Displaying your Spurl.net bookmarks on your own page

I was playing with this new blog’s template. I had actually forgotten how incredibly easy it is to include your own bookmarks in your own page, complete with folders and everything. The following assumes that you are a Spurl.net user and make note that it will only show the links that you’ve chosen to publicly display (publish).

When that’s set, here are the steps to integrate with your page:

  1. Download this file, extract the php file inside it – called spifdata.php – and put it into a directory called “spif” under the path where you want to use the tree-view. For this page – hjalli.com – the path needs to be: http://www.hjalli.com/spif/spifdata.php (not that it will do anything on its own though).

    Make sure that the “spif” directory is writable by the user “apache” (or whatever the web server user on your server is). This is likely to be a default setting on the server though.

  2. Include this code in your page where you want the tree to appear (you can this very page as an example)

    <div class="spTree">
    <div id="spfc-0" class="spTreeFolderContent">Loading...</div>
    <iframe id="spLoader" style="display:none;" width="0" height="0">
    <script src="http://www.spurl.net/spif/user/user2.js"></script>

    …replacing ‘hjalli’ with your username.

  3. Include this line in the section of your page:

    <link href="http://www.spurl.net/variants/default/css/sptree.css"
    type=text/css rel=StyleSheet>

That’s it!

4 milljónir bókamerkja á Spurl.net

Í gær dúkkaði 4 milljónasta “spurlið” upp á bókamerkjaþjónustunni okkar, Spurl.net. Það er innan við ár síðan þau voru bara milljón og ekki einu sinni 3 mánuðir síðan þau voru 3 milljónir.

Núna er okkar helsta vandamál að höndla öll þessi gögn þannig að allir séu samt ánægðir með hraðann og gæðin. Það eru uppfærslur á leiðinni, en þetta er forgangatriði – að bæta hraða og nytsemi, áður en við förum að bæta við mjög miklu af viðbótarmöguleikum.

Hvað um það – gaman að sjá svona ört vaxandi kúrvu – vaxtarverkir eru góðir verkir 😉

Spurl.net grows fast

After a quite positive article about Spurl.net in Lockergnome – Windows Fanatics newsletter, Spurl.net saw a lot of new faces last week.

Traffic has grown significantly and a lot of uploaded bookmarks should be making the recommendations and other Spurl features that use aggregated data from the Spurl community even more interesting.

Spurl.net welcomes all our new users and we hope to see you spurling a lot in the future.

We are always working to make Spurl.net better. An upgrade is scheduled by the end of the week where the latest improvements and additions will be revealed. Stay tuned.

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BTW: Several users have been posting ideas and support requests to the blog, which is fine, but not ideal for keeping track of them and for other users to find the information later on. I’m therefore looking for a good bulletin board solution to install on Spurl.net. Preferably PHP/MySQL based. Any suggestions?

Multiple categories and other updates

The last few days have been spent on some good rearrangements. Most of them will not really show on the surface, but here are some of the changes you might have noticed:

  • It is now possible to put a spurled page in more than one category at once (press the “multiple” link in the Advanced spurling window).
  • I’ve been simplifying the setup process and putting more emphasis on that users also install the Spurl bar which seems to be a real hit with everybody that installs it.
  • The front page has been changed somewhat to try to better explain what Spurl.net is and does (only new/logged out users see that bit). As you know, Spurl is many things so all suggestions for a short and catching description of what Spurl.net is are welcomed!
  • The help and tips and tricks have been updated a bit, but there is more work to do there.

Spurl.net – Del.icio.us integration / Spurl.net API

In response to requests for further interoperability, I’ve made a couple of minor upgrades to Spurl.net:

  • Del.icio.us integration: Current users of del.icio.us can now fill in their del.icio.us user information at Spurl’s My profile page (if you’re redirected to the homepage you need to log in) to be able to use both services through a single post. When the information has been registered, every “spurl” is also sent as a post to del.icio.us, allowing users to enjoy the benefits of both services through a single point of interaction.

    When registering the del.icio.us information, users can also – optionally – upload their current del.icio.us posts to Spurl.net. This allows them to enjoy some of Spurl’s specific features, such as searching their old del.icio.us posts, getting recommendations based on the current del.icio.us profile and makes it possible to keep the Spurl and del.icio.us profiles in sync from that point forward.

  • API: If there are any developers out there that would want to use Spurl.net as a part of their implementations, I’ve created a simple API that allows posting and retreiving information from the Spurl.net database. If you’re interested in using this API, please var bug = “bug”; var a = “@”; var spurl = “spurl”; var dotnet = “.net”; document.write (“contact me“); for further information.

