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How will my .json and .html backed up bookmarks import?

Posted

Firefox 3.6.28 OS 10.4.11 Ibook G4

Hi,

I back up regularly both as .json and as .html. With the .json back up, I remove the date each time I back up so there's an over-write and there's only one .json back up file in my Backup Folder.

I've never had to import bookmarks back into Firefox, but I've had a crash that's wiped out my Firefox bookmarks in the Firefox program where I kept the bookmarks in a very carefully indexed system of categories and menus that dropped down from the toolbar.

When I import .json or .html back into Firefox, will my menubars re-set to the way I had them? I remember from a long time ago using Safari, I restored backed up favorites, and what I got was a long list of titled links which wasn't anything like the way I'd set the favorites up in the first place. I hope I don't get the restoration like that this time with Firefox. In addition, when I press 'Import' from the file menu, I'm only given the option of importing from Safari. That's not what I want to do. I have "Backups" in a designated folder in my Documents in the Finder and that's where I need to pull them from.

There's something about "Profile" regarding Firefox that I've not known about that may have been something I needed to do in relation to Bookmarks.

I would appreciate any help you could provide to help me my bookmarks back in place.

Thanks,

Rafael

PS Regarding "Troubleshooting Information". I had to do it manually because the function doesn't support my veersion of Firefox.

  "# A new window will open. Click on a button called Copy text to clipboard."

Did That

  "# Paste the info in the text box below."

Did That

  * Click on the empty box above this text.

I don't see an "empty box above this text." The box above isn't empty. It contains my question.

So the following don't make sense because I already Pasted below.

   * Look at the top of your screen, and click the menu item called Edit.
   * A small box will open. Click on the item called Paste. Alternatively, type Ctrl+V or Command+V.
   * Some text will appear in the empty box.

Additional System Details

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  • Displays PDF documents in the browser.
  • Gecko default plugin
  • Runs Java applets using the latest installed versions of Java. For more information: Java Embedding Plugin. Run version test: Java Information.
  • Java 1.3.1 Plug-in
  • The Flip4Mac WMV Plugin allows you to view Windows Media content using QuickTime.
  • The DjVu plug-in allows you to view DjVu files. For more information, visit the Caminova web site.
  • Musicnotes Viewer plugin 1.19.0 http://www.musicnotes.com
  • LogMeIn remote control components
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  • Shockwave Flash 10.1 r102

Application

  • User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; PPC Mac OS X 10.4; en-US; rv:1.9.2.28) Gecko/20120306 Firefox/3.6.28

More Information

Application Basics
Name
Firefox
Version
3.6.28
Profile Directory
Show in Finder
Installed Plugins
about:plugins
Build Configuration
about:buildconfig
Extensions
Name
Version
Enabled
ID
PDF Download
3.0.0.2
true
{37E4D8EA-8BDA-4831-8EA1-89053939A250}
Firefox PDF Plugin for Mac OS X
1.1.3
true
colesbury@gmail.com
Save as PDF
1.5
true
save-as-pdf-ff@pdfcrowd.com
PDFescape Extension
0.17
true
{2A1D5949-B519-4924-BF62-8522FE0D5274}
SeoQuake
2.8.7
false
{317B5128-0B0B-49b2-B2DB-1E7560E16C74}
Google Translator for Firefox
2.1.0.3
true
translator@zoli.bod
Google Docs Viewer
1.8.5
true
adonis.cuhk@gmail.com
PDF Search Engine and PDF Viewer Toolbar
1.4
true
sas0740@gmail.com
Extension List Dumper
1.15.2
true
extensionlistdumper@sogame.cat
Restart Firefox
0.5
true
restart@restart.org
DownloadHelper
4.9.13
true
{b9db16a4-6edc-47ec-a1f4-b86292ed211d}
Modified Preferences
Name
Value
accessibility.typeaheadfind.flashBar
0
browser.history_expire_days.mirror
180
browser.places.importBookmarksHTML
false
browser.places.smartBookmarksVersion
4
browser.startup.homepage_override.buildID
20130105214210
browser.startup.homepage_override.mstone
rv:1.9.2.28
browser.tabs.loadInBackground
false
browser.zoom.full
false
extensions.lastAppVersion
3.6.28
network.cookie.prefsMigrated
true
places.history.expiration.transient_current_max_pages
40266
places.last_vacuum
1360643057
privacy.sanitize.migrateFx3Prefs
true
security.warn_viewing_mixed
false

John99
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Hi Rafael,
Sorry you are having problems

Troubleshooting Information
I only very recently discovered that we have this function, and that it is not working. The problem is however known to developers and being worked on. (see)

Bookmarks

 I have "Backups" in a designated folder in my Documents in the Finder and that's where I need to pull them from. 

