Scrapbook + FireFox + ThunderBird + WebDAV = Everything I've Always Wanted

ScrapBook is the best FireFox extension ever written. It lets you select bits of a web page (including structure, formatting, images, etc.) and save them into hierarchically organized locally stored clippings. You can edit them, arrange them, highlight excerpts, add notes, etc.

I used ScrapBook before my India trip when I was doing research and just wanted to save pieces of different pages, like pictures of the different hotels or descriptions of sites. I also use it to store and organize recipes that I find on FoodTV or see on Slashfood.

The one thing that kept me from using ScrapBook more was that I’m not always on the same computer, or even in the same app. I get my Slashfood feed in Thunderbird, and ScrapBook is a FireFox extension. I also use my PowerBook about 50% of the time so there’s a synchronization issue.

I’ve partially resolved the sync issue by setting up a WebDAV directory on my server and having ScrapBook store all its files there. The author of ScrapBook recently released a version that has a “reload” menu item. It’s not perfect — I could accidentally forget to reload — but it’s pretty good.

I also spent a few hours digging around the code and got ScrapBook to work in Thunderbird (partially). I sent the code back to the author (my first attempt at XUL coding) so hopefully there will be official support for ThunderBird some day.

I can’t understand why this extension isn’t more popular. It’s the ideal use case for an extension — it has its own user interface, adds significant new functionality, really improves the browsing experience, and leverages all the power of XUL.

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