Mac Tips: Links List Maker

gURLfriend is an application which turns Internet Explorer "Favorites" or Netscape Navigator "bookmarks" URL lists into clean, publishable HTML. Ideal for making a "links list" for your website.


I recently found a great little $10 shareware Mac application called gURLfriend by Jeff Luszcz of Polar Orbit Software. However, there is a bug in version 2.2 to watch out for. It is simple to work around, and is described below (He's working on a fix).

gURLfriend takes your list of bookmarked websites and generates an HTML webpage of links, and a categorical "Table of Contents" for external referencing. Explorer's "Favorites" and Netscape's "Bookmarks" are actually HTML files to begin with, but they are full of tons of useless extra data, have no anchors for easy searching, and take too long to download. Some URLS may also contain your site passwords, IDs or user name, which you should not make public.

A big attraction on silentway.com is the Silent Way Directory of over 2000 links to websites which I personally recommend to visitors. A few years back I stored them in Explorer and needed to do this conversion.

The version 2.2 bug:

The output file is missing one character in the first tag which throws the rest of the HTML out of whack. The closing bracket is missing from the first comment:



<!DOCTYPE gURLfriend-Bookmark-file<!-- This is an automatically generated file.

It will be read and overwritten.

Do Not Edit! -->

So, the rest of the HTML is not recognized as proper tags with start-and-end brackets. This happens regardless of whether the output is to one file or seperate files, and it also happens to a Netscape bookmarks.html file.

So, simply add a ">" after the "<!DOCTYPE gURLfriend-Bookmark-file" so that it looks like this:

<!DOCTYPE gURLfriend-Bookmark-file><!-- This is an automatically generated file.

It will be read and overwritten.

Do Not Edit! -->

That's it!


The minor layout issue

This next point is much less crucial. The result file puts 2 <dd> tags after the <a href>. This also causes any comments to appear after two <dd> tags, instead of one. The comment thus appears in my HTML editor after a blank line, closer to the next URL in the list. However, I notice that this does not actually display when rendered in IE or Netscape for the Mac. It only shows when you look at the HTML. So this might just be exess code which bloats the page.

If you are using Adobe GoLive, perform a rewrite on the HTML code ("Special-->Rewrite Source Code...") first.

Then, to fix it,

find:

</a>

<dd>

and replace with:

</a>

So that

</a>

<dd>

<dd>the comment about the URL is here

becomes

</a>

<dd>the comment about the URL is here


Depending on the way your editor displays and parses return carriages and spaces, you might need to adjust to suit. And if you have a large number of favorites, you'll need to increase the amount of memory allocated to gURLfriend.

My overall step-by step process (I used to use Adobe GoLive):

  1. Prepare bookmarks by sorting and checking them
  2. Run gURLfriend on the file, producing "result files" (described in gURLfriend's documentation)
  3. Drag gURLfriend result files into GoLive's site editor window
  4. Fix table of contents file ("gURLfriend.html") as detailed above
  5. Open each file from within GoLive and do the following on each:
    1. perform "rewrite Source Code" (Special-->Rewrite Source Code...)
    2. optional: add encoding tag <meta http-equiv="content-type" content="text/html;charset=iso-8859-1">
    3. replace extra <dd> tags as detailed above
    4. perform "rewrite Source Code" again
  6. Copy-and-paste into previous html files
  7. Add code to make links open in a new window:
    1. Find <a href="http([^<>"]*)">
    2. Replace with <a href="http\1" target="_blank">
Share this