The Read-It-Later dilemma

DTTG could be a great app to save and work with web articles on the go. I often found some interesting articles while reading through my Feed-Reader (which could also be used within DTTG, but there are many core features missing at the moment) which I want to save and read later when I got time for that.

It would help a lot if I could save those articles direct to DTTG and work with it, but the current workflow forces me to use an Read-it-later app like instapaper.

My goal is to save the website clutterfree and could mark, annotate and maybe add notes to the page afterwards with DTTG. I think this is some kind of standard workflow for working with websites.

  1. Save webpages to DTTG

While using Safari as my main browser I can clip a webpage with the sharing feature to DTTG as

a.) bookmark
b.) webarchive
c.) webarchive (clutterfree)
d.) markdown
e.) markdown (clutterfree)

Unfortunately changing the share format to PDF or Reader PDF disables DTTG as a sharing option. This could be a huge improvement if this works. Safari provides websites as a Reader PDF by itself. But this is not possible at the moment and I have to choose between the five formats mentioned above.

a.) Saving a webpage as bookmark is not an option for reading and works for my only as some form of reminder. Furthermore within DTTG you could not realy work with webpages loaded directly from URLs.

b. + c.) Webarchive could be the solution but only the clutterfree version. This works great for me and the articles appears clean in my inbox.
From this point on it could be really simple, but it isn’t. Unlike DT3 DTTG does not include any editing options for webarchive. With DT3 the user can mark some text and make it bold. Unfortunately DTTG did not allow that.

d. + e.) Markdown did not work well for me. Often the webpages looses its structure but I can change text to bold. Highlighting in markdown would be a great feature and maybe even some kind of editor with buttons to format text. Working with markdown in DTTG is a bit complicated at the moment.

f.) Sharing the website with workflow script, which saves the clutterfree website as a PDF to import it to DTTG is maybe a nice workaroung but with iOS 14 there seems to be some serious bugs using url-commands. If they were fixed this could be a nice option.

  1. Converting saved webpages

If I could not save the webpages like I wanted to, maybe I could convert the page an work on. Using the internal convert function of DTTG there are five options:

a.) formatted note
b.) bookmark
c.) markdown
d.) RTF text
e.) text

b.) Is not realy an improvement and c.) to e.) got the some drawbacks I mentioned earlier for markdown and the structure.

So there is a.) which could be a nice alternative. Converting to a formatted note sometimes won’t work good with webpages, but overall it is ok. But besides the possibility to make some text bold after entering the edit mode there is not realy an advantage with that format. I dont know why formatted notes could be highlighted with DT3 but not in DTTG.

I think the only way to realy “work” with text and webpages are PDF formatted clutterfree saved webpages at the moments. DTTG could nice highlight a PDF without always using edit mde and could some more nice features for annotating PDF files.

A conversion to PDF is not possible within DTTG at the moment.

  1. Workarounds

a.) Use a Read-It-Late app to read and work with the article and export the highlights to DTTG.

b.) Try to print a webpage in Reader view and share the shown PDF to DTTG from the printing dialog.

c.) Save webpages in DTTG and convert to PDF with DT3.

None of this workarounds is a sweetspot and I hope there is any better workflow in the near future.

  1. Dream workflow

If I could write a wishlist I would prefer the following workflow:

a.) Save webpages clutterfree as PDF files directly to DTTG. This offers me the decision to directly work with the text in DTTG or only store it somewhere for later maybe. As Safari already offers the “Reader PDF” I think this could be the easiest way to rely on Safaris included feature.

b.) If I want to work with the text I could highlight it and afterwards export the annotations like with DT3 as a formatted note.

c.) The formatted note of my highlights allows me to again highlight (like in DT3), make some text bold (best without I have to enter edit mode) or even add new text into.

For now I go with Instapaper.