Thursday, October 9, 2008

We need your help

Fall is here, summer fun is over and soon enough we will be back to the dry indoors air. It is not all bad; we are in fact having a lot more fun here. We are excited to tell you about what we are up to.

We have taken gnizr to the operating room and we are giving it a good face lift. We are also gearing up to hit the road to raise capital so we can take gnizr open source and gnizr Enterprise to the next level.

To help us get our story right and make it more compelling, we need your feedback and testimonials. Let us know if you are using gnizr for fun or at your workplace. knowing what who is using gnizr would help us a great deal. Post your feedback on this blog.

Thanks for trying gnizr out. We can only succeed with your support.

The gnizr team

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Gnizr 2.4.0 RC1 Release

Gnizr 2.4.0 RC1 is now available for download.

Note: This release is intended for evaluation and testing, and it's not suitable for any serious deployment.

Improved Install Script

Modified gnizr DB schema install script. Users will be warned and asked for a confirmation if they attempt to install gnizr DB schema into an existing gnizr database. See Issue 67.

Fixed RSS feed URL

Provides feed URL for subscribing to user saved bookmarks.
  • Recent 10 bookmarks saved in a given folder
  • Recent 10 bookmarks saved in the bookmark archive.
Both feeds can be filtered by a tag -- e.g., recent 10 bookmarks tagged 'java'.

Find an RSS button in the bottom of every bookmark pages.

Custom Header and Footer Template Files

Some users asked if they can customize the footer and header section on gnizr pages. We have created two separate FreeMarker templates for this purpose. The contents of the footer and header section are generated by FreeMarker macros. In the past, they were defined in the file "macro-lib.ftl" in gnizr/lib/web.

Starting this release, in the gnizr/lib/web directory, these macros are defined in footer-macro.ftl and header-macro.ftl. Change the content of these files to customize the footer and header section.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Scheduled Gnizr.Com Maintenance Upgrade will be unavailable between 8:00AM-12:00PM EDT. We will perform scheduled maintenance upgrade during this period.

Questions and concerns, please send email to -- help at

Friday, May 30, 2008

Upgrade issue: Setting user account status

If you're upgrading from gnizr 2.3.0 to gnizr 2.4.0 M3/M4, you may need to run the following sql command to set the proper user account status for all existing users. This is a temporary fix. In the final release of 2.4.0, we will include this fix in the upgrade scripts.
update user set acct_status="0000000001";
-- kudos to rick --

What's the problem?

After upgrading to gnizr 2.4.0 M3/M4, users are unable to log in. In gnizr 2.4.0 M3, there is a major change in the user registration process. In the new implementation, user accounts are put on hold until their email address are verified -- valid email addresses are required for password recovery.

In the DB record, when an account is on hold, the column 'acct_status' is set to 0.

How to fix the problem?

If you are the admin, and you know that all your users have a valid email on file, then you can execute the SQL command to change the 'acct_status' of all users to 1.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Gnizr 2.4.0 Milestone 4 Release

Gnizr 2.4.0 Milestone 4 is now available for download.

Note: This release is intended for evaluation and testing, and it's not suitable for any serious deployment.


In this release, new implementation has been added to restrict the kind of HTML tags are allowed in the "title" and the "notes" field of a saved bookmark. For example, users will no longer be allowed to add use "script" and "iframe" tags in the body of the bookmark notes.

Added more OpenSearch

We have added more OpenSearch engines to the default list. This list now includes search engines of, Live Search, Yahoo! News Search, YouTube, Wikipedia, and the New York Times.

Bookmark Export

Users can export their saved bookmarks to a file. In this release, exported bookmarks are saved in the Mozilla/Netscape bookmark file format. The export procedure exports both bookmarks and folders. If a bookmark appears in two or more folders, multiple copies of the bookmark will be created in each one of the folders. User can find the "bookmark export" function in "settings".

Friday, May 9, 2008

Welcome to

For those who want to try out gnizr but don't have the time and resources to install it, we have a good news for you.

Welcome to (beta).

It is free and runs on the same code base as the gnizr open source. The only difference between running your own gnizr and using is that your information saved in is public and can be seen by anyone on the Web.

Users of will always be the first to see the latest and use the most stable gnizr software. This experience doesn't require any software download, upgrade or installation.

During our beta release (like what has done for a loooong period of time), we limit the number of active user accounts. If you have registered, but didn't receive a confirmation from us, don't worry we will notify you once our user registration quota is raised.

Any questions, send us an email --

Monday, May 5, 2008

Tell us your gnizr success stories

Recently, FishEye shows the total number of line-count of gnizr open source has passed 100,000. Since we have open-sourced gnizr, the traffic to our Google Code project and blog sites continue to increase in a healthy pace. We are very happy about this.