You will note that Firefox itself automatically keeps backups of bookmarks for a few days. If you have not overwritten your bookmarks repeatedly or run for many days without your structured bookmarks that is the easiest option for restoring bookmarks and should normally be the first method you try. That method will retain your Library's folder structure, with any tags keywords and additional description edits.

Please post back with how you get on and any additional questions relating to points I did not cover.

Modified by John99

Question owner

Thanks for your very thorough reply John. I'll follow up on your suggestions. From what I've described, do you think I have a shot at recovering all those bookmarks?

In the meantime, here are some questions. Bulletted fragments are from your next to last paragraph. Hope this is clear:

  • Remember a restore from .json will wipe any existing bookmarks.

Since the crash & loss a week ago I've only added a few bookmarks and menu items which I don't mind losing.

  • You will note that Firefox itself automatically keeps backups of bookmarks for a few days…

My highly organized bookmarks (you say 'structured bookmarks') go back over a year at least.

  • If you have not overwritten your bookmarks repeatedly…

I don't understand this. Do you mean restoring or backing up? In addition, is the way I've been backing up my bookmarks as .json (I guess I can stop .html backup), and removing the date and overwriting each time OK?

  • …or run for many days without your structured bookmarks

As I am doing now for a week.

  • …that is the easiest option for restoring bookmarks and should normally be the first method you try.
  • That method will retain your Library's folder structure, with any tags keywords and additional description edits.

Should I even try that since I'm wanting to recover bookmarks that go back over a year?

jscher2000
  • Top 10 Contributor
2365 solutions 20922 answers

Hi author1892, it sounds as though you were much better prepared for this situation than most users.

If you care at all about your current bookmarks, you could export them to HTML format before restoring your JSON file. You then could import the HTML file later without disturbing the rest of your bookmarks.

If you want to test the restore and/or import processes without any risk to your current setup, you can create a second Firefox profile. That will create a new settings folder in parallel to your current settings; the new folder will start off with no customizations other than plugins Firefox finds on your system. To create a new profile and to switch between them, you can use the Profile Manager. This article describes how it works: Use the Profile Manager to create and remove Firefox profiles.

cor-el
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You may be interested in TenFourFox.

Firefox 4 and later require a Mac with an Intel processor and OS X 10.6 (Firefox 16 runs on OS X 10.5).

For an unofficial Firefox 17.0.2 ESR compatible version (TenFourFox) that runs on PowerPC Macs with OS X 10.4.11 or OS X 10.5.8 you can look at:

John99
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622 solutions 8019 answers

The Firefox automated bookmarks are cumulative. I think at present by default it is a snapshot of your bookmarks made on each of the last ten days. Each of those have your bookmarks backups/snapshots that exist on those days even if some of the individual bookmarks were initially made years ago. They have the folder structure that existed on the day the snapshot was made.

The easiest thing to do may be to create some additional profiles for tests and experimentation so that you see what happens. This is relatively easy once you get used to it, but is considered advanced, and not documented properly or supported in this support.mozilla site.

'Take care when using profiles'. Until you fully understand what is happening do not delete or rename any profile (just get rid of the shortcuts if you are no longer using a profile.) It is very easy to loose not only Firefox information, but other information if you delete or rename profiles (Profile names change, but profile folder names do not. Profile folders get deleted regardless of content)


If you have not overwritten your bookmarks repeatedly… 
I don't understand this. Do you mean restoring or backing up? In addition, is the way I've been backing up my bookmarks as .json (I guess I can stop .html backup), and removing the date and overwriting each time OK? 

If you restore from .json you overwrite whatever your current bookmarks are. If you import from HTML you merely append the new bookmarks.

Normally there is little point in making a backup and restoring from it UNLESS you run into problems and maybe you have a corrupted bookmarks library. Even if you make backups they are to a certain extent redundant because of the automated backups that are available.

