bronwyn lewis

geek, traveler, writer, hacker

I've been using Pocket for awhile to offload my reading list and bookmarks, and while the UI is great, I admit to having my reservations. One particular frustration is that it simply links to anything saved, and doesn't actually save the page (I've encountered more than a few dead links going through my backlog, having lost the content since Pocket didn't really save it). But another concern is... well, I've seen services come and go, and it'd be really nice if I could just handle it myself.

I came across Wallabag in my search for an alternative. It looked like it addressed both of those primary issues I had with Pocket, and after a quick test drive of Wallabag, I decided to spin up my own copy.

You might be able to do this on shared hosting, but I upgraded to a VPS before attempting this (I missed the fact that Dreamhost doesn't allow sudo access on VPS any longer... oh well, I made it work).

You'll want to do this on a subdomain, or at least in an empty directory.

  1. First you'll want to prep your dreamhost server to install Composer. Start with enabling php 5.6 through the control panel, if it's not already enabled

  2. Create your phprc file

    vim /home/USERNAME/DIRECTORY/.php/5.6/phprc
  3. Add the following text to that phprc

    extension =
    suhosin.executor.include.whitelist = phar
  4. Install composer -- quick note here: while Dreamhost's composer installation references an https url, it'll throw an error -- but, switch to http, and it will work.

    curl -sS | php
  5. Following Wallabag's installation instructions, download and install wallabag (I've changed the download location to the ./wallabag directory so that I don't wipe out the existing files in the root of the subdomain:

    composer create-project wallabag/wallabag ./wallabag dev-master
  6. Move the files from ./wallabag to the root of the subdomain .

    mv ./wallabag/* .

Now, at this point, if you're OK with using sqlite, you can actually skip the rest of the wallabag instructions and just load the subdomain. You'll be prompted with an installation GUI, confirming Twig's installation, allowing you to pick a database (sqlite or mysql -- I picked sqlite), and to create a login.

So far I'm digging Wallabag, though the UI admittedly isn't as slick as Pocket. The ability to save copies of the articles, download in epub, and have control over my saved articles, though, is super awesome. I just have some hiccups to iron out with the Android app, and then I'll have fully replaced my use of Pocket.