All posts tagged ‘weave’

File Under: Browsers, Mobile, Software

Weave May Let You Keep Firefox and Your iPhone in Sync

Want to see all your open Firefox tabs on your iPhone? There may soon be an app for that.

There’s already a demo app and a code library that will let someone build an app for that, thanks to Mozilla’s recent efforts to extend Weave, its syncing tool for Firefox, to devices like the iPhone where the browser doesn’t go.

Weave is a Firefox-based syncing tool that takes a snapshot of your bookmarks, search history, saved passwords, preferences and open tabs and syncs that information to all copies of Firefox across all your computers. Weave recently hit 1.0, and will likely become a default part of Firefox in the future.

In the meantime, Mozilla Labs has announced a new set of Weave APIs and developer tools for extending Weave’s syncing powers beyond Firefox to, for example, to the iPhone. The company’s plan is to give you access to your synced data regardless of whether or not Firefox is available. Right now, that effort is limited to a demo app and a code library, but the project makes sense — especially considering most of us use at least two different brands of browser on distinctly different devices like desktops, phones and, soon, tablets.

Whether or not such an app for the iPhone or iPad would make it past the notoriously fickle App Store gestapo is another matter. We’re hoping it does though, because the demo app of Weave running on the iPhone (see video below) bests even Apple’s efforts at syncing data by giving you access to your entire desktop — browsing history, bookmarks and any currently open Firefox tabs — all without needing to be anywhere near your desktop.

Other examples and source code for the new Weave APIs include a web-based application that will work in any browser, a command line interface (written in Python) and a complete, ready-to-go app for Palm’s WebOS.

The Weave team plans to release more APIs in the future. Imagine a search engine that can narrow the field of results by taking a look at your Weave data to see what interests you. Or how about recommendations based on what you like at not just one website, but all of them?For the time being, such APIs are just a glimmer in Weave’s eye and the Weave team acknowledges that these potential web service APIs will need more restrictions and privacy controls than the current crop of APIs offers. But thanks to the Weave APIs, at least some of your Firefox data can go places even Firefox can’t.

Weave iPhone Data Viewer from Mozilla Labs on Vimeo.

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Weave 1.0 Released, Firefox Officially Gets Syncing

It’s official, your Firefox syncing prayers have been answered — Weave 1.0 has arrived.

Weave is a free add-on for Firefox that syncs your data — bookmarks, browsing history, open tabs, Personas and stored passwords — across multiple PCs running Firefox and supported mobile devices. Weave is currently an add-on available through Mozilla Labs, but look for Weave to become a part of Firefox itself later this year.

Once installed, Weave works transparently in the background, syncing your data to Mozilla’s servers and then on to any other synced computers (you can use your own server for syncing, too). The result is a universal browsing experience that offers the ability to move from one computer to another without interrupting your customized workflow. Weave syncing in very fast — when you’re setting up a new computer, or a new instance of Firefox on your user account on a multi-user machine, you basically get your own version of the browser, tricked out and bookmarked to your specs, about a minute after you log in to Weave.

There is, however, one major element of Firefox missing from Weave’s syncing capabilities — Firefox add-ons. The good news is that add-on syncing, along with search box plug-in syncing, are scheduled to arrive with Weave 1.1, though so far there’s no hint of a release date.

Now that Weave is ready to graduate from Mozilla Labs to prime time add-on, Mozilla plans to incorporate the add-on into Firefox, making sync a standard feature of the browser.

Whether a built-in version of Weave for Firefox will arrive with the next major release or be part of Mozilla’s new “rolling release” schedule remains to be seen. In the mean time, if you don’t want to wait you can download a copy of Weave and get started today.

Keep in mind that, if you’ve been using early releases of Weave, it’s best to update all computers running Weave before attempting to sync.

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File Under: Browsers, Identity

Mozilla Gets Ready to Weave Syncing Into Firefox

Mozilla’s Weave, a free add-on for Firefox that syncs your personal data across multiple PCs and mobile devices, has reached the release candidate stage and is just about ready to make its way into Firefox proper.

The Weave team is hoping to get Weave 1.0 out before Firefox 3.6 arrives, though the add-on will not be integrated into the browser itself until a Firefox future release.

Eventually Firefox will offer built-in syncing and Weave will become just another feature. But for now, at least you’ve got the add-on and an easy way to sync bookmarks, tabs, personas and other Firefox data across all your various computers.

Since the new version of Weave is a release candidate not a whole lot has changed since the last beta release we told you about. According to the announcement post, Weave RC1 offers faster startup times and offers better integration with Fennec, the mobile version of Firefox.

