Friday Favorite: HistoryHound, bookmark with abandon

Brett Terpstra
B. Terpstra|10.16.09

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Friday Favorite: HistoryHound, bookmark with abandon

Today's Friday Favorite is a new one to me, but it's been around for a while. I just picked up the latest version of HistoryHound from St. Clair Software -- more famous, probably, for Default Folder X -- and have been using it constantly for days. Its hotkey already has its own spot in my muscle memory. Here's what it does:

HistoryHound indexes bookmarks, history and cache from all of your browsers, with presets for Camino, Firefox 2 & 3, Flock, iCab, OmniWeb, Opera, Safari, Shiira and URL Manager Pro. It means being able to bookmark willy-nilly in any browser and know that you'll be able to quickly locate noteworthy sites again, in any application.

Not just the bookmarks, though; in the background -- with a very low footprint -- HistoryHound starts indexing the full text of each page. Then you can search for exact or fuzzy matches, or with Spotlight-style boolean keywords for any text on the landing page. Search comes in two flavors: a tiny popup panel which can be assigned to a hotkey and provides a list of matches as you type, and a full, Webkit-enabled search window with page previews and a multi-column result list.

That's just the beginning, though. The real gold is in the extensible index sources. If you have an app which stores bookmarks on the disk or in a file, say a Fluid SSB or something like Webbla, you can add its folder or file to HistoryHound. You just have to determine how it should be parsed when you add it, and HistoryHound will take over from there. It can scrape URL's out of straight text files, too.

Jon Gotow, the developer, is considering implementing Delicious bookmarks, but for the time being I'm just curl-ing them into a text file and having HistoryHound go at it. I'm also pulling all of my tagged bookmarks from Tags, and all of my Evernote web clippings (all via a combination of Ruby, AppleScript and launchd). I've got full-text search of everything I bookmark, no matter where I do it. I also have a complete history of all of my web browsing across all of the browsers I use, dating back up to 60 days (configurable), with user-definable filters to skip the popups and redirect pages.

I've been emailing quite a bit with Jon, and he's got a lot of further development planned. One thing I'm begging for, and getting a positive response on, is the ability to publish the full index to Spotlight. The HistoryHound search is great, really great, but there are amazing possibilities when that index becomes part of a full system search (and accessible to mdfind!).

HistoryHound has a 30-day free trial (download here), and runs $19.95US for a license after that. If you use multiple browsers, and enjoy being able to find things you know are there, somewhere, it's a worthwhile investment.

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