:01 am

Well okay. However few old timers there are, surely we can agree that Bookmarks are important to people who have accumulated them over the past twenty years.
So now *how* do they transfer them from PC to a small million mobile devices they come across in their lives!?

There is their phone, there is their tablet... Certainly more than one single phone comes up in their lives over time. In my case, definitely more than one Android tablet.
So what do we do... how do we transfer all Bookmarks quickly and easily? This is not about continuous sync, just about transfer....

To answer your question, we do not want anything coming IN from those mobile devices, just to transfer Firefox Bookmarks OUT to many (many) portable devices we come across and need to use over the years. The only way is Sync, correct?
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allande
 
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Post Posted June 21st, 2018, 9:33 am

According to this, Firefox for android will import bookmarks from Chrome on android. https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/ge ... nd-history So, on your desktop run chrome, tell it to import your Firefox bookmarks. Then, get them onto your Chrome on your phone - Chrome's sync would do that, or there may be a manual way. Then on the phone import from Chrome. Also, if you want the ability to import from a file on Chrome for android, find the bugzilla bug for it and vote for it.

c627627

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Post Posted June 21st, 2018, 10:53 am

Thank you. Tested to find the option is: Import Bookmarks from the "Native" browser.
That native browser is not Chrome, but whatever that Android Browser is called on Android phones. It has no file import function.

Manual way to import into Chrome would be interesting, however I found no search hits whatsoever saying it can be done on *mobile* Chrome.

Off topic/side comment: I was actually forced to switch to Chrome on Android because on five different cell phones, I noticed Chrome to be "instantaneous" when opening bookmark shortcuts from phone's "desktop" screen whereas Firefox opened them with at least a 1+ second delay.
What just brought me back to Firefox mobile is the fact that Mozilla *just* fixed the option to clear private data on exit.
There was an official bug filed in a thread I participated at bugzilla, eons ago, I mean many (many) versions ago pointing out that the option to Clear private data on exit did not work. Incredibly it took Mozilla until current version 60 to make this crucial feature work. So now I'm back on mobile Firefox because of that.

Also over the years I've had various threads going on various computer forums about the fact that millions of users sync/back up their PC files to removable storage yet for some strange reason virtually no one does that on Android even though affordable removable microSD cards existed for years. 128GB microSD cards, 200GB microSD cards - huge amounts of removable storage making it easy to not have to rely on the cloud / internet service - yet no one on Android platform was doing this and millions of users on PCs are regularly sync/backing up their files to removable storage.

I mean why wouldn't you want to have all your stuff in the palm of your hand if you could? Why rely solely on a third party (!) to control access to your most important files. Work files, personal files.
It's really incredible the entire eco system exists on PC and none of those people want to do the same on Android?


How hard would it be to make PC Firefox export a Bookmarks file which could be directly read by mobile Firefox? Does it really not exist because *no one* has a need for this in the entire Android world? While we're at it, why is there no equivalent of some sort of an *.ini file where you can save your custom settings and just click or tap on it and all your customizations are restored on ANY Firefox you start using when you switch phones?
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the-edmeister

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Post Posted June 21st, 2018, 3:40 pm

c627627 wrote:So what do we do... how do we transfer all Bookmarks quickly and easily? This is not about continuous sync, just about transfer....

To answer your question, we do not want anything coming IN from those mobile devices, just to transfer Firefox Bookmarks OUT to many (many) portable devices we come across and need to use over the years. The only way is Sync, correct?

Sorry, Sync doesn't work in that manner. Two-way synchronization or nothing (type of data not selected to be synchronized.

Lack of user control (such as master / slave and "direction" of data flow) has been a user complaint about Sync for over 10 years, not much has changed in that respect.

The best I can suggest is to look for an add-on which does it the way you want. Some users seemed happier with XMarks, which is dead now; others swear by iCloud Bookmarks; while other users don't want their data stored online - hard to have a consensus where "we do not want anything ..." is truly is factual.
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c627627

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Post Posted June 21st, 2018, 5:57 pm

Yes.
I actually (also) use physical bookmarks, original Windows 95 Favorites folder with actual individual url links in it. The very same folder is also used by 2018 Windows 10.
There is a way to integrate that into pre-Quantum Firefox with this: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefo ... 4.1-signed
There is a way to launch those on mobile Firefox using this tool: https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... .stuntzurl

But I do not see an alternative for a cross-platform universal Firefox Bookmarks transfer, other than Firefox Sync.
Which *can* be used from a master machine *if* you first delete all Bookmarks on Firefox installed on a slave device.


These are my notes I've used over the years on how to use Firefox Sync to actually do it on Android but I would imagine the same would work on other platforms:
I start by deleting all Bookmarks on a new device. And then, my notes:


Incredibly, Firefox sync master machine *cannot* be set (!)
Therefore your main computer will continuously be overwritten with data from your mobile devices as Firefox sync functions as two-way only.

SOLUTION:
Uninstall Firefox on Android.
Delete the Firefox Sync account using master machine.
Firefox > Tools > Options > Sync > [Sign In] Manage Account > Delete account
Create a new account immediately (you can use the same exact email and password).
Select and Save Settings and verify email if asked.
You don't have to do anything else after creating the account, just wait a bit for Bookmarks to upload.

Syncing on Android can only be done if you enable Android Settings > Accounts > Settings > CHECK: Auto-sync data > OK

Install Firefox on Android and sign into the same Firefox account, ignoring all messages on Android Firefox about needing to create accounts on other machines.

Settings > Firefox Account > you should see that it is Syncing now.


After syncing completes, immediately Disconnect your mobile device [scroll down under where syncing settings are].

For Android devices:
Android Settings > Accounts > Settings > See Auto-sync data needs to be CHECKED for syncing to go through.
Settings > [Notifications] App notifications > Firefox > Block

Go inside Desktop Bookmarks on Firefox and
Tap & hold Bookmarks Toolbar folder > Remove
Tap & hold Bookmarks Menu > Edit > Parent Folder > Mobile Bookmarks > [upper right] SAVE
You may also delete Other Bookmarks folder but DO NOT DELETE Desktop Bookmarks folder because that would delete the Bookmarks Menu even if you moved it elsewhere.
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