Science and technology

Revisiting wallabag, an open supply different to Instapaper

Back in 2014, I wrote about wallabag, an open supply different to read-it-later functions like Instapaper and Pocket. Go check out that article if you wish to. Don’t fear, I will watch for you.

Done? Great!

In the 4 years since I wrote that article, rather a lot about wallabag has modified. It’s time to take a peek to see how wallabag has matured.

What’s new

The greatest change occurred behind the scenes. Wallabag’s developer Nicolas Lœuillet and the mission’s contributors did quite a lot of tinkering with the code, which improved the applying. You see and really feel the modifications wrought by wallabag’s newer codebase each time you employ it.

So what are a few of these modifications? There are quite a few. Here are those I discovered most fascinating and helpful.

Besides making wallabag a bit snappier and extra secure, the applying’s means to import and export content material has improved. You can import articles from Pocket and Instapaper, in addition to articles marked as “To read” in bookmarking service Pinboard. You may also import Firefox and Chrome bookmarks.

You may also export your articles in a number of codecs together with EPUB, MOBI, PDF, and plaintext. You can do this for particular person articles, all of your unread articles, or each article—learn and unread. The model of wallabag that I used 4 years in the past may export to EPUB and PDF, however that export was balky at occasions. Now, these exports are fast and easy.

Annotations and highlighting within the net interface now work significantly better and extra constantly. Admittedly, I do not use them usually—however they do not randomly disappear like they generally did with model 1 of wallabag.

The feel and appear of wallabag have improved, too. That’s because of a brand new theme impressed by Material Design. That may not appear to be a giant deal, however that theme makes wallabag a bit extra visually enticing and makes articles simpler to scan and skim. Yes, children, good UX could make a distinction.

One of the largest modifications was the introduction of a hosted version of wallabag. More than a number of individuals (yours actually included) do not have a server to run net apps and are not solely comfy doing that. When it involves something technical, I’ve 10 thumbs. I do not thoughts paying € 9 (simply over US$ 10 on the time I wrote this) a yr to get a totally working model of the applying that I need not watch over.

What hasn’t modified

Overall, wallabag’s core features are the identical. The up to date codebase, as I discussed above, makes these features run fairly a bit smoother and faster.

Wallabag’s browser extensions do the identical job in the identical means. I’ve discovered that the extensions work a bit higher than they did once I first tried them and when the applying was at model 1.

What’s disappointing

The cell app is nice, nevertheless it’s not nice. It does a very good job of rendering articles and has a number of configuration choices. But you’ll be able to’t spotlight or annotate articles. That mentioned, you should utilize the app to dip into your inventory of archived articles.

While wallabag does an important job amassing articles, there are websites whose content material you’ll be able to’t save to it. I have never run into many such websites, however there have been sufficient for the state of affairs to be annoying. I am unsure how a lot that has to do with wallabag. Rather, I think it has one thing to do with the best way the websites are coded—I bumped into the identical drawback whereas a few proprietary read-it-later instruments.

Wallabag may not be a feature-for-feature alternative for Pocket or Instapaper, nevertheless it does an important job. It has improved noticeably within the 4 years since I first wrote about it. There’s nonetheless room for enchancment, however does what it says on the tin.

Final ideas

Since 2014, wallabag has advanced. It’s gotten higher, little by little and step-by-step. While it may not be a feature-for-feature alternative for the likes of Instapaper and Pocket, wallabag is a worthy open supply different to proprietary read-it-later instruments.

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