But if something bad happens to your profile you may also loose the automated backups. Additionally the main bookmarks database includes your history information. The file is places.sqlite. The History is not backed up or stored anywhere else so it may be very useful to backup the file boookmarks.sqlite (Or your complete profile).
edit I meant to say places.sqlite no such beast as boookmarks.sqlite ;-)

See previous links.

Modified by John99

Question owner

cor-el, John99, jscher2000,

Your replys are comprehensive. Thanks. I'll study these things and test and apply and get back to you later.

Sincerely,

Rafael

cor-el
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Note that Firefox 3.6 versions only have 5 JSON backups that rotate (pref: browser.bookmarks.max_backups).
A backup is created each day that Firefox is started and the oldest is removed to make place for a new backup.

Importing an HTML backup or restoring a JSON backup will only affect the bookmarks and not other personal data.

Restoring a JSON backup will replace all your current bookmarks (you get a warning about that) and you can't import a JSON backup to add (merge) bookmarks.

Importing bookmarks from an HTML file adds the imported bookmarks to the already existing bookmarks, so you may need to remove duplicates.

Question owner

OK Cor-el. Right now I just have some general questions about how this support site works.

  1. Why is John99's first reply, "Sorry you are having problems" repeated, first within my original question under 'Helpful replies' less his logo on the left, secondly, as his original post of same with his logo to the left? Guest it has to do with the "Go to answer [heart]1" logo. Is that so? Is that in order to make a continuous document that only includes, sequentially, the replies I've picked as 'helpful'?
  2. I may have missed something—I haven't delved deep into your instructions yet—but from what I've described, do you think I'm going to be able to get my bookmarks back in the way I had them structured before the loss? Overwriting the bookmarks I've added since the loss doesn't concern me because it's only been a week, and the new ones aren't that important and a collection hasn't been built up yet.
  3. Yes, I'll be attempting to use TenFourFox once I get my bookmarks back. From what little I used it, I liked the features it offerred for my OS 10.4.11
John99
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Why is John99's first reply, "Sorry you are having problems" repeated, first within my original question under 'Helpful replies' less his logo on the left, secondly, as his original post of same with his logo to the left? Guest it has to do with the "Go to answer [heart]1" logo. Is that so

If a reply is picked as helpful, but no reply is picked as a solution the helpful reply gets promoted. Unfortunately the software looks only at the first picked helpful answers. If anyone (not even thread owner or even logged in  !), picks two helpful answers they remain the selection (Or at least that is how it worked until recently, may have changed) Anyone who is signed in (and not already voted) may vote for helpful posts,not just the thread owner .

Only the first two helpful posts get promoted. (IIRC there was talk of making it the two with the highest vote count but not sure if that was implemented)


Is that in order to make a continuous document that only includes, sequentially, the replies I've picked as 'helpful'? 

Not sure I understand what you are asking.


The method this forum uses for helpful replies is imho not good. Basically the first two chosen by any poster in the thread are listed. But we need to remember it is designed for a single question per thread

Modified by John99

John99
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P.S. Not even us mods may adjust helpul replies, other than deleting them.

Question owner

Unfortunately the software looks only at the first picked helpful answers.

OK.

Is that in order to make a continuous document that only includes, sequentially, the replies I've picked as 'helpful'?

Not sure I understand what you are asking.

I assumed (always gets one in trouble) that the software was going to add, sequentially, as posted, each answer marked as helpful within that one frame as the thread developed. One benefit of that would be ease of copying to Word to print a less busy document to study from. I don't think I've seen that repitition done with an answer on other discussion groups.

Basically the first two chosen by any poster in the thread are listed. But we need to remember it is designed for a single question per thread.

And a single answer, too, right? As I see it, that's a major limit of the software, because many individual questions I see on discussion groups have a number of responses, suggestions, clarifications, and spin-off items, creating multiple posts resulting in a long thread until the questioner (and other readers) arrive at the solution to the original problem/question. What I mean by spin-offs is that I've often come across things or links that were very helpful to me that may have had little or nothing (for me) to do with the thread's question.


On a side subject related to Mozilla discussion groups: Is there an easy way to make a quote from another person's reply and put it into the text I'm currently writing? Apple Forums have a way. There's even a word for the function. Perhaps that's what you did, John, two posts up where you inserted a remark I made between two solid lines and used italics. I put your statements in italics this time.

cor-el
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It shows the two answers that have the most helpful counts and a possible solution reply.

