A few weeks ago I decided to start experimenting with del.icio.us. It's all part of a resolution get come to grips with all the Web 2.0 applications and how they interelate. In the back of my mind is a hope to manage the Links area for Geek Glue using something like del.icio.us rather than maintaining my own backend editor. Ideally all of Geek Glue's content will be stored and managed elsewhere. With the site itself managing how this content is presented. The benefits of this approach is that less server space is required, time can be spent developing the presentation layer without needing to develop editors as well and that I will develop a comprehensive knowledge of available technologies. There are also a good range of risks and I might talk about them at a different time. But for now I want to consider del.icio.us.
First up, the best thing about del.icio.us is how easy it is to add new links. In Firefox you can install an extension that adds two buttons. One takes you to your del.icio.us account and the other opens a form to add the current page to your links. This form lets you add tags (showing suggested, popular and your own tags ), to decide whether you want to share this link and to write a brief description. This requires four less selections than my own Geek Glue editor.
I love del.icio.us's incredibly simple url's. Typing http://del.icio.us/accountName shows all links for that account. Typing http://del.icio.us/accountName/tagName shows you everything that the user has tagged with that tag name. For example, to see all my Flex links you just go to http://del.icio.us/geekglue/flex or to see all shared links for Flex : http://del.icio.us/tag/flex. This is a simple and very effective system.
I like the fact that it tells you how many other users have shared a particular link and that you can view their comments (although I hate how unhelpful most of these comments are). You can follow this further to see what these users are saving. Finding a user with similar interests can lead to a rich mine of useful sites.
What I don't like is that all of my links are displayed chronologically. Which means something I saved a few months ago is many pages deep. I could search for it if I could remember it's name. I could filter by tag. But I already have some tags that are many pages deep. What I'd love is some more sorting options.
The other thing that is missing is the ability to rate my links (and then sort by rating). I understand that part of the idea is that good pages will be linked by more users. But that doesn't help me to find pages that I think are important.
I like bundles; which is a way of organising your tags into groups. But I find the bundle editor awkward to use (and hence I regularly have unbundled tags). I'd also like a lot more options about how tags and bundles are viewed.
Overall del.icio.us is an extremely useful way to manage your bookmarks. The only similar system that I'm aware of is BlueDot which I plan to try out in the near future. Sure there are things that could be better about del.icio.us. But at the same time it offers more functionality than I'd have time to devlop for myself.