Firefox 53: Bookmark Syncing reliability improvements

Mozilla implemented changes in Firefox 53 Nightly recently that improve the reliability of the web browser's bookmark syncing functionality.

Firefox Sync is integrated in the web browser. It enables Firefox users to sync data -- bookmarks, passwords or the browsing history for instance -- to the cloud, and from there to other devices that run Firefox and are linked to the same account.

This is useful for Firefox users who use the browser on multiple devices, or for backup purposes.If you use Firefox on a single device, you can still make use of Sync, for instance when you re-install the browser every now and then and don't use other means of backing up data.

Using Firefox Sync is not the only option to sync Firefox data, as other sync software may also be used.

Firefox 53: Bookmark Syncing reliability improvements

firefox sync bookmarks

The new bookmarking synchronization method in Firefox 53 improves the reliability of the process.

The previous method used to sync bookmarks used a listener that looked for notifications from Firefox's bookmark's storage Places. These were then recorded to memory, and flushed to disk occasionally.

The method has its flaws, as Sync missed changes on browser start or during a sync process, or lost changes from interrupted sync processes.

This led to all kinds of issues for Firefox users who used Firefox Sync to synchronize bookmarks.

New Method

The new method resolves these issues. It does away with the listener and moves the tracking logic into Places. This means that Sync will pull the information directly from Places instead of using the observer.

Each bookmark gets a "change counter" bit that Sync will use to determine whether a bookmark has been modified. The bit is reset when the modified data is synced successfully to the server.

The effect is that Firefox won't lose bookmark information anymore during sync processes.

The counter is updated in a transaction, ensuring we don't lose changes at startup or shutdown. This design also avoids missing changes during a sync.

We think these lost changes are responsible for a large portion of corrupt server bookmark trees.

Mozilla plans to add a fix to Sync soon that will address corrupt bookmark data on the Sync server. This is currently in the works. (via Sören)

Now Read: Use the about:sync Firefox add-on to troubleshoot Sync issues

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Firefox 53: Bookmark Syncing reliability improvements
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Mozilla implemented changes in Firefox 53 Nightly recently that improve the reliability of the web browser's bookmark syncing functionality.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Responses to Firefox 53: Bookmark Syncing reliability improvements

  1. bwat47 November 28, 2016 at 4:16 pm #

    Does this mean this might finally get fixed? https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=812348

    I have to take weekly backups of my firefox profile because of this nonsense, and I've given up signing into sync on my android phone as that usually scrambles my bookmarks shortly after

  2. Guest703 November 28, 2016 at 8:12 pm #

    I once tried to get Firefox to sync my bookmarks and tabs. Didn't work, probably won't bother trying again. This was less than 12 months ago, mind.

    I prefer the more reliable method of exporting bookmarks, and manually importing them.

    Chrome works, strangely enough, just not properly - it doesn't carry addons correctly when you want it to, and carries addons that you don't want. I'll give examples:

    Hot desking at work: have a bunch of addons. Chrome syncs them, but 'forgets' the settings, so the mouse gestures addon I'm using has to be manually set up each time I use a new computer at work (there are lots of computers to switch between)

    Then I logged onto my Chrome work profile at home because I needed to do some work from home. It picked up my sad panda extension from home, and next time I logged into work, noticed a sad panda extension sitting in Chrome. Whoops. Removed that quick. Oh yes, Chrome doesn't sync tabs either. A bit of a fail there.

    So yeah, Chrome works. Sort of. Still garbage though, seems the world of web browsers just can't get sync to work properly.

  3. Count Soxington November 29, 2016 at 1:54 am #

    Im so glad they are giving Bookmarks the much needed love. Its been years and hence why Xmarks was invented. As much as its now "old" Xmarks still does a fantastic Job. Also supports Cross-browser should i ever have to use an alternative.

    Maybe give Firefox another few years to get their Bookmarks sync up to scratch.

  4. Guest20161129 November 29, 2016 at 4:07 pm #

    "This is useful for Firefox users who use the browser on multiple devices, or for backup purposes.If you use Firefox on a single device, you can still make use of Sync, for instance when you re-install the browser every now and then and don't use other means of backing up data."

    As one of the people who has worked on sync over the years, I want to clear up one point: Sync is *not* a backup service. The sync service is only intended to "sync" data between two or more active devices that have been properly registered against the account associated with the sync data.

    We make every effort to ensure that the data is always available, but if something in "the cloud" should fail, we assume your browser is the canonical source of your sync data. Also, we are unable to recover your data because we don't have any way to determine which database blob of binary, encrypted bits are "yours".

    If you use the service in the way that's described above, sooner or later, you will be sad.

  5. josh December 8, 2016 at 10:12 am #

    Firefox sync has generally worked fairly well, edge syncing on the other hand is a mess.
    If i add bookmarks on edge using windows mobile, 90% of the time it won't sync to edge on pc, however if i bookmark on a pc, then most of the time it appears on my phone.

  6. MannyM January 7, 2017 at 9:36 pm #

    Is Firefox 53 a good stable version? I just can't bring myself to update simply because FF has put out an update and look to others who use the browser too to help me decide if I should upgrade. I have too many computers here that I am responsible for to not look for advice before I take the leap. Would readers please advise?

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