Rolling my own Read It Later solution
authorJoseph Nuthalapati <njoseph@riseup.net>
Fri, 18 Sep 2020 19:51:23 +0000 (01:21 +0530)
committerJoseph Nuthalapati <njoseph@riseup.net>
Fri, 18 Sep 2020 19:51:23 +0000 (01:21 +0530)
Signed-off-by: Joseph Nuthalapati <njoseph@riseup.net>
content/posts/read-it-later-solution.md [new file with mode: 0644]
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+---
+title: "Rolling my own Read It Later solution"
+date: 2020-09-18T23:51:09+05:30
+lastmod: 2020-09-18T20:40:09+05:30
+tags : [ "free-software", "Pocket", "Wallabag", "read-it-later", "Syncthing", "SingleFile", "Firefox", "addons" ]
+categories : [ "free-software", "privacy", "archiving" ]
+layout: post
+type:  "post"
+highlight: false
+---
+
+After using Pocket (originally called Read It Later) and the self-hostable free software
+Wallabag, I [started wondering](https://toot.thoughtworks.com/@njoseph_1/104872980794830072) 
+if this problem of archiving web pages to read later can be solved without
+having to use a web application.
+
+Pocket             | Wallabag
+:-------------------------:|:-------------------------:
+![Pocket Logo](/blog/pocket.png) | ![Wallabag Logo](/blog/wallabag.png)
+
+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](/blog/why-not-syncthing.png)
+
+My go-to solution for making things available on multiple devices is [Syncthing](https://syncthing.net/ "Syncthing website").
+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](https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/single-file
+"SingleFile addon") 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](/blog/singlefile.png) | ![Syncthing logo](/blog/syncthing.png)
+
+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](/blog/singlefile-addon-shortcut.png)
+
+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](/blog/firefox-default-download.png)
+
+In the file manager, simply sort by "Last Modified" to see the latest saved items. 
+
+![Sorting by last modified](/blog/last-modified.png)
+
+You can now read your pages completely offline - a feature which most
+read-it-later services cannot boast of!
+
+## Caveats
+
+* Browser performance might suffer when loading large pages saved by SingleFile.
+  Printing to PDF might be a better option in this case.
+* Firefox Reader View might not work on a saved page even if it had worked on the original page.
+
+## Acknowledgements
+
+Thanks to [@mathew@mastodon.social](https://mastodon.social/@mathew "Mathew's profile on mastodon.social") for suggesting the SingleFile addon.
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