Using Touch Recorder to Archive My Android Bookmarks!

The browser app that I've been using for a while (Brave), has a tiny little can't export bookmarks to a file. So I bring out my inner bodge-neer to come up with a solution...

I've accumilated over 1100 bookmarks over the two years or so that my phone has been stable for (not re-imaged or reset). On desktop browsers there's usually an option to export your bookmarks as a JSON or HTML file for backup or for moving to another browser. Brave actually has this on the desktop, however they've neglected to add such a feature to their mobile client. Seems like they won't be working on it either [1].

In hindsight, it was stupid of me to store bookmarks on my phone, but I was younger, more naive at the time. Indeed I tried Brave Sync, however it has issues on desktop Linux, and I don't have any personal machines running Win/Mac to test it.

So instead I remembered the days of using programs on Windows to automate mouse clicking (not sure which ones in particular, was a while ago) and thought "there must be some way to automate screen presses". There is! Actually quite a lot of different apps.

I downloaded a few and the last one, Touch Recorder, did the job just fine. Supposedly it comes with a 24h trial, so I'll only be using it for a few hours before finishing with mobile browsing on a regular basis. To make bookmarks easier to use across my machines, I set a local git repo that can be synced between my computers.

The automated macro (see in action here) saves approximately 4.65 bookmarks per minute (unfortunately going through the notion is slow due to the script needing enough time for the bookmark URL to be fully selected). Manually, I could do about 3 bookmarks per minute and that's if I don't make mistakes. Even if it was slower, the fact I can leave to alone is worth it. Occasionally the script sekuence breaks because longer links take longer to select, however the failure rate is low enough that I don't care too much.

It's a very hacky way of solving my issue, but it works. Whether such a principle is good or not is a matter of debate. For a one-off problem, a bespoke and hacky solution is more than acceptable. Bigger problems come when such a solution is taken and used further. The engineer/programmer/technician/etc. needs to know when a problem happens once or is reaccuring. After that a proper course of action can be taken. A better solution for Brave users in general would have been to study the source or reverse engineer the bookmarks format and write a converter script to generate a plaintext file. However, I won't be using the app anymore, and any sites I like to save, I'll now add to my Buku database (as of June 2021) [2]. There's a nice XKCD comic that shows the effort vs time saved for implementing an automated solution [3]. I want to be less dependent on my smartphone anyway, and getting my bookmarks out was one of the last tasks I needed to do for that.


  1. Bookmark import/export on Android #6378
  2. My blog post on using Buku to store bookmarks.
  3. XKCD #1205 "Is It Worth The Time?"