Paperback blog

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A clean and simple way to read Pinboard articles later.

The Obvious and The Future

I wanted to give a bit of an update on Paperback, now a couple months old.

What I launched initially was a very simple “blank slate” concept and I’ve been listening to how people use it and understanding more about how I myself have been using it to help decide where I want to go with product development.

The Obvious

The only way to get a great reading experience on iPhone and iPad (the device I like reading on the most) is with a native iOS app. Today I loaded up the first development build in the iOS simulator. There’s still a ways to go with it but work is getting done on it.

The Web

The desktop web is an important part for Paperback. Already there are some slick features for power users and people are using Paperback for real research and work at their desks rather than just reading for pleasure.

How They Come Together

I’m re-architecting the technology stack Paperback uses to prepare for the long term of having both a solid app and web site as well as being able to provide the experience I want in both. The gist is that I see both the app and the web as clients talking to an API1. Having the API run separately means that I can reduce the complexity in having to build logic on each side and in the long run hopefully have a more unit testable and bug-free system. If my API is doing the heavier lifting, like parsing and sync logic then I can rely on lighter clients. I’m building out the existing Paperback features (plus some updates for accessing Tagging and Archiving while on touch screens) with a dynamic Javascript framework2 rather than just having my PHP app rendering the views like they are now. My goals with this move is to have a more reactive and quicker interface on the web while getting on to a framework that will allow for more rich features down the road. A bonus with this is it’ll work as a chrome-less webapp on iOS when you save it to you’re home screen but unlike forecast.io, you’ll be able to use it in Safari as well. This will be a bit of a stopgap until the native app is shipping.

I think I have a pretty solid feature set in my head for 1.0 of a universal iOS app but if you’d like, send me some thoughts on what you want to see in it.


  1. Private at least until I see a good reason to make it public. 

  2. Angular, if you’re curious.