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Staggered (non-real time) synching of firefox bookmarks ?

  • 8 odpovedí
  • 1 má tento problém
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  • Posledná odpoveď od John99

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In quite an extensive search I can only find two pieces regarding my concern about firefox syncing (for a bit of simplicity I will also assume in this inquiry I am only talking about bookmarks). Could the experts out there kindly put some meat on my bones of uncertainty?

References: https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/1027527#answer-646401 How does FF sync across 3 open instances on 3 pc's? https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/1000440 FF 29.0.1 Sync function - what does it actually do?

I can understand a perfect synchronization can take place if all devices are kept turned on all the time. That would mean real time (virtually) simultaneous syncing. For example, a deletion (of a bookmark) on one device would delete on the others and an addition on one would add that same bookmark to the other devices. If I have got that wrong then please correct me there. If I have got that correct then what happens when one or all devices are switched off and then at staggered times in the future switched on when changes may have been made to the bookmarks in different ways at different times on those different devices. From this answer given below I get the sensation that there is some kind of aggregation going on but it certainly is not clear to me. Below reference from: How does FF sync across 3 open instances on 3 pc's?? “Only on the first sync of the first device will everything overwrite the account in the cloud. Everything else will merge and all three will continue to be merged. What does this mean, if you delete on one, it will delete/resolve on another when it syncs if you have bookmarks selected to sync. Senario answer: The second pc will merge with the 1st and the first will be a mix of both.” In practical terms it is very inconvenient to have old deleted bookmarks be re-added to a device when wanting to say goodbye to that bookmark forever. Is there a way to retain what would be a master set of bookmarks on one device and update later those only on what are deemed secondary devices. I realize you can switch off the synchronization and you can also keep a profile copy or a full copy file of bookmarks and start the whole thing again by deleting the sync account and starting afresh. But my problem is that I continually forget to turn off the syncing on a device when I close down and then bingo before I know where I am an old deleted bookmark reappears by automatic syncing from another device because that bookmark is retained in the cloud. Or am I missing something obvious?

Vybrané riešenie

I think it is a case that Mozilla has limited resources so Sync has been developed as a feature but has known limitations and probably is not going to be improved further in the foreseeable future.

Many of the help documents are maintained and written by contributors but we are suggesting that it would help a developer could assist in writing better documentation about Sync.

  • guigs is a staff member with responsibilities for the support forum.
  • Joni is the staff member responsible for the KnowledgeBase

We have contributors discussions asking about this matter [1] & [2].

  1. Why was this KB article done away with? - What is Firefox Sync
  2. (guigs started this} Some Sync Updates
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Všetky odpovede (8)

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Hello, Thank you for your question. I understand that you have the idea for how sync merges profiles on actively syncing devices.

If the timing is staggared between devices. When the device is connected again it will determine what has changed between the cloud and the device and make the most updated change the priority (as far as I have seen)bute2487 said

What does this mean, if you delete on one, it will delete/resolve on another when it syncs if you have bookmarks selected to sync.

Yes.

bute2487 said

In practical terms it is very inconvenient to have old deleted bookmarks be re-added to a device when wanting to say goodbye to that bookmark forever. Is there a way to retain what would be a master set of bookmarks on one device and update later those only on what are deemed secondary devices.

I think that you have a fair point there. Currently you are correct this seems to be the only work around for what you are trying to accomplish. You may be able to keep a back up that has all the main bookmarks locally, but this is also a nice feature request.

You may submit feedback directly to the Advocacy team through the following page:

The User Advocacy team reviews all feedback and reports on the findings to the product teams and relevant parties, helping to influence and shape our products.

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I have to thank guigs for his valiant effort to try and help with my issue.

Although guigs states that “I think that you have a fair point there.” with reference to some of my comments. I was not actually trying to make a point, I was trying to find out exactly what happens when synching takes place.

Although guigs was trying his best to be helpful can somebody come out and say something stronger than “(as far as I have seen)” and “this seems to be the only work around”. Is there not somebody who was involved in developing this firefox synch who can tell us definitively what is happening in simple terms, such as in a chart form, when changes are made to bookmarks on different devices at different times? I have been very reluctant to put sync on anything other than my master device because of a lack of confidence in what I am doing.

I have now conducted this little experiment: Shall we call, computer A, my master computer and B my secondary. A and B at one time in the recent past had the same bookmarks. I created a new folder in A’s bookmarks and moved bookmarks to that new folder from another folder. I switched on computer B and synched. Yes it added the new folder with new bookmarks inside but kept the same bookmarks also in their original locations. I pressed sync on computer B and they reappeared back on computer A in that unwanted position they had been removed from in the first place. (As an aside I am not even sure if pressing “sync now” makes any difference or if synching takes place automatically anyway.)

