Selectively Sync iPhone Bookmarks

I generally don’t maintain a large number of Bookmarks in Safari (I keep everything online using a private bookmark management app I never really finished). What I do have is a large number of favelets. But these favelets mostly involve resizing browser windows, downloading embedded content or skinnying up elastic layouts. While useful on the desktop, they don’t really translate to the iPhone. You can’t resize the browser window, downloading isn’t supported, and Wikipedia doesn’t look any better at 800px wide than it would normally on the iPhone. iTunes’ all or nothing syncing doesn’t do much for me.

Enter Selective Sync, a little AppleScript application that uses the ssh server we previously installed on our iPhones to sync our iPhone Bookmarks with an “iPhone” folder in our desktop Safari Bookmarks.

Despite the alluring alliteration, the application syncs in name only. While you can move bookmarks in either direction, the target is simply replaced by the incoming collection. This is fine for me since I don’t plan on tapping out too many JavaScript favelets on the iPhone’s keyboard.

Selective Sync probably requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later. The first time it runs Selective Sync will automatically install Late Night Software’s free Property List Tools Scripting Addition (if necessary). It requires your iPhone be wirelessly connected to your local network and awake. (You can bookmark this page and leave it open in Safari to keep it awake. Or just dock it.) You should also uncheck “Sync Safari bookmarks” in iTunes which can be found under your iPhone’s “Info” tab.

Selective Sync and its icon (including shoddy mask) were created in a couple of hours using Apple’s Developer tools. Most of that time was spent familiarizing myself with AppleScript syntax and the Xcode/Interface Builder workflow and finding a way to script interactive command line applications (Expect—used in combination with AppleScript’s do shell script—ended up being exactly what I was looking for).

As always, this software is offered as-is. I disclaim any damages that may result from its use or misuse.

Selective Sync (includes source) has been downloaded 353 times.

Grids are Good™
Shaun Inman
August 12th, 2007 at 4:46 pm