Looking for offline-first tools

by Ploum on 2021-09-24

As I’m procrastinating aimlessly in my browser, even after blocking the most addictive websites, I realise how much I’m addicted to being online.

The problem is you mostly can’t be productive offline anymore. Everything is online, all the time. I’m thus dreaming of an offline way of living where I could not use my laptop online. All it would do would be synchronisation.

What synchronisation ? Mostly mails, RSS and, yes, web-browsing.

Offline mails

The idea is quite straightforward : download emails once, mark them as to be archived offline, save replies to be send later until the next connection.

That’s exactly what POP3 was doing. IMAP makes this a bit harder and, so far, I’ve yet to found a single mail client that handles it well. I spent far too many times configuring Mutt without ever having a satisfying instance (at least one I could trust).

As I’m trying to receive as few mails as possible, I don’t want to invest to much time in the setup.

The fact that I’m using Protonmail is, of course, making things a lot harder.

RSS and web

Reading RSS offline should be easy, right? But there’s a catch: the infamous truncated feeds. Also, I sometimes want to see the linked content. Last but not least, I want to save some content in Pocket to read it later on my Kobo.

I would gladly replace Pocket by another tool like Wallabag if it could help.

What I think me wust develop is:
- Download rss content
- Download every content linked by articles (depth=1)
- Pool requests for not yet cached content as "to read later"
- Also maintain this "to read later" to synch it later.

Everything in AV-98?

I’m a huge fan of AV-98 and its "tour" feature to browse the gemini sphere.

It mades me think of putting everything in AV-98.

Imagine one second that you start AV-98 and you have a list of "what’s new". This includes unread emails, new RSS articles, new gemlog posts.

By touring through it, you can either: discard/archive,mark as to read later or skip/keep it new.

Then, you have a second tour wich is the "to read later" tour. Same thing: you can archive, mark as new and skip. All of this would happens offline.

As soon as mails enter the dance, you can "quick reply and archive". Everything more complex would happen in a dedicated mail client.

That would means that all of the administrative burden and the procrastination could happen offline until… well, you reach the end of tour.

And you are then forced to get to work.

Instead of writing on your gemlog.

As a writer and an engineer, I like to explore how technology impacts society. You can subscribe by email or by rss. I value privacy and never share your adress.

If you read French, you can support me by buying/sharing/reading my books and subscribing to my newsletter in French or RSS. I also develop Free Software.