When it comes online content, I’m sort of a digital hoarder. I bookmark and save a lot of articles and PDFs to review later for various purposes.
Though I wish there were an all-in-one solution for my bookmarking needs, I can’t get by with one solution. I don’t like saving all my online content into one application, because that tends to clutter the application, and it makes harder to find what I've saved.
My most frequently accessed websites and pages reside in Safari Bookmarks, which is pretty much a given. But I use other applications to better categorize, annotate, and manage bookmarked content that I don’t access on a regular basis.
Here are the five bookmark managers I use, and why and how I use them.
Safari Reader List
First off there’s the Safari Reader List. Because Safari is cross platformed on all my devices, there’s no problem accessing these saved pages. I typically send pages to the Reader when I want to view them later on my iPad, where I do the bulk of my long-form reading and browsing.
Also what’s great about the Reader is that I can use a BetterTouchTool Three-finger Swipe Left to send the current URL to the Reader. This works perfectly because my hand is always my Trackpad when I’m browsing webpages. By using a BTT finger gesture I don’t have to move my hand back to the keyboard just to save a webpage, nor do I use to drag my cursor to designated menu item to save a page to the Reader.
I use Feedly for accessing all my RSS feeds, and for saving articles that I might review later. Though I know there are other RSS feed and bookmark managers out there, I like the design and ease of use of Feedly, and I like that there’s no advertising for a premium account.
I mostly review my feeds in Feedly on my iPad and iPhone, and I have a long list of Feedly boards (folders) that I use for bookmarking selected articles from my feeds.
Feedly includes integration with Evernote, OneNote, Pocket, Dropbox, and you can share out articles to social network sites like Twitter and Hootsuite. There’s also IFTTT and Buffer support.
Feedly includes a built-in highlighter, but because the full version of many articles don’t fully open in Feedly, it means that the Feedly highlighter can’t always be used. Plus, Feedly doesn’t provide a way to organize annotated articles, as can be done in two annotation applications, LINER and ReaderView, which I review later in this article.
There’s also an advanced navigation feature called Leo, which is an AI feature that examines what topics you review the most and then uses that information to better present your feed content. Leo requires a Pro+ business plan, so I haven’t tried it yet to see how good it is.
What I don’t like about Feedly is the hefty annual subscription price for an application and service that could use a few more automation features. For example, Feedly doesn’t provide a feature for automatically saving articles based on keywords to specified boards. You have to that manually save articles to your boards, which I think is a serious waste of time.
Feedly could at least suggest a boards to save an article to based on the article’s keywords; or even better, based on rules I set up for saving articles to specified boards. I think Pocket has a feature like this. I have few dozen boards, so when I need to save an article to one of them, I have to scroll down and locate the folder and then tap the save button. As you can see in short video demo below, I’ve configured the titles of some of my most used boards so that they appear above the boards I access less regularly.
I’m not sure how difficult it is to create such an automation, but it sure would make the annual $65 fee worth it. (Note: the basic subscription price has gone up to $72/year, but I’m grandfathered in at $65.)
Also, they really need to invest some time in recreating a Safari extension. I understand that Apple has made it more difficult to develop web browser extensions, but unless I want to use Chrome and Firefox, there’s no way to bookmark articles to Feedly from within Safari without navigating to my Feedly account and manually saving article there. That involves way too many steps.
Anywoo, I still like Feedly for helping me keep and manage my RSS feeds.
By the way, if you’re a Feedly user, you can subscribe to the MacAutomationTips RSS feed and get no tifications when new articles are posted (I know…I know, I don’t publish weekly, but hey…at least I don’t bug you a lot with daily content.)
Next to the Safari Reader, Raindrop is my favorite bookmark manager. Raindrop is well designed and visually oriented, which makes it easier to browse saved content.
There’s a free and paid version of Raindrop, but after using the free version for a couple of years, I felt that I needed to support the developer because the application doesn’t push ads onto its users.
I started off using Raindrop for just blogging related content, but since it allows for creating separate collections, folders, and sub-folders, I now use it for other content topics. Raindrop makes it easy to fold parts of the sidebar hierarchy to reduce clutter when bookmarking, searching, or saving articles.
Apple has made it really difficult for developers to create extensions for Safari, so I appreciate Raindrop maintaining that tool.
Price: Free, $3/month
One of my Twitter contacts and MAT subscribers hipped me to an Alfred workflow for Raindrop that allows for searching my Raindrop library, as well as bookmarking content via Alfred.
The code and building blocks of the workflow (see the second image above) are mind blowing. I wish had the time and skills to create such complicated workflows in Alfred. Thanks to the developer, Andreas Westerlind, for making it available for download.
I also use the web-based app, Bookmark OS for saving bookmarks that are not as important to me, but I want a place to access the content when needed.
Bookmark OS is not well designed, but it allows you to use a bookmarklet to quickly save an article to your account. And similar to Raindrop, you can view your saved webpages into thumbnail view.
Price: Free, $12/year
Liner and ReaderView
I’ve always found it helpful, to highlight and even annotate some articles as I write, especially if I think I will later review those articles for any particular purposes.
ReaderView ($2.99 in the App Store) is an iOS only application that allows you to highlight nearly any online article on the Internet. You basically open the article in ReaderView using its iOS share extension. It opens in read-only view, and you can then use four different color highlighters and a notes feature.
Whats nice about ReaderView is that you can simply drag your finger across a passage text, and it will automatically highlight it. You don’t have to drag and then tap again to make the highlight as you have to do in LINER. You can tap the highlighted text to change it color or to add a note.
ReaderView saves all your highlighted articles to your account, where you manage them into folders. ReaderView is a simple to use highlighter, but it’s limited to iOS devices only. The big drawback to ReaderView is that there’s no online Mac or web browser version for the app, as there is for LINER.
LINER does basically the same thing as ReaderView, but it provides web browser client and few more color options. I also particularly like how its displays bookmarked articles with a thumbnail of the feature image. You can also view your LINER bookmarked articles and highlights in Safari, Chrome, and Firefox web browsers. LINER also has a Safari web extension for highlighting and bookmarking articles on your Mac.
A subscription to LINER though is a whopping $119.88 per year. However, they do offer a 60-70% discount for the first year. But after that first year, the cost reverts to the higher gargantuan price.
I’ve yet to sign up for the pro version of LINER, though they constantly send and post discounts. I’ve started using it quite frequently, which means that I often encounter the free limitations which make me want to pony up the subscription fee.
I guess I could get by with using ReaderView, but LINER is the app I prefer.
I’ve tried other bookmark options, including Pocket, Instapaper, Evernote, Notions and Diigo, but for different reasons they don’t jive with my workflow.
By the way, a related bookmarking Mac application you might be interested in is History Hound, which I reviewed here.
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