Linux solution Wades through bookmark conundrum

A free Linux and open source based service that aims to take bookmarking a step further and allow users to highlight Web pages and add comments, is set to go live this month., which is currently under closed beta, allows users to add highlights and put up sticky notes (private or public) directly on any part of a webpage (click here to view a screenshot). It also allows the user to archive any original Web pages visited, and offers an advanced search.

CEO and founder, Wade Ren said his development team is constantly adding more features to the service. While all the current features will remain free once the service goes live, Ren and his team plan to add a range of fee based "premium" services.

"The idea of Social Annotation came long ago, and actually arose out of our personal need to read, digest and organize large amount of information online and to find a better way to share thoughts and interact on those information. The design and some development started by the end of 2004," Ren said.

The development period has been lengthy due to the complexity of the service, according to Ren.

"It has taken a while because we wanted to support annotation with both Firefox and IE plug-ins, as well as allowing annotation without any plug-in installation. The full-text search of everything including the original pages, highlighted contents, comments, tags, titles, and URLs has also turned out to be quite time consuming," he said.

"Fortunately, all these are now done and we are ready to provide a fairly powerful and relatively mature service to the world."

The self funded project employs about ten people and currently has 5,000 beta users, who have contributed over 300,000 bookmarks.

The development team started out using Java and J2EE.

"We have mostly switched to Ruby on Rails now though, because we see the potential to improve the speed of development in the future. So we now use Linux, MySQL and Ruby," Ren said.

Ren said he is always looking for more developers to get on board and will be opening up a lot of Application Program Interface's (APIs), and he is interested in attracting value-add investors.

The service runs on Windows XP/2000 SP4+, Red Hat Linux 9.0+, Mac OS X 10.2+ and is available through a downloadable bookmark or a browser button for IE or Firefox browsers, with support for more browsers planned.

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Dahna McConnachie

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