I was more than a little surprised when I opened my Delicious page and found that everything had completely changed overnight.
Yes, I knew that Yahoo! was divesting itself of Delicious, and that a startup had bought it. I knew the transition was happening soon. What I did not realize — and probably this should have occurred to me — was that they were going to completely redesign Delicious.
In so doing, all of the features that I liked most and used every day were suddenly wiped out. Gone were the tag bundles I had spent years developing. (Tag bundles were a feature of the old Delicious that enabled you to group, or bundle, different tags together. For instance, I could bundle all the tags for a project together and access them easily from the sidebar.) Gone were the tag clouds that I could adjust to show only the most frequently used tags or all of them.
Now, in their place, is just a list of tags down the right side. Not all of my tags; I can’t figure out how to get to those. Not even my most frequently used tags. Just some random tags. The redesign renders my carefully crafted tagging scheme useless. This is probably worse than Delicious disappearing altogether, because this happened without warning and without the chance for me to preserve my work somehow.
Needless to say, I immediately exported all of my bookmarks to my browser. At least the new Delicious makes that easy enough to do.
This rude awakening underscores what we should all internalize as a fact of 21st century life: When your everyday tools are owned, operated, designed and controlled by someone else, you can’t count on them to stay the same and do what you expect, day after day. After years of using a site like Delicious or Google Documents or WordPress or any of the myriad Web tools available to us to store and organize our data, we start to take them for granted. But this experience has made it very clear that you can’t count on any of these tools being there forever. Or even being there tomorrow.
As great as the “cloud” is, and I’m a big proponent of Web-based tools and data storage, we have to remember that if we care about our data, we have to caretake it. That means making backups. Because you just might wake up to find it gone or irrevocably changed.
However, I’m not letting Delicious off the hook altogether. We should have been warned that in the redesign, data would be gone. Sure, the site is allowed to change and evolve — I know I don’t own it; I just get to use it for free — but show some respect for your users by at least giving us a heads-up. Is that really too much to ask of the cloud?
- New Delicious – sweet eye candy but a bitter aftertaste (brendancooper.com)
- The new Delicious (kottke.org)