Tracing the Course of Recent XBEL Development

This version:

Revision 0.1 (2005-11-19)

John L. Clark


This document attempts to summarize activity surrounding the XBEL bookmark format since 2001.

1 Introduction

XBEL is an XML application for the purpose of storing a hierarchy of URLs. As such, it is primarily useful for tracking bookmarks, although in general the idea of cataloging URLs covers additional use-cases as well. XBEL has proven very easy to use for collecting bookmarks, but cracks have shown in its abilities as a more general URL store. I believe that XBEL could be expanded to elegantly support some of its more general use-cases while still reducing to an easy-to-use bookmark format in the common case.

Uche Ogbuji and I were talking about exercising XBEL in #atom on the other day, and he mourned the lack of activity surrounding the format. I am interested in helping to stir up activity in this format, and so I wanted to get a sense for its current status. This document briefly summarizes my efforts. What's the executive summary? Well, it appears that there are a small kernel of individuals who are interested in helping move XBEL forward, but the larger community hasn't weighed in. It would appear that there are some good ideas out there that could use a nurturing home.

2 Current XBEL Resources

3 Some Threads on XML-SIG

  1. Gorgeous and elaborate brainstorming on XBEL future - And what did Ms. Urschel use to make that beautiful diagram? Inquiring minds want to know! - 2005-06

  2. Move XBEL development to Sourceforge? Several people expressed interest in helping with this, but it didn't seem to get off the ground. - 2005-02

  3. Mark XBEL 1.1 as experimental and move on to 1.2? - 2005-01

  4. XBEL metadata support is confusing. At the very least, it could likely use some good examples, and at the most it could benefit from enhanced specification. - 2001-03

  5. Support for merging bookmarks - 2001-03

It would appear that after some stimulating discussion on metadata and bookmark merging near the end of March, 2001, discussion tapered off for a while. It then picked up again early in 2005, but little action was taken.

4 Open Issues with XBEL

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