While we can use automated tools to track visitor traffics, but we didn't have a good way to receive and monitor feedbacks from our users. Today a new Wiki page has been created on the Google Code project site to report and receive community feedbacks. This new page called "Success Stories" will publish short descriptions of how users from diverse industries and organizations are using gnizr to facilitate information sharing and improve people's productivity. On the same page, you can find the email address to which you can send your suggestions and feedbacks.

I wrote the first story about my experience in using gnizr to teach the Social Web Technologies course at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Gnizr 2.4.0 Milestone 3 Release

Gnizr 2.4.0 Milestone 3 is now available for download.

Note: This release is intended for evaluation and testing, and it's not suitable for any serious deployment.

See also: Gnizr 2.4.0 Milestone 1 and Gnizr 2.4.0 Milestone 2

I Forgot My Password

People often forget their login passwords. We have implemented a function that allows gnizr users to reset their login password. In the login page, users can follow a "I forgot my password" link to reset their password.

Users must have valid email addresses defined in their respective profiles in order to use this function. Users can change their email address by going to the "settings" page. Administrators (i.e., gnizr) can also change user email address under the User Management function.

When a password reset request is submitted, an email message is sent to the user. To enable this function, when installing or upgrading to 2.4.0-M3, the administrator must configure mail server setting in the gnizr-config.xml.

Here are some typical SMTP configurations.

Policy-Driven User Registration

In the previous releases, gnizr administrators can implement one of two user registration policy -- (1) anyone can register, and (2) only the admin can create new accounts. Starting in 2.4.0-M3, a third option is available.

The new option allows anyone with a valid email address to register, but in order for their accounts to be activated, they require explicitly approval from the administrator (i.e., gnizr).

Here is a detail description of gnizr's User Registration policy.

This feature requires the administrator to configure mail server setting in the gnizr-config.xml.

New Bookmarklet for the Internet Explorer 6

Some enterprise users having trouble using the bookmarklet that comes with gnizr in the IE6 browser. David Hochman kindly sent us a fix to this issue. Part of his fix has been included in 2.4.0-M3.

In the "help" page, users can find this experimental bookmarklet. We have tested in IE6, and it worked much better than ours in the previous releases.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Gnizr 2.4.0 Milestone 2 Release

Gnizr 2.4.0 Milestone 2 is now available for download.
Note: This release is intended for evaluation and testing, and it's not suitable for any serious deployment.

See also: Gnizr 2.4.0 Milestone 1

UI Cleaning and Polish

Users should notice some UI changes in this release. Improved the layout of bookmarks. The display of bookmark information is more compact. Clicking on the bookmark title will take you to the description page of the bookmark. We've also updated the layout of the login page and the registration page. Depending on how the registration policy is configured, different information is shown to users who don't already have an account.

We also added more instruction text in different "settings" pages. This should help new users and new admin to get started with the system.

Search Term Suggestion

To improve users' search experience, we have added the Search Term Suggestion function. As you entering text in the search box, a drop-down menu will show you search suggestions. You can read more about its design and implementation on the wiki page.

Improved Bookmark Search

In the past release, queries entered in the search box are matched against only the "title" of the saved bookmarks in the system. In this release, we've improved the index and search algorithm. Texts entered are automatically matched against "title", "tags" and "notes" of the saved bookmarks.

Also, the OpenSearch engine implementation for "bookmarks saved by you" and "bookmarks saved by others" have distinctive behavior. If a user is logged in, searching in "bookmarks saved by others" will search within bookmarks saved by all users in the community, but automatically exclude those saved by the logged-in user. On the other hand, the "bookmarks saved by you" search engine only searches within those bookmarks that are saved by the logged-in user.

Field-based search (add a prefix term to the search query):
  • "title:" -- search within bookmark titles
  • "tag:" -- search within tags
  • "notes:" -- search within bookmark notes
  • "text:" -- search within all the above fields (default)

Friday, April 4, 2008

Gnizr 2.4.0 Milestone 1 Release

Gnizr 2.4.0 Milestone 1 is now available for download.

Note: This release is intended for evaluation and testing, and it's not suitable for any serious deployment.

New Features

Super Faster Bookmark Search. We've added Lucene search engine to power gnizr bookmark search. The result is an significant performance gain in bookmark search.

Improved OpenSearch logic. We've simplified the search interface by collapsing all search functions into a single OpenSearch function. A single search box is displayed on the top of the page. A user can search his/her bookmarks, bookmarks saved by other users, and one or more third-party OpenSearch engines on the Web.

Firefox Browser Search Plugin. Users can add a search plugin to the Firefox or IE 7 browser. They can quickly search bookmarks in gnizr without needing to go to the gnizr main page.

New 'icon' Machine Tag. Users can label bookmarks with colorful icons using a new machine tag called 'gn:icon'. Users can use this machine tag to express their personal opinions about the bookmarks or explicitly describe the kind of media content that is described in the bookmarks. On the "add bookmark" page, we've implemented a Machine Tag Helper UI for adding these 'icon' machine tags.

