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Mozilla plans to remove bookmarks descriptions

Mozilla plans to remove bookmarks description support in the Firefox web browser according to bug listings on the official bug management site.

The organization plans to do the removal in two steps: in step one, only the bookmark description user interface is removed from Firefox but the actual descriptions are not removed from Firefox; the actual removal happens in a later version of the web browser.

Bookmark descriptions are fetched automatically from the page that is bookmarked, provided that a meta description is available. Firefox users may edit bookmarks at any time when they open the bookmarks library.

firefox bookmark descriptions

Mozilla’s reason for removing descriptions is simple: descriptions are a minor feature, they are limited in use as search does not include the description field, and that they affect the performance of bookmarking operations.

Users should not confuse the descriptions field with the newer description field in moz_places that features such as Activity Stream use. The latter is populated automatically and cannot be edited by users.

The organization plans to remove the UI of the bookmarks description field in Firefox 62. The new version of the web browser will be released on September 5, 2018 if the schedule holds.

Mozilla planned to remove the descriptions from Firefox’s databases a version or two later initially but decided to extend the grace period to avoid user confusion or the loss of description data.

Firefox users can export the bookmarking data as JSON or HTML files including the bookmark descriptions even in Firefox 62 and later, and even though descriptions are no longer shown in the library.

One of the easier ways to do that is to use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl-Shift-B to open the Bookmarks library. Select Import and Backup from the menu bar and in the menu that opens either backup or export bookmarks to HTML. The former saves the bookmark data as a JSON file, the later as an HTML file.

Firefox users who use the descriptions field of bookmarks actively may want to monitor this bug on Bugzilla to find out when the data is removed.

Mozilla did add a new bookmarking prompt to the browser recently that displays a thumbnail capture of the bookmarked page.

Closing Words

The description field of bookmarks is not the only feature of Firefox that Mozilla plans to remove. The organization announced recently that it plans to retire Live Bookmarks and RSS parsing support in Firefox.

While these changes affect only a very small part of the Firefox population, it is most likely that they affect long-standing Firefox users more than new Firefox users who probably did not know about many of the now-hidden features in first place.

It is easy enough to just look at Telemetry and base all decisions on it but even a 0.1% of all Firefox users is a large enough group of users that could paint Mozilla in a bad light or move on.

If you take 0.1% here and 0.1% there, you soon end up with a larger group of users that might move to a different browser.

Now You: Do you use the bookmarks description field? (via Deskmodder)

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