Undelicious - a Delicious Library 2.0 review

So, Delicious Library 2.0 was finally released. I was seriously wondering if it was just going to be vaporware for years. The people behind it would pop up their heads every two to four months and say “real soon now”. Back in November / December of 07 they were encouraging people to buy 1.x so that they would get the free upgrade, hopefully in time for xmas but if not very soon thereafter. It’s now June. They had a forum to discuss it where people basically said “yo wtf?” and the devs said “…” and occasionally “real soon now” with no indication as to wtf the hold-up was or why it’d been in private beta for months, and months, and months.

The 2.0 version has taken about four years to happen (1.0 came out in 2004). All the 1.x versions were just bug fixes not feature upgrades. If I sound a little bitter, it’s because I am. I can’t begin to tell you how excited I’ve been, and how long I’ve been waiting for, DL 2.0 without sounding like an idiot. This is, of course, due to the fact that it’s a library app, and anyone sounds like an idiot when they start talking excitedly about one. But they actually made it fun and really useful with 1.x and I couldn’t wait for new hotness.

Being a registered user I figured I might get an e-mail about the release, but no. I just stumbled across it when doing my monthly check of their blog (to see if there’d be any progress). So, I downloaded the demo, to try out it’s new hotness.

Adding new items

I was so jazzed to try this out as it was always one of the best parts. When I tried to add one of my recently purchased books it told me I could only add 25 items in the demo. It’s a reasonable limitation for a demo, but *I hadn’t added a single item.*It had imported my library from the 1.x install. Maybe they’ve radically improved the adding of items. Maybe they didn’t change it. Maybe it’s as broken as FTP upload…. I couldn’t tell ya. They spent “four or so months to rewrite iSight scanning for internal iSights”, because apparently working perfectly in 1.x under Tiger and Leopard simply wasn’t good enough. And you deserve 4 months worth of work users will never see the benefits of. I can’t confirm that they didn’t break it because it won’t let me try to add anything.

Ability to borrow a book from friends?

Hah! Silly user. People don’t borrow books. They only lend books. I can browse the libraries of anyone else on the network who has it and is sharing (just like iTunes). I can only mark things as being lent to others, but I can’t borrow anything.

Speed

meh. It’s no speed demon. It’s usable, but some things seem… laggy. Icon’s taking half a second to swap states when you check in something a friend borrowed. It’s not that it’s annoyingly slow. It’s that we’ve become accustomed to things being far snappier.

FTP Uploading

I get an “Operation not permitted” error, or it appears to silently fail, based on my settings. I’m not sure if it “Operation not permitted” means the FTP server won’t permit some operation, or DL won’t permit some operation (probably the former), and I have zero idea what operation wasn’t permitted. After fiddling more I discovered that it wasn’t really silently failing. The was a subtle solid circle next to the Publish button. This circle doesn’t move, blink, fade, or do anything other than sit there.

Shhh. I’m
publishing

When you choose Window > Activity you see an empty black window that’s titled “lookup activity”, and the only way I discovered that it actually was publishing was that when I moused over the circle it says “Publishing in background”. It’s been “Publishing in background” for up to 20 minutes on multiple occasions now and each time it creates one folder, and twenty html files (out of the 160 the progress bars (1-75 and then another one for 1-85??) claimed it had created, but no images. It has put these files in a “deliciouslibrary” folder inside the folder i told it i wanted the files in, because apparently just sticking them directly in the folder I told it to use it too complicated.

This is because it has stalled (silently failed for real this time). It turns out if you try and restart it from the File menu it says “Publishing to FTP Site (0%)” where it used to have a “Publish to FTP” menu item. This is even more frustrating due to the fact that it has published something so it can’t possibly be zero percent. When you go to quit it (because it’s not working) it doesn’t bother to warn you that it’s in the middle of publishing. It just quits.

Exporting HTML to a local folder

works just fine (except for the 22Mb DeliciousLibrary2Dump.deliciousShare file it shoved in there for no apparent reason), and then you can upload that manually to your web server, although my export is just under 50Mb.

HTML Export (any method)

Items seem to be sorted by meth-addled crack-whores reaching for the “rock” they just dropped, whilst fellating a John with electrodes attached to his willie. It’s not sorted by author. It’s not sorted by title. It’s not sorted by rating. It’s not sorted by genre. It’s not even sorted by the order I added them to Delicious Library. In fact, as far as I can tell, it’s totally fucking randomized. What DL has given me is a very nice looking collection of 378 books (and other media) in which you can’t find a damn thing you’re looking for, and can’t browse in any useful way.

Oh, and those star ratings next to each item? Those aren’t mine. I assume they’re from Amazon, but I have no idea if they’re the average rating or what Amazon thinks I’ll think of them. I can’t turn them off, and honestly, I don’t feel like contemplating the relative quality, on a one to five scale, of each of four hundred freaking books, and then all my movies and video games. So, I’m not going to set them.

There are 27 pages of books in my export, of which you can see links to 5 at a time. there’s no good way to jump ahead so you end up clicking and clicking and clicking … or you would, if there was some order, and thus hope of getting to something you’re looking for.

** I won’t link you to the html it made because it’s a) useless b) annoying c) a fucking insult to our intelligence.**

Sharing

sharing is pretty useless. the only way to interactively share is with other people running delicious library on your local LAN, which is to say, no-one. While I know that 1.x has sold gang-busters I have yet to meet a user of it in person. I suspect the same will remain true for 2.x. The odds of meeting them AND them being in the same building at my company…. even closer to zero. The usefulness of sharing from someone in the lan on my house is absolutely zero.

I’m betting that printing works. I could “share” the list that way. But seriously, who wants to read through pages and pages of hundreds of my book, game, and movie listings. No-one, that’s who. I have friends who would like to know if I have a particular book, but like they say “you can’t grep dead trees.”

Misc

After all this freaking time delicious-library.com (which they do own) still doesn’t work. No, you have to go to delicious-monster.com which I simply don’t have enough energy left to bitch about the stupidity of.

Conclusion

HTML export is beyond useless. UI isn’t different enough that I care. “Sharing” is a feature I’ll never get a chance to use, and you probably won’t either. On the other hand, it now supports many languages I don’t speak. And lets me loan (but not borrow) tools, because apparently the lead dev. couldn’t remember who he loaned a $200 drill to… Sounds like a must-buy app to me. Er, wait… no it doesn’t.