Most visited spurls and export

I’ve made two improvements on “My spurls”. Both improve the usefulness of the My spurls page quite a lot and are the first steps in a major upgrade I’m doing to that ppart of Spurl.net in general (including the search functionality).

  1. Most visited Spurls: Spurl now counts every time you click a link in “My spurls” (or search results from My spurls). This information can be used to allow users to sort their spurls by frequency of use. That sorting mechanism is not there yet (hopefully later today), but as a first application of this functionality, The default page for “My spurls” now shows your category structure and the 15 most visited pages through My Spurls. For me at least, this made the trick: My Spurls is now my default homepage from where I access my most frequently used sites.
  2. Export: As Allen mentioned in a comment to a previous post, the export functionality is here. It exports all your spurls as a bookmark file. The structure of the export file is the same as Explorer and Firefox use, and I believe almost any browser can import files of this format.

    This allows you to back up your Spurls locally, and more or less do whatever you want with them. They are – after all – yours.

The Spurl.net philosophy

“Tell me what you read and I shall tell you what you are.” is an anonymous proverb.

While I have no intentions to use Spurl.net to tell you who you are, the proverb highlights how important the information we consume is. Every day we take in a lot of information from a variety of sources. This information shapes our ideas, opinions and to some extent our personality. Given this fact, it is amazing that people don’t try to keep a better track of their information consumption.

I guess there are two reasons:

  1. Suitable tools have been missing.
  2. Because of the lack of tools, people haven’t really given its importance a thought.

Spurl.net is aimed at solving this problem. I’ve tried to implement it so that it becomes a seamless part of users’ browsing activity. See something you find interesting or want to store for later reference – a single click of a button marks it, indexes it for you to search later on and even stores a copy of the page so that it will always be available even though the original page changes or becomes unavailable (so called linkrot). If the user wants, he or she can add more metadata about the page such as a comment, a custom title and a suitable category in a personalized hierarchy of categories, all efforts to help the user locate the information again later.

The conscious effort to mark something is important, as only a part of the abundance of information we consume is worth being able to track later on. The marked information thereby becomes a record of the consumption that the user rates as important or somehow significant.

While I’m not totally convinced that “personalized search results” are the holy grail some people claim it to be, I’m sure that most users will find it hard to imagine how they managed without being able to search the interesting part their own browsing history, once they’ve become accustomed to it.

With this record in hand, Spurl.net can also offer the user a lot of interesting value adds on top of the core “store & search” functionality mentioned above. The recommendations, syndication possibilities and the “spurl beam” (see: Spurl.net page, all mentioned features require login) only scratch the surface of a wide range of functionality that can and will be offered utilizing users’ spurl history. Some of these are already being built into Spurl.net and will be introduced in the coming weeks.

While these are all nice frills, I will try to keep focused on the main vision as detailed above. As before, all comments and suggestions are welcomed.

– – –

As an end note, nicely portraying the importance of the information we consume, here are a few of the sources that inspired my Spurl.net implementation in the first place:

Storing pages and searching full text

Spurl.net now allows users to store a copy of spurled pages. Use the “Advanced” tab of the spurl! window, and choose “Store / Yes”.

When a page is stored, Spurl.net also indexes the entire text of the spurled page and thereby allows users to later search for any piece of text on pages that they have spurled.

This helps Spurl.net to further live up to the slogan: “You are what you read! Store it, search it, share it, use it” (the text that now greets new Spurl.net users).

The idea is that users will spurl and store everything that they’ve actually read, but just spurl (and not store) pages that they just want to keep for later reference. That way the index will correspond to what a user has actually read and thereby allow you to search for that little piece of information you know you’ve read but just don’t remember where.

Another obvious benefit is that this way you can be sure that your information will be available for future reference, even if the page is removed from its original source or lost via other means of “linkrot“. An invaluable feature when gathering information for research or writing.

I’m adding a functionality that will allow Spurl.net to store pages that require login, but as a vast majority of what most of us read online has open access, this should not be a serios drawback in the days until that will be available.

To search your spurled and stored pages, use the search page (or the search box at the top of the “My spurls” page). A document copy icon () indicates that the page was stored and allows you to open the stored copy.

In addition, Spurl now remembers your spurling preferences i.e. whether you last used the “Simple” or “Advanced” tab and whether you stored the last spurled page or not (assuming you’re likely to want to do the same next time around).

The next round of improvements will:

  1. …make the search results more thorough, showing where the search string was found (page text, comments, title, description, etc.) and display an excerpt indicating the match.
  2. …make the My spurls page more user friendly allowing different kind of sorting, filtering and manipulating the spurled pages.