Delicious is “a social bookmarking service that allows users to tag, save, manage and share web pages from a centralized source. With emphasis on the power of the community, Delicious greatly improves how people discover, remember and share on the Internet“. I extensively use(d) it and I think it’s one of the very good tools Yahoo! (its parent company) has to offer on the web for the moment (along with Flickr and the currency converter). I was thus very disappointed to read persisting rumours that Yahoo! will shut down Delicious. And I’m not totally reassured by the official comment from the Delicious blog: “No, we are not shutting down Delicious. While we have determined that there is not a strategic fit at Yahoo!, we believe there is a ideal home for Delicious outside of the company where it can be resourced to the level where it can be competitive“.
So, first, export your bookmarks. It seems there is no limit to the number of bookmarks you can save, all of them are there. Delicious uses a modified Netscape bookmark file format with meaningful use of HTML tags. In clear: this file can easily be parsed and stored in another format, in a database, in another tool.
Now what if someone finally decides to shut down Delicious? Or what is the future of your data if Delicious outside Yahoo! is transformed into a paid web service (like Historious for example)? What is the competition? What are the alternatives?
I will not blindly list them all. You can find them via a simple web search. Instead I’ll list the features I liked in Delicious and also add some improvements I would have liked to see. If I go for something new (or an improved Delicious), it would be nice if it’s better than the actual one, isn’t it?
What I like in Delicious (in no particular order):
- simple: a link, some tags, a description and you are done
- tags suggestions based on other users’ tags
- private tags
- simple “social” link, suggestions between users and trends about what’s currently bookmarked
- web-based (accessible from everywhere), quite fast
- simple API, extensions for most popular browsers, widgets and badges for inclusion in websites
- free, accounts not necessarily linked to Yahoo! (at least in the beginning)
And now what can be added to make it better?
- free license (e.g. Affero)
- free access to dataset (the whole dataset, not just your dataset ; so compliance with OSSD))
- decentralised system while maintaining interoperability (à la Jabber)
And for the rest of your digital life, what if the service provider decides “that there is not a strategic fit” for it at the parent company? Self-hosting seems to be the only viable alternative.