Web Organizer: A Review

By: Walter Metcalf
Date: 10/14/98

Anyone who does a lot of work on the Internet soon finds the bookmark features provided by Web Explorer, Navigator, and Communicator woefully inadequate. For example, Web Explorer doesn't even provide folder ability nor does it let you edit a bookmark's URL! Although both versions of Netscape do provide these features, they require you to load a separate document to perform even the most trivial editing. Many OS/2 users keep two or more copies of Netscape on their desktop at once, and changes to this bookmark document from one copy of the browser can easily be wiped out after he or she switches to another browser copy, because all copies of Netscape read and write to the same bookmark file.

Web Organizer is designed to solve this problem by supplementing the existing bookmarks, or replacing them altogether. It does this by creating a mini-database and gives you the option of assign this data base as your home page. Although you are not required to make this your home page, this is probably the most useful arrangement. (This option is provided at installation, although it can be changed later.) Web Organizer also provides limited support for the browser bookmark file.

To this end, Web Organizer displays two windows on startup: one is called Web Site Entries and contains a list of your bookmarks; the other is called Web Pages and contains your home page document if you selected the home page option. (Throughout the remainder of this feature, I will assume this option has been selected.) Only two functions are provided for the Web Site Entries window: delete a link, and drag a link over to the Web Pages window: causing the link to be added to the home page. The real power of Web Organizer lies with the Web Pages window, so that is where I'll look next.

One of the strongest features of Web Organizer is that it can reside on the screen with your browser, allowing you to bookmark a page simply by placing the pointer on a blank area of the document, and dragging the pointer over to the desired folder or location on the Web Pages window. You can also bookmark a link by dragging and dropping the link to the Web Pages in the same manner. One saved, you can alter the title by left-clicking on the link with the CTRL key pressed. Stored links can be moved, copied, and deleted all from the main window. The fact that all work on links is performed from the main window makes using Web Organizer easy and natural. Another feature of Web Organizer that adds to its power is that the database is kept in memory while Web Organizer is running. This greatly increases the speed with which operations are performed. It also means it's important to save the bookmarks periodically during a long Web Organizer session to minimize the chances of losing bookmarks as a result of an accident such as a system failure. Fortunately this can be accomplished with a single keystroke. It is also possible to set Web Organizer to automatically save bookmarks whenever you exit the program. Setting this option is highly recommended. I have observed an anomaly regarding exiting Web Organizer that is worth mentioning: it might save you some confusion one day. I find if I have Web Organizer open, forget about it, and shutdown the system, the shutdown process will quit without a message when it comes to Web Organizer. If this happens, simply bringing Web Organizer to the foreground and exiting causes the shutdown procedure to automatically resume after Web Organizer has completed its exit procedure. (Actually this is quite useful because it prevents bookmarks from being lost.)

Other useful features include keyboard and mouse access to all functions; the ability to export bookmarks to either bookmark or Ascii files; optional automatic sorting of bookmarks in either descending or ascending order; pick-up and drop support; unlimited nesting of folders; and colour scheme customizability.

Looking at the other side of the ledger, Web Organizer has several major deficiencies. Some of these are:

  1. Only one item can be moved or copied at once, even with pickup and drop. If you have a really large number of bookmarks like me, this is a serious inconvenience. (See note below.)

  2. It's not possible to modify the URL of a link. (See note below.)

  3. You can load a web page by double-clicking on the entry in Web Organizer. The problem is that Web Organizer opens a new copy of Netscape every time it opens a page, instead of using the OS/2 DDE feature, which is supported by Netscape, to use an existing copy of Netscape. Not only is loading a new copy each time much slower, but it can result in bogging down or even crashing your system because of too many copies of Netscape running at once. (See note below.)

    Less serious problems include:

  4. It is difficult to properly bookmark framed pages. You usually have to bookmark one of the frames, which removes much of the linking power of the page.

  5. A space within a Name attribute are interpreted as a terminator instead of a valid character.

  6. Accidentally dragging a link from the Web Pages window to the Web Site Entries window completely locks up the system.


  1. Andrew and I have exchanged several email messages in which I expressed my concerns, and he has assured me there will be a new release of Web Organizer which will, among other things, correct problems 1, 2, and 3. He hopes to have it released before the end of this year.

  2. Due to a bug in the current release of Communicator 4.04, Web Organizer's support for it is incomplete. Specifically, it isn't possible to save (i.e. drag) a URL directly to the Web Page window. You must first create an ordinary bookmark, reload the bookmark file, and drag the link from the Web Sites Entries window to the Web Page window. (Mike Kaply, Technical Lead on the Communicator project, has indicated that fixing this bug in Communicator is their number one priority for the next version.

In summary, Web Organizer, even with its present deficiencies, is a flexible, valuable tool if you have to manage a large number of bookmarks. When these deficiencies are corrected, Web Organizer will only be more valuable as well as easier to use.

Web Organizer is a shareware product written by Andrew Phillips and can be downloaded from ONG Software. The registration fee is $19.95 US.

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