In my last post I talked about about reading, and two of the tools I use to keep up with it.
One of the biggest problems we have when surfing the Internet, is that when we find something interesting we don’t have the time just then to comfortably read the whole post, and later when we find the time we do not remember where the article was.
We find interesting articles on Twitter, Mastodon or surfing the web, we tend to favorite them in order to later return to them, the problem is they are spread in different services. For those of you with enough years on your bag, it is easy to remember the old days, when the browser bookmark was enough, that was possible because there was just one door to the Internet, it was the home PC with Netscape installed on it.
Those days are gone, and with so many devices, so many services is hard to bookmark what we want to read later.
Over the time different services became available, some of the are now extinct:
Those are just some examples, but just like Google killed a lot of services, other companies do the same, sometimes without giving the users the option to get their data out of the falling plane before it crashes.
Once again a good solution is to host your own service, fortunately you do not need to write it your own as there is a great open source alternative.
A little of history
In April 2013 Nicolas Lœuillet, created Poche (Pocket in French) because he was afraid of Pocket being shut down just like a lot of other services, in few months his side project, intended for personal use at first attracted a lot of attention and lots of downloads, so much attention that the creator of Pocket asked him to stop using Poche name, that way, in January 2014 the name changed to Wallabag. It was named that way after the Wallaby bag.
Wallabag is based on PHP and works with MySQL, PostrgreSQL or SQLite, this is great, as you can host it on shared hosting providers, or your VPS. Most people prefer to build new Apps using Go, Ruby On Rails, and other modern software, the problem is that if you want to host them, you need a VPS
Wallabag features are basic, it allows you to save files for reading, and tag them, it also keeps a record of your read and unread articles.
Moving to Wallabag
If you are using Pocket or any other service, you can move to Wallabag, and in order to use Wallabag you have two main options, one is to use its hosted service, and the other one is to install it for yourself, there are really good instructions to install Wallabag on Ubuntu with SQLite database, it defaults to MySQL, but I think it is not needed, at least no, for personal use.
I have personally installed the docker image, using docker-composer, and modifying a little the official file to use SQLite instead of MySQL, here it is in case some of you want to test it.
version: '3' services: wallabag: image: wallabag/wallabag environment: - SYMFONY__ENV__MAILER_HOST=smtp.mailgun.org:465 - SYMFONY__ENV__MAILER_USER=user@site - SYMFONY__ENV__MAILER_PASSWORD=somepassword - SYMFONY__ENV__FROM_EMAIL=user@site - SYMFONY__ENV__DOMAIN_NAME=https://wallabag.your.domain - SYMFONY__ENV__REDIS_HOST=172.17.0.1 - SYMFONY__ENV__FOSUSER_REGISTRATION=false ports: - "8383:80" volumes: - /opt/wallabag/images:/var/www/wallabag/web/assets/images - /opt/wallabag/data:/var/www/wallabag/data
Because I have installed on the server where I had my Mastodon instance, (which is now on its own server because of this), I already had redis installed on it, so I just configured redis to listen on the docker ip and not only on the 127.0.0.1.
I am using Nginx in front of it as reverse proxy, you can choose Caddy if your want (I have not test it, but heard some good things about it)
Web interface and Apps
The web interface is the best for me, I am actually using it instead of the apps both on Android and iOS,
It is easy to add new articles to read, when you are on the PC, you can tag articles to organize them, and save them as reference.
Android and iOS Apps
As I mentioned, I prefer the web interface over the apps, but you would better install the apps in order to enable the share option both on iOS and Android, as copy and paste links is not that easy on mobile devices as it is on a PC.
See the view on an Android cell phone
And on the iPad
And here is the reading view on Android
One nice advantage of the mobile interface is that it allows you to read while off-line, so, it is a good idea to load some articles before a long plane trip.
Wallabag is a mature project that I have just discovered, I have used Pocket, delicious, and Instapaper in the past, now I am using Wallabag.
It is not full of features, it just does what it needs to do, store articles for reading, while letting you tag and organize them. For me that is enough, and at the same time it goes easy on the server, even as a docker app how I am running it.
If you have not test it before or are not using it, give it a change, you can get 14 days trail here