Rolling my own Read It Later solution

After using Pocket (originally called Read It Later) and the self-hostable free software Wallabag, I started wondering if this problem of archiving web pages to read later can be solved without having to use a web application.

Pocket Wallabag
Pocket Logo Wallabag Logo

Essentially, what I need is a way of saving the entire content of a web page for offline reading and maintain a list of such items. Also, I’d like the files to be available on multiple devices.

Why not Syncthing meme

My go-to solution for making things available on multiple devices is Syncthing. Syncthing is a file synchronization solution that allows synchronizing the files in one directory across multiple devices (a lot like rsync). Now the problem boils down to saving web pages as files.

Most browsers allow you to save webpages. But webpages saved thus are not a single file, but a HTML file and a folder containing images, CSS files and other assets. There’s fortunately a Firefox addon called SingleFile which does exactly this. It allows you to save a webpage as a single HTML file by embedding the CSS, fonts, images etc. (Printing to PDF is another option, but I’m not a big fan of PDF files.)

SingleFile Syncthing
SingleFile logo Syncthing logo

Firefox allows you to configure custom shortcuts for each extension. My preferred shortcut for saving a page for offline reading is Alt+C. You can also click on the SingleFile icon to save the current page.

SingleFile addon shortcut

SingleFile doesn’t provide an option to set the download directory but saves the file to the default download directory of the browser. I don’t use the default download directory anyway, so I set it to ~/Sync/to-read (~/Sync is the default directory synced by Syncthing). For other downloads, Firefox asks me where to save each download.

Firefox default download location

In the file manager, simply sort by “Last Modified” to see the latest saved items.

Sorting by last modified

You can now read your pages completely offline - a feature which most read-it-later services cannot boast of!



Thanks to for suggesting the SingleFile addon.