Question owner

Are you referring to the two hearts at the bottom of John99's first answer?

John99
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On a side subject related to Mozilla discussion groups: Is there an easy way to make a quote from another person's reply and put it into the text I'm currently writing? Apple Forums have a way. There's even a word for the function. Perhaps that's what you did, John, two posts up where you inserted a remark I made between two solid lines and used italics. I put your statements in italics this time.

Probably not something that will be done on this forum, given that it is not intended to be a discussion but a single subject from one poster

  • Forum guidelines suggest starting a new thread for new questions see Forum rules and guidelines Create one thread and only one thread for each subject you want to discuss. For support requests, do not re-use existing threads started by others, even if they are seemingly on the same subject.
  • A recent discussion on quoting (in a mozilla forum that does have a quoting function) see /forums/contributors/708950#post-50535

  • to get solid lines as above add half a dozen hyphen dashes on a newline

Question owner

I'll be back when I work this out.

Thanks

Question owner

Hi,

I'm back and I want you all to know that I haven't neglected all your valuable input to my problem. I had to attend to other issues.

I printed out all the points we went over, and before coming back to this forum I reviewed the material. I have to confess that I'm stumped, that I just can't seem to get my mind around all the details in attempting to recover the json bookmarks that I backed up. They're still in the folder as I left them. I've been doing my Internet browsing and gmailing on the wiped out Firefox as it appeared wiped out at the time I crashed it and lost the bookmarks that were on the browser. Now I've got a collection of bookmarks in this new Firefox, and I've been backing them up to a folder that's separate from the original json and html folders I was backing up to before.

To illustrate, I got to a similar, an analogous, impasse in comprehension when I attempted to do my own html and css for my ebook. I'm pretty good on the computer but in both these instances, with the html/css and with this Firefox backup restore thing, I feel I'm trying to operate way above my pay grade.

Here's a potential solution that's occurred to me that I'd like to ask if it's valid or not: Can I create a second Firefox browser and restore the previous bookmarks to that? Then I could continue doing Internet work on the Firefox I'm currrently using, and have the second browser, just as a kind of encyclopedia of addresses I'd previously collected.

Thanks, Rafael

jscher2000
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2365 solutions 20922 answers

Helpful Reply

Can I create a second Firefox browser and restore the previous bookmarks to that? Then I could continue doing Internet work on the Firefox I'm currrently using, and have the second browser, just as a kind of encyclopedia of addresses I'd previously collected.

You can create a separate personal settings folder, also known as a Firefox profile, to run your test. It's tricky to try to run Firefox simultaneously in two different profiles, but hopefully you won't need to do that.

The following article has more information on creating profiles, and the dialog that allows you to switch from one to the other. I recommend that accept Firefox's suggest location for the folder, and that you not delete any profile without first making a full backup.

Use the Profile Manager to create and remove Firefox profiles

Question owner

Thanks jscher2000

You can create a separate personal settings folder, also known as a Firefox profile, to run your test.

OK but then the following two things that you say…

  1. It's tricky to try to run Firefox simultaneously in two different profiles,
  2. but hopefully you won't need to do that.

… seem to indicate that creat[ing] a separate personal settings folder, also known as a Firefox profile coud be a hazardous undertaking.

I'll check this out: Use the Profile Manager to create and remove Firefox profiles It was recommended above too.

cor-el
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Helpful Reply

Create a desktop shortcut with -P "profile" appended to the target to launch Firefox with each profile.
Then you can set in the profile manager which profile to use by default if you click a link in an external program.

See also:

Use the -no-remote command line switch to open another Firefox instance with its own profile and to run different Firefox instances simultaneously, but do not use -no-remote with the default browser and the default profile.

John99
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Profiles are safe to use as long as you do NOT delete or rename them. (At least until you fully understand the behaviour and implications ).

Thinking of options not involving profiles, and your comment about an encyclopedia of HTML bookmarks. Presumably you have tried

  1. importing HTML into the bookmarks library
    They append to the end as a flat list and may be dragged and dropped into folders or nested folders.
  2. directly opening the HTML as a Firefox Tab
    Those lists will not drag and drop.But they will copy and paste. Or will open as tabs that may be manipulated or bookmarked.
  3. (there is even a method of opening a copy of the library as a tab that may make dragging and dropping easier if there is a very long list of folders and HTML bookmarks)