"Read It Later" system in DT

Another year, another review of my collection buckets, another wistful hope that Devonthink can do everything.

With that in mind, has anyone developed a DT “read later” system that they are happy with? By which I mean: collect articles clipped from the web, RSS and the occasional email; annotate the interesting stuff; and file the annotations (linked to their source) in DT?

At the moment everything I annotate ends up in DT, but I collect it in Feedbin/Reeder and Matter.app for processing first. These are excellent apps, but I’d happily abandon them for a start-to-finish pipeline in DT. It’s technically sort-of possible, but the read-and-annotate experience is just not as friendly as it is with Reeder and Matter. (Readwise Reader is just a bit much ATM, and it mauls certain RSS feeds.) Maybe I’m missing something? I’d be delighted to hear from anyone who does it all in DT, and likes it.

(While typing this the suggestions box adjacent reminded me that I’m not alone here. I think this topic has already been thrashed through, but I’ll leave this post as a nudge to the devs. Building a beautiful, practical cross-device read-it-later pipeline should be a natural fit for DT.)

What exactly would you like to get improved in this regard?

What I do with the Feeds read inside DT is to convert the wanted one into PDF, and then move into my scrapbooks database, and then annotate the PDF.

For my “read-later” habits …

I rely on Reeder to read/scan “a lot–more than a few hundred, probably” of RSS feeds. And for most of the items that I wish to capture into DEVONthink, the “share” to DEVONthink is reliable and just works. Reeder and DEVONthink are just two windows in the Mac, just like two windows might be in DEVONthink.

For a very few RSS feeds that often (or better said “habitually”) capture into DEVONthink, I have a DEVONthink database called “RSS” where I subscribe to those few I read there and then hit ctrl-cmd-m and move it into the relevant DEVONthink database. Yes, I could do some automation here somehow or another, but all that would do is capture more stuff that I probably will never use. I try to push back against my pack-rat tendencies.

Finally, stuff that I push into the read-later queue, sometimes it never gets read. Thus I pretty much an sold on the idea that I don’t really need DEVONthink to add features I already do and probably don’t need that much anyway.

I’m sort of the same as @rmschne i think, and I wouldn’t really want DT to do what you seem to be after.

Reeder (another fan here) is a stream of content. It’s content I’ve chosen because I like the source, but it doesn’t mean I like or read every article that is in it. In the same way, I don’t need to permanently save every email that comes into my inbox. In both cases their job is to gather high volume mostly low value stuff together in one place.

I skim Reeder (and my email :grimacing:) and if something is interesting/important, then it gets “promoted” to my other apps. Stuff that has made it into DT (and Reader - I use that too) has been pre-vetted by me. And now I’m ready to consume it properly.

For me, I use the Ghostbusters motto: “Don’t cross the streams!” Having stuff that hasn’t been screened in either app would make their overall value less to me.

I think there’s psychological value too. I open Reeder with a different mindset to opening DTTG (I read and annotate on my iPad). If I’m opening DTTG, I’m here to read something properly or closely. If I’m opening Reeder, I’m probably watching tv and moving things that I want to read properly later, and occasionally skimming stuff that seems interesting but not worth much time on. The two activities are different.


Agreed that Reeder is a terrific app - I’ve used it daily for years. However, I could see value in having all my RSS feeds live and die (most items die, of course) in DevonThink, along with clipped web pages, PDFs etc.

@cgrunenberg : the virtue of read-it-later apps like Matter is that they present all incoming content in the same easy-to-read format, and make it easy to highlight text using that same interface. I suppose my hope for DT is that I could direct all content I’m interested in, regardless of whether the source is RSS or web article, into a central pool that allows me to review and highlight material using a single cleaned-up, text-first, easily-read and highlighted format. And then have annotations automatically listed in a markdown file …
I could probably pull the mechanics of this process together, but its the single reader-friendly interface I’m after. Just hand-waving here, but maybe it would be a case of having a special ‘read later’ folder (DT’s Reading List?) that transforms all web-sourced content fed to it in a special reader-friendly format (PDFs are different), and automatically files annotations of that content in another associated folder.
Perhaps this is already possible, and I haven’t investigated closely enough …

I use NetNewsWire as an RSS reader. Super fast and the sync with phone and desktop means I can chose either to whip through all my feeds.
I experimented with DTs RSS feed but it was too one too many things in one place.
I already use DT for a wide variety of things so it has “associations” in my mind as a work and knowledge base and I can context switch pretty easily for most of those things.
But I found I would rather use NNW and save things from there into my DT Scrapbook database if they rise to the level of being that interesting and saveable. My annotation needs are low though.

You don’t mention you tried anything in DEVONthink.

Perhaps start by reading the section “RSS” in the outstanding “DEVONthink Manual”, page 173 in the 3.8.7 version.

This is what I use for a small selection of RSS sites (see my comments above).

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I have tried Devonthink’s RSS function several times in the past. It’s never been as pleasant as routing RSS through Reeder. I’ll take another look.

Yes. That is why I use Reeder and use DEVONthink for only those feeds I habitually put into DEVONthink.

For DEVON Technologies to invest a lot to copy something like Reeder which also is in use by many seems risky and perhaps not worth it.

I feel that DT already provides most of the functions for the user to put together a functional RSS reading system (although I’d like the ability to subscribe to RSS through Feedbin, which I’ve been using for years). I think the wish I expressed at the beginning of this thread really boils down to having a high-grade text parser that can present RSS and content clipped from the web in a pleasingly readable format that can be annotated. And a system for collecting annotations, which is already there on the desktop.

The big hurdle to this pipedream is iOS. On mobile, without smart folders or Applescript, something would have to be built from scratch. And that something would need to be as good as Reeder …

clipped from the web in a pleasingly readable format that can be annotated.

Like what… PDF?

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I use DT as my only RSS reader as the benefits of a one stop shop outweigh the beauty of stand alone RSS readers I have tried before (feature wise I am not missing anything in DT’s RSS reader implementation, on the contrary smart rules give me great filtering / pre-processing options). this also simplifies my read it later process with shorter keyboard commands and / or mouse movements to file articles I want to keep.

what I am missing is the no longer working twitter integration, which (although pre-dating my usage of DT) would have simplified my process similarily with RSS & twitter being my main information sources. increasingly mastodon is replacing my twitter feed, so maybe a mastodon import / reading integration would be an option for implementation?! just a thought for a feature request…:wink:

edit: I maybe forgot the main point: obviously my read it later process is implemented within DT.

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A PDF would carry too much overhead for something like a short RSS feed, 98% of which I discard.

Then what format are you suggesting?

Whatever Matter/Instapaper/Pocket use … I don’t know what format these read-it-later services are presented in, just that they strip down content to essential text (and sometimes images) and style it for maximum readability. What happens in the backend is beyond my limited understanding of how these things work.