Upgrading from Gnizr 2.3.0

If you want to try out gnizr 2.4 on the top of your existing gnizr 2.3.0 database, follow these instructions:
  1. Backup your existing database.
  2. Follow the standard upgrade procedures, except that you don't need to upgrade your database. Skip all steps described in the section "Upgrade database tables and stored procedures". Gnizr 2.4.0 M1 runs on the same database schema and store procedure as gnizr 2.3.0.
  3. After copying the gnizr webapp into your Tomcat, edit gnizr-config.xml using these instructions. Note that new configuration parameters have been added in 2.4.0.
  4. Start Tomcat.
  5. Go to you gnizr web application and login as 'gnizr' the super user.
  6. Manually create a search index database for bookmark search. Go to "settings". Under "Administration", click on "Rebuild search index". Follow instructions on the page.
  7. Done.
Questions. Send them to the gnizr discussion group.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Gnizr 2.3.0 Final Release

Gnizr 2.3.0 Final Release is now available for download.

We're happy to announce the final release of gnizr 2.3.0. This marks a major advancement in the design and implementation of an open source social bookmarking and Web 2.0 mashup application. Several new features are introduced in 2.3.0 and many bugs have been fixed since the release of 2.2.0.

We thank those users who have reported issues and given us feedbacks. Without them, the open source gnizr project would not be possible.

Feature Highlights

Using SKOS for Search Term Suggestion

Administrator can define a set of tag relationships to assist the search of bookmarks. Tag relationships are defined using SKOS vocabulary -- narrower, broader and related-to. Read more.

OpenSearch Support

Gnizr users can search bookmarks and other resources on the Web under a unified search interface, which is similar to that of the A9 search engine. Administrator can customize the set of OpenSearch services that are available to gnizr users. Read more.

Improved User Interface

We try hard to improve gnizr user experience. In this release, we made an effort to improve tag relationship management, tag suggestion and auto-complete, machine tag helper, and gnizr bookmarklet.

What's Next (gnizr 2.4.0)

We've started the development of the next generation of gnizr. Couple major features are under development:
  • Integrate Apache Lucene search
  • Search gnizr via Firefox search plugin
  • New machine tags for describing bookmark content (video, photo, audio etc.)

We expect to release gnizr 2.4.0 Milestone 1 in the next couple weeks.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Gnizr 2.3.0 Release Candidate 2

Gnizr 2.3.0 Release Candidate 2 is now available for download.

This should be the last candidate release of 2.3.0. Unless there are reports of major code bugs, we will finalize the release of 2.3.0 in couple weeks.

In this RC release, we fixed couple bugs. One of which is related to running RSS robot. We discovered that the Java thread that runs the robot is not properly terminated when the hosting Servelet Container is shutdown. Fixes have been added to the code. If you use 2.3.0 RC2 and still experience "dangling" threads when your Servlet Container is shutdown., please let us know.

We also updated Java API documentation and a Wiki page that describes the implementation of gnizr User Authentication. We will continue to improve our developer documentations.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Gnizr 2.3.0 RC 1 Build Failure

A developer reported to us that he is unable to build gnizr 2.3.0 RC1 after checking out the source from the SVN. We looked into the problem and discovered that the problem is caused by JUnit test failures in building the gnizr-robot package.

This problem has been reported to the bug tracking system: issue 46.

We will fix this problem in the upcoming gnizr 2.3.0 RC2 release. For now, if you are building RC1 from the source, use 'mvn -Dmaven.test.skip=true install' to skip all JUnit tests.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Gnizr Dev Server Down for Maintenance

Couple developers wrote us about not being able to access gnizr public Maven repository and the Javadoc page on Our server is down due to a network upgrade. The site will be back online in the next couple days.

We apologize for the inconvenience.

UPDATE (March 4, 2008): the server is now back online.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Gnizr 2.3.0 Release Candidate 1

Gnizr 2.3.0 Release Candidate 1 is now available for download.

We Need Your Feedback

As we march forward with the new gnizr 2.4 development, we want to hear from you on how you have used gnizr. We have few choices in prioritizing our next milestone objectives. Your feedbacks and comments will help us to define our development goals.
  • What do you use gnizr for (e.g. sharing bookmarks with friends or co-workers)?
  • What features do you like the most in gnizr?
  • What features do you use the most in gnizr?
  • What features do you think we should improve in the next release?
  • Do you have a Wish List for gnizr?
You can send in your comments to our public user group or email to Harry Chen privately.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Gnizr 2.3.0 Milestone 4

Gnizr 2.3.0 Milestone 4 release is now available for download.
This is the last milestone release before we begin our Release Candidate releases.

Notes: if you use bookmarklet to save bookmarks, please help us to test the new bug fixes related to the bookmarklet usage (see changelog). Make sure you delete your existing bookmarklet in the browser and save it again by following the link in the gnizr webapp's HELP page.