As I have said on this blog before, I am a big fan of Delicious. I personally find it a much more useful way of managing my favourites than just about any other tool I have tried. When I read an article on TechCrunch suggesting that Delicious should be ditched in favour of a new service called Pinboard, I was intrigued to know how much better it could be. Consequently, me being an eager beaver, I signed up as a beta tester to get a sneaky peek. Sadly, I was not chosen as one of the 100 beta testers, but I received an invitation nonetheless. As yet, I have not had a major play with it, but I thought I would provide a little insight into what it has to offer.
Before I go any further, however, I must point out something about Pinboard that may well put you off at the start. At present, the people behind are charging $2.84 to sign-up for the service. Yes, there is a one-off charge to use the service. Not the best start admittedly. And it is made slightly worse by a posting on their blog:
The site is now open to all comers, provided they pay a small signup fee that will grow in proportion to the total number of users. My hope is that this will keep the rate of growth manageable so the site stays fast and usable for everyone.
Around about now I am expecting most people to give up reading the remainder of this post, but I shall plough on regardless for those that are still interested (I say those…..).
If you have decided that you don’t mind paying a fee for the service and sign-up anyway, you will be pleased to know that you can import your bookmarks from Delicious via a very simple procedure. Once that simple task is completed, you are presented with your bookmarks in a somewhat minimalist fashion (certainly compared to Delicious):
As you can see, it is very much a stripped down bookmarking tool (a Delicious Unplugged if you will). On the left-hand side of the screen you have your list of bookmarks, complete with titles, descriptions, tags and dates. On the right-hand side you have what seems to be a complete list of all your tags (I haven’t checked fully, but I noticed some tags that I know I have only applied once¹) which, as you would expect, link directly to a list of all the items with that tag. I have some reservations about this which I will come onto later.
- The popup bookmarklet opens a little form window when you want to bookmark a page. It’s the fastest way to add a bookmark.
- The same page bookmarklet will load the save bookmark form in the same window as the page, with no popup. It redirects back to the page afterwards.
- The my pinboard bookmarklet will take you to your bookmarks.
- read later will throw a URL on your “to read” list without badgering you for tags or descriptions.
When you click on the pop-up bookmarklet tab, you are presented with the following pop-up:
The same-page bookmarklet is much the same only, obviously, it replaces the page you were viewing before returning after it has been bookmarked:
I quite like the idea of the read later bookmarklet. Instead of having to use a tag on Delicious, you can simply click on the bookmarklet and a small window will briefly appear to indicate that it has been successfully added (although it doesn’t actually tell you this). Any items marked in this way are stored in a separate area so they cannot get confused with your other bookmarks – a handy little feature in my opinion.
Adding tags is also nice and simple. Much like Delicious, Pinboard predicts what tags you are going to add so that you can ensure that there is consistency in your tagging (without this consistency I would question the value of anyone using a tagging tool to manage bookmarks).
There is, however, one problem that I have noticed so far (aside the cost). Unlike Delicious you cannot drill down your bookmarks by using tag combinations (at least as far as I can tell at the moment). Personally I think this is a major oversight (although granted it still being tested). I find it very useful to find things on Delicious using tag combinations. For example, it is much easier to find the appropriate item when using a combination of the tags ‘digitaldivide’ and ‘ebooks’ than to search through the individual bookmarks for either tag. Hunting around for that article on ebooks and the digital divide would be too time consuming on Pinboard as it presently stands. Hopefully this will be addressed (I have actually posted to their Google Group regarding this very issue – let’s see if it is addressed). [I have since had a response, see update below.]
As it stands at the moment, I’d stick with Delicious but Pinboard is certainly worth trying out if you prefer your bookmarking to be minimalist (and if you are happy to pay a fee). In the meantime, I will certainly try my best to keep you up-to-date with Pinboard as a service and, should I ditch Delicious in its favour, I will be sure to let you know!
¹ Obviously I don’t have enough tags – I’ve just discovered that Pinboard only displays your top 200 tags, not all of them.
This is not implemented yet, but it’s a feature a lot of people are asking for. I am thinking of folding tag algebra in to search – you could have queries like “t:beans -t:rice +t:tomato” and have the search results filtered appropriately.
I’ll update the site blog as I get closer to rolling this out.
I’ll report further once this feature has been rolled out.