In my last post, The Obvious and The Future, I mentioned reworking the Paperback stack to be less tightly coupled. Well, that’s live now and even though it took a while to get there, I’m happy with what I’ve got. I’ve broken apart the pieces in to their own stronger services. From a high-level, Paperback now (mostly) runs off it’s own API, uses a much better and more customizable parser, and the web interface is a client-side web app which makes it snappy quick.
The Goods - Change Log
Interface updates: Tighter looking, less unnecessary buttons, more buttons where you need them. KISS.
Inline editing: As I was iterating the design of the interface, I thought a lot about the article page feeling a lot like text on paper. On paper, you can cross out, erase, write on, and change what’s in front of you with out going in to a “mode.” I wanted to get as close to that as possible. In this new version, you can edit the title and description/notes in place without having to go in to an edit mode.
I also learned that people using Paperback were taking a lot of notes while reading articles. To make this easier, I changed the Tag and Archive modal in to a sheet that–on desktop at least–sits at the bottom of the page when open, making it easy to type out notes while staying out of the way of the article text.
On desktop, bring up the edit sheet by hitting
i (insert mode, like vim), or click the bookmark icon along the left side (at the top and bottom on mobile). Edit mode is still modal on iPhone and iPad because of screen size and annoying bugs in Mobile Safari.
You can add a selection to the notes but selecting text and hitting
t (now just lower case t, unlike the previous version).
Making things a bit easier on mobile: We’re in development of the native version using the stable API. A few small new/better things on mobile:
- Select text will pull up a green button which you can tap to add the selection to notes
- The Edit modal is slightly less annoying
minimul-ui in iOS 7 Mobile Safari to hide the chrome and give you more room to read
Some other cool things/things I’m happy about:
- This might be one of the only infinite scroll web apps I’ve seen that doesn’t lose your position when you navigate back to the list. That was kind of a pain to pull off but is so worth it.
- Articles now lazy load in. When you sync new articles in on the list page (hit the sync button in the bottom or hit
s), if they haven’t already been fetched and parsed, you’ll see the grey bar load in to indicate that it’s ready and show the relative length of the article
- The parser is much more customizable. If there are sites that you see that don’t parse correctly, let me know
A thing I’m not happy about: I had to pull tag typeahead out to get this shipped. I tried several times and just couldn’t get an implementation that I was happy with. This release cycle started stretching out really long and I didn’t want to go longer without an update so decided to ship without it. Sorry. I love that feature and will try to get it back in as soon as possible.
A Good Foundation
The way the web app is built now will enable quicker development of features like easier navigation between articles and sorting/filtering/group articles in something that might look kind of like Smart Folders. The API is the foundation that allows us to build the iOS app and other cool utilities.
Thanks again for using Paperback and hope you like the new bits.