Other changes include some more improvements during syncing, for example, your tabs are now immediately available when you set up a second computer. The new version also fixes an issue that would trigger the Weave master password prompt when you launched Firefox.

Weave 1.0 still isn’t a final release, but in our experience Weave is stable enough for everyday use. If you’d like to give it a try, head over the Mozilla Add-ons page and install Weave. If you’re updating from an earlier release make sure you update all your computers, having different versions of Weave on synced PCs can cause problems.

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Mozilla Weave Goes 1.0, Firefox Sync Almost Ready for Primetime

Mozilla’s Weave, a free add-on for Firefox that syncs your personal data across multiple PCs and mobile devices, is just about to graduate from a lab experiment to a stable, ready-for-primetime add-on.

The latest release of Weave brings the add-on to 1.0 status, though for now it remains a beta release. Weave 1.0 isn’t significantly different than the Weave 0.8 release we covered earlier this month, but Mozilla does say that the latest version is significantly faster than earlier releases thanks to yet more refinements in Weave’s incremental syncing tool.

The new syncing process happens in “chunks,” which means even if you’re syncing hundreds of pages at once, Weave shouldn’t slow down your normal Firefox browsing. That said, we did experience a bit of a slow down on the initial sync. However, once Weave has uploaded your data, it runs transparently in the background and has little, if any impact on Firefox’s performance.

Weave 1.0 also improves its integration with Firefox’s preference pane, adding some sync options when setting up your Weave account. Instead of simply syncing from the PC you’re using, Weave now gives you the option to sync from the current PC, to the current PC or merge to current PC with existing data.

Syncing itself has been tweaked slightly as well using what Mozilla calls an “interestingness” algorithm. The process is similar to how the Awesome Bar works in Firefox — pages you visit frequently and those you’ve visited recently will sync ahead of less used pages in your history. For other data like bookmarks, the frequency data is combined with where the bookmark is stored. So, items visible in the bookmarks toolbar are ranked as “more important” and will sync before other bookmarks.

Weave 1.0 still carries the beta tag, but in our experience Weave is stable enough for everyday use. If you’d like to give it a try, head over the Mozilla Add-ons page and install Weave.

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Update Moves Weave Closer to a Starring Role in Firefox

Mozilla has updated Weave, its free add-on for Firefox that syncs your personal data across multiple PCs. Weave 0.8 is a vast improvement over its predecessor, featuring a huge speed boost and a revamped user interface that makes Weave feel much more a part of Firefox rather than an experimental hack.

If you’d like to take Weave 0.8 for a spin, head over to the Mozilla Labs Weave page and grab the latest version.

The most obvious change in this release is the new integration with Firefox’s preference pane. Previous versions of Weave used the URL about:weave to provide an interface for signing in and controlling which types of data Weave will sync. It worked, but it was hardly the best interface we’ve seen. Enter Weave 0.8 which ditches the URL and moves Weave’s preferences to a preference pane, which, well, just makes sense.

The move also hints at Weave’s future — becoming a standard part of Firefox. Unlike most extensions, which get their own separate preference panes, Weave’s preferences are now in the main Firefox preferences panel under a new tab “Services.” Given that syncing between PCs is something many Firefox users would welcome (and now that Google has just added bookmark syncing to the latest beta of Chrome) it’s nice to see Weave moving in the direction of a true Firefox feature rather than a separate add-on.

The incremental download support that arrived in Weave 0.7 has been improved for this release and, from out testing, seems to have eliminated the occasional lags and freezes that plagued early version of Weave.

Mozilla’s release notes for this version also claim that incremental download function will give “explicit priority… to your most important data.” The developer roadmap offers a partial clue as to how Weave determines what’s important, claiming the new system is based on “interestingness,” with the most “interesting” items synchronized first. However, thus far, the exact details of how Weave determines what’s interesting remain a mystery.

One thing you won’t find in this release is the “Weave can sign you into this site” option in the URL bar.Previous versions of Weave supported syncing and auto-login for web-based accounts. However, while Weave will still sync passwords, the auto-login feature has been moved off to a new Account Manager add-on that will be developed separately from Weave. If you’re missing the old login feature in Weave, give the Secure Login add-on a try, it offers similar features.

Also note that, if you’ve set up your own server to host and sync your Weave data, you’ll need to upgrade the server software to work with the latest version of Weave.

While we’re already missing the auto-login features in previous version of Weave, the obviously snappier performance and the much nicer user interface still make Weave 0.8 well worth the upgrade.

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