Sunday, April 02, 2006

Technology: a Ghanaian bookmarking site


During the Tech forum in Kumasi, Ghana, people showcased some of their work. Amongst all amazing work, Henry Addo (not in the picture unfortunately) showcased his Webmark site, a free (open source) online bookmark manager.
Henry uses mostly cybercafes to access the web, and used to list his bookmarks on one of the computers in the cybercafe. When he found someone using the computer with his bookmarks, he used to get annoyed. Out of this need, he decided to develop an online bookmark manager.

We compared his bookmark manager to the way I use del.icio.us. Henry felt delicious is too chaotic and takes too long to load. But he likes the public nature of the bookmarks and intends to work on incorporating that feature into Webmark. The intention is to expand the site, but keep the service free by getting advertisements on the site.

I think this is a great example of appropriating technology design for localised solutions. Even though there is an enormous amount of bookmarking solutions readily available, a Ghanaian developed bookmark manager will suit the needs of the cybercafe visitors much better than some of the readily available online bookmarking systems.

12 comments:

bev trayner said...

I love that story!

hoong said...

Hello Joistke,

I was playing around with WebMark. I make use of the internetcafe quite often since I do not have a working printer at home, neither do I have a lap-top when I travelled. So, this WebMark sounds interesting from your posting ...

BUT, it is not so. And the instructions on the tool is also very limited. I feel stupid, but perhaps I am not, or perhaps I am use to user-friendlier tool such as del.icio.us ??? Perhaps you could fill in the blanks as to how to use the tool since you were there with the inventor?

In any case I have written an email to WebMark asking the same questions I wrote here.

Cindy

Joitske Hulsebosch said...

Hi Cindy, I found it extremely straightforward...

You copy the links you want to add to your bookmark list. (from add URL). and you can make your own categories by clicking on edit categories. That's all. But you have to copy the link manually, not with a button like in delicious.

Henry Addo said...

Hi,
Thanks so much for the feedback. As a matter fact webmark as at now is not the final release product,development is still on going. It was release for userbility and testing purposes for much improvement of the
product. I'm inputting much effort to make it much much much userfriendly as possible. for now clicking on a button to save a url is not supported. All you have to do is ( as already said by Joiske )
copy the link and paste it in the form for adding new url. I'm working on making it much flexible by clicking on a link and it adds it up.

I noted your comments Cindy i will be including a help page on how to use the product as well.

Thanks so much Joiske for your blog.I have got some comments to act on.
Hope these are not the end of the comments. Keep them coming and i will effect those improvements and changes you want.

Allison Hewlitt said...

Thanks for this Joitske and Henry. I haven't tested it myself but it sounds as though it is an application that my colleagues in Uganda would definitely find useful especially as an alternative to del.icio.us. As Henry points out, del.icio.us is too slow unless the user has good bandwidth - which isn't the norm for my colleagues.

Looking forward to hearing any updates on an advanced application.

Please keep up the great work Henry!

hoong said...

Hello Henry,

Keep fine-tuning! I am sure WebMark can be a useful tool for many people. Me included.

del.icio.us is fine when I am using my PC at home. Here is one other way that we can 'cheat' the system. Send the WebMark url via an email to yourself. You can then pick up the email wherever you are. I do that all the time when travelling. I just copy all the url I need to an email. And I send document as attachment.

Henry Addo said...

sending urls via email is supported by webmark

Guido Sohne said...

I did something like this is 1998. See http://web.archive.org/web/19981111183542/http://www.webstar.com.gh/

I think this would be best served by using the delicious web services API ...

Guido Sohne said...

The URL in my last comment didn't come out quite right.

Use the Internet Archive to see webstar in 1998.

It's no longer on the Internet. Sorry! But like I said, would be better if you hooked it into delicious via web services. That way no one has to worry about their data being lost when your site goes down in ten years :-)

Henry Addo said...

Hello Guido,
Can you please clearify more about how to implement that. I will be grateful

Henry Addo said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Henry Addo said...

I managed to get webmark back online again. It can now be accessed via webmark