Matt Birchler’s latest post is a hammer to my nail:

So what do I look for in a new service? The Mac diehards will kill me, but I look for things that are a web-service first and foremost. I want to make sure that no matter what device I’m on, and no matter what account I’m logged into, I can get to my stuff. Inoreader is a good example of this, as it lets me view, read, and manage my RSS feeds in a competent web app on Windows, but it has an open API which developers can use to integrate the service into native apps.

I’m using GoodLinks myself for read-it-later right now, but this is far from an ideal workflow. Should I run into an article I want to read later on any of the iPhone, iPad, or Mac, GoodLinks is great. If I find an article on my work PC — which is 90% of the articles I find these days — I have this convoluted work-around:

  1. Using a Chrome extension, save the URL to Link Drop, a service that compiles all your URLs clipped in a day and sends you an email with the list at the end of the working day.
  2. From the email in HEY on iPad, tap and drag each individual URL into GoodLinks to save later.

Should one of the links be required to save for later in Bear notes, I’d formerly move that link from the daily Link Drop email into Bear.

This was a long, ugly workflow that I am happy to retire.

On the notes front, everything is going into Roam Research right now. Roam is best accessed in the browser on a Mac or PC, but is also 99% capable in the browser on iPad as well. I’m not reading articles later in Roam by any means, but this at least takes Bear out of the equation.

Read-it-later continues to be one of my most despised workflows. I’ve found nothing that checks all the boxes (web app/service, great reading environment, and a touch of whimsy and delight).

By and large, I’m with Matt here: I likely won’t even entertain (which should be read as “I won’t even download”) an app to my iPhone or iPad that doesn’t have a working web service or web app in the background. I don’t even need Mac support! Windows/Web-app + iPhone + iPad works just fine.

There are one or two exceptions, but having a web app is increasingly fundamental for me.