We all use web browser bookmarks, or at least I’d be shocked if there are more than a few people who don’t. They just save time and effort, not that this is big news to people reading this article! Imagine having to spend time, every time you wanted to visit a particular website, first going to Google to look up the address. It would take forever! Some websites, obviously, aren’t that hard to remember. Some of the websites I visit most often aren’t actually in my bookmarks, simply because they have short addresses, and I type them so often it would be nearly impossible to forget. Other addresses, especially those that aren’t on the front page of a website, can be longer, hence the use of bookmarks. In this article, I’ll be talking about an extension for Google Chrome called Session Manager.
Why did I spend so much time talking about bookmarks if the extension is called Session Manager? Because Session Manager (or any session manager, actually), is kind of a different type of bookmark. Except, instead of bookmarking a single website, a session manager makes it easy to bookmark your favorite bookmarks in groups, so that you can open them all at once.
Here’s how it works.
Let’s say you have a few favorite websites you go to every time you start up your browser in the morning. You check your Gmail account, your favorite news website, a couple of blogs, and an entertainment gossip page. You could simply click your bookmarks and find each website individually, but wouldn’t it be better if you could make two clicks and have them all open, each in its own tab, all at once? Of course it would be better, or at least it is in my mind.
And that’s how simple the Session Manager extension is to use. I’ll use an example from one of the sessions I have saved. Quite often, I go out in search of news about Ubuntu, or Linux in general. I look for new themes, new programs and news. There are six main websites I go to:
I visit those sites every single day, and usually all in a group. I’ll load one website, open a new tab and load the next. I repeat this until I have loaded all of the websites, at which point I finally go back to look at the first one. This isn’t time consuming, necessarily, but it’s a lot more work than it needs to be. Here’s how I accomplish the same thing with Session Manager installed:
I click on the Session Manager icon.
I choose a session I’ve saved as “Ubuntu Stuff” from the session list.
I wait for all six websites to load in their own tabs.
It’s a lot simpler, much faster, more efficient, and best of all, it’s really simple to create new sessions with Session Manager. There are two different ways to create a session in Session Manager. The first is to open up all those pages you’ll eventually want to have populate your session. Then click the Session Manager icon, choose a name for the new session (near the bottom, in the text field beneath “Save Session”), and click the Save button. It’s that simple! From now on, your new session will appear in your list of sessions. Click “Open” to open the session in a new window, Rename to give the session a new name, and Remove to get rid of a session you no longer want.
There are a lot of uses for a session manager. I find it helpful when I’m writing something with many sources. If I get interrupted or need to walk away (or shut down) my computer in the middle of using those sources, I can quickly create a session, and then later come back to it and pick up right where I left off. When I’m done with the article, or the sources or the session, I can delete it and it’s gone. It’s a lot simpler than creating individual bookmarks for each website, then later going back and removing them one by one. This is a single session containing multiple bookmarks. It’s fast, easy and a big time and energy saver.
Unfortunately, Session Manager isn’t perfect. One feature I’d love to see is the ability to modify an existing session. Maybe I realize I don’t need one of the websites I’ve saved as part of the session, or that I need to add a couple additional websites. Sure, I could open the session so all the sites are loaded, close any tabs I no longer want in the session, add any additions, delete the original session from my session list and then (finally!), create a new session, but that’s kind of complicated. Better by far to be able to modify an existing session.
Still, of all the session managers I’ve tried out, this is by far the simplest. But it could be better. One main issue is the one mentioned above, but additional features that would be a great addition would be the ability to synchronize my sessions across different browsers. It could use my Google account, either writing my sessions to Google Docs or the Google Chrome synchronization abilities built into the browser itself to accomplish this. The other big issue is that if I have multiple windows open when creating a session, Session Manager remembers everything. I’d love – when creating the session – to be able to exclude other pages, or even certain tabs, as well as having the option to simply type in a few Web addresses and creating a session from that (without having to load the pages first). Still, as I said, Session Manager is very easy to use. I just feel that it hasn’t quite gone far enough to truly be great.