I am rather surprised that if this really is happening (and that is why it keeps making me think it is just me) then why do not more people have the problem? Is everybody really synching all their devices in real time nowadays and thereby avoiding this problem?

However, I return to my one and only real point “Is there not somebody who was involved in developing this firefox synch who can tell us definitively what is happening in simple terms, such as in a chart form, when changes are made to bookmarks on different devices at different times.” I do not mind so much if there are deficiencies or drawbacks but I sure would like to know with certainty what those limitations are, if indeed there are any.

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bute2487 said

Yes it added the new folder with new bookmarks inside but kept the same bookmarks also in their original locations. I pressed sync on computer B and they reappeared back on computer A in that unwanted position they had been removed from in the first place. (As an aside I am not even sure if pressing “sync now” makes any difference or if synching takes place automatically anyway.)

Quick question about your experiment, what folder are you making these changes (the adding folder and moving of bookmarks)? The Bookmarks Menu, the Bookmarks Toolbar or the Unsorted Bookmarks folder.

Only one device will sync at a time, so giving a few minutes to see the changes on both computers will result in a cleaned up version.Firefox bookmarks prevents duplicates. What happened right after you saw them in both folders?

To instill confidence in trying more experiments, as a paranoid lady I might suggest to know also how to back up local data.Back up and restore information in Firefox profiles

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Guigs, many thanks for continuing to show interest even though, unfortunately, we haven’t yet been able to coax one of the developers of the program out into explaining the stage by stage synching process.

To try and answer your questions, they are subfolders of folders on my “bookmarks toolbar”. I cannot now remember if I get the same happening in subfolders of folders under “bookmarks menu” but I think so. As for “unsorted bookmarks” I cannot really comment because I don’t advertently use it.

As for your question “What happened right after you saw them in both folders?” I am sorry to say I cannot say for sure as I cannot remember and perhaps herein you are maybe alluding to my problem. Was I being too hasty in deciding that the synching was not doing what I wanted it to because those duplicates would have eventually disappeared which is really back to my core issue. Is there an overall explanation somewhere? You have very kindly explained that duplicates are prevented. Where can I read about that? How does it choose which bookmark to retain if there are duplicates?

At this late stage in the thread can I ask an absolutely basic question? Which set of FF data (bookmarks/add-ons/history, etc) is the benchmark? If I log-on from a device with old FF data and synch does it synch-down (as it were) from the server with the latest data or synch up from local to the server because it thinks that is now my latest data?

Many thanks for your pointer to profile backups also. I am backing up everything all the time in every way I think I can to ensure that I retain my own benchmark but I really would like to be able use FF synch as that benchmark, if I just had the confidence as to put my finger on where the circle of synching can be stopped and a benchmark controlled.

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Apologies for the lack of documnentation on this resolution of duplicates. However there is a bug that has been filed to try to prevent the bookmark corrption and uploads blobs of changes a few at a time - also this may be the limitation of bookmarks (5k) https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=814801

However in the light of preventing it from happening again, backing up bookmarks, as well as the Places Maintenance add on can come in handy.

I know the idea here is to find out the source of the duplication, we have not ruled out this being what happened. I would be interested if we can figure out how to replicate it.

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It may be worth noting that in terms of Firefox Android bug 814801 is old it was filed in late 2012 & is probably effectively inactive.

(Android Sync) Bug 814801 
- Incremental two-phase bookmark sync 

It was downgraded from Priority: P1 to unclassified

The duplication and corruption of bookmarks by Sync is well documented, but I suspect not likely to be solved, as that may require major work.

See

Bug 621584
 - [meta] Bookmarks dataloss (duplicated, reordered,  
moved, lost, attributes changed, etc) caused by Sync 

https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/showdependencygraph.cgi?id=621584 (bug names show on mousover) Or alternative view


Note also related question by OP

Very basic synching question about the FF synching 
add-on process after installation /questions/1111249
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Great answer (in terms of clarity that is) John99. Thank you. You have helped to cement the conclusion I came to in another thread yesterday: https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/1111249

It leaves me pondering 2 issues. How is it that so few people seem to be disturbed by this duplication/corruption? And the bigger issue of transparency: at one point is it incumbent on developers/programmers/ideas men to clearly outline defects/limitations of a working program so that the user can make a more informed decision on using or not?

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Vybrané riešenie

I think it is a case that Mozilla has limited resources so Sync has been developed as a feature but has known limitations and probably is not going to be improved further in the foreseeable future.

Many of the help documents are maintained and written by contributors but we are suggesting that it would help a developer could assist in writing better documentation about Sync.

  • guigs is a staff member with responsibilities for the support forum.
  • Joni is the staff member responsible for the KnowledgeBase

We have contributors discussions asking about this matter [1] & [2].

  1. Why was this KB article done away with? - What is Firefox Sync
  2. (guigs started this} Some Sync Updates