Read It Later 2.0 Beta

Update: Now up to beta 4, download link updated below.

Today I’m releasing a beta preview of the upcoming Firefox extension’s 2.0 release.  This release is meant for adventurous users who would like to take part in testing new features that will be coming to the app in the near future.

Read It Later 2.0 will be a rehaul of the entire service from ground up.  This includes the Firefox extension, iPhone app, and website.  Outside of a few choice features that will find their way into the app over the next coming weeks, Read It Later’s core feature set is very close to where I want it to be.  The focus is now making it better, cleaner, and faster.

This beta is the first step towards 2.0.

Some Notable Changes

  • List no longer stored in bookmarks – Your reading list will no longer be stored in Firefox’s bookmarks.  This was originally implemented before RIL provided it’s own syncing so that people could use Xmarks (formally Foxmarks).  However, after RIL implemented syncing, using the Firefox bookmarks as it’s storage system has been the source of almost 90% of the reported issues.  Including ironically of which, incompatibility with Xmarks.  RIL 2.0 saves your list in its own storage system, tucked away from other extensions that could cause incompatibility.
  • Text View – If you use the iPhone app, the text view will be familiar to you.  Now with one click you can switch any web page to a clean text only version that makes for consistent, easy reading.
  • Greatly Improved Offline Reading – The offline reading mode is faster, runs in the background, and downloads web pages more accurately.  It works very well right now but will get much better in the next beta or two.  If you find a page that does not download accurately, please report it.
  • Simplified Interface – Read It Later offers a lot of really powerful features: a number of flexible ways to save and to read your list.  But displaying all of these quickly clutters an interface.  The new goal of RIL will be to still offer all of the powerful features but have them be tucked away until just the moment you need them.
  • Better Tagging Support – It is now much easier to add tags to your items.  You can even view a tag directory to quickly find a set of pages you saved on a particular topic.
  • Scroll Position Saving – Read It Later now remembers where you left off on every article.  In 2.0 this will be synced to the entire service so you’ll be able to start an article at home and pick up where you left off on your phone or at work.  You can even view all your currently ‘open’ items and your progress in each one.  This is great for pruning your list.
  • Faster Syncing – Changes you make in the Firefox extension will be synced immediately to the server (instead of the previous 1 minute delay).
  • Built in Archive – You can access your recently read items directly from inside the app, view them, or re-add them to your list.

What’s Coming Soon

  • Better Design – You will notice that beta 1 is rough around the edges.  Icons clash, colors mismatch, etc.  Consider what you see now placeholders, I have a new design that I’ll be layering in very soon.  On this same note, I have not done any testing with themes, so if you use a non-standard theme it may make RIL display incorrectly.
  • And more… this is just the start, we’ll see a lot more dropped in soon!

How to Help

Report an errors/quirks you run into.  If something goes wrong: In the top Firefox menu go to Tools -> Error Console -> Errors tab.  Every error from every extension and website go into this list so you might have to scroll down to the bottom, but if anything shows up in there that looks relevant, right click it, copy and paste it to me here.

How to Get It

  1. Please read the notes above.  It will be difficult to downgrade back to 0.9 if you go to 2.0.
  2. Save this file to your computer
  3. From the Firefox menu select File -> Open File
  4. Browse to the saved file and open it