@KillerWhale’s discovery of a Chrome extension to save webpages as single HTML files is very interesting.
I have thousands of PDFs… and I hate them all. The idea that so many key resources in the world are skeuomorphically archived—that everything needs to emulate paper—just seems like such a missed opportunity.
Sure, you can do some fancy things in PDFs. They can be a little interactive. You can add annotations. You can even sign forms with little vector signatures (whatever excites the lawyers, I guess!
Ultimately, though, the format limits what’s possible. Annotations, for instance, are literal digital sticky notes or highlights, stuck to the document as if you’d put them in a piece of paper and stuffed them in a filing cabinet. The best options we have for interacting with PDF annotations either extract them and make them into something more robust for use (e.g., Skim, DEVONthink, Highlights) or add a database layer (e.g., MarginNote, LiquidText) to PDFs.
HTML, on the other hand, is incredibly flexible and powerful, made for the machines we’re using to view them. I’ve long wondered why there isn’t a better ecosystem out there taking advantage of HTML as an offline reference/resource format.
I’m hoping SingleFile is a sign of things to come. So I’m asking the MPU hive mind: what are the best resources out there to manage and annotate HTML-based resources? What would you hope to see in such an ecosystem? Will I ever escape PDFs?
(There are some other signs of an ecosystem emerging. Hypothes.is and Memex and Readwise seem to be doing more with non-PDF references these days. Still, they mostly seem to be taking a database approach. I have yet to use these services, though, but I’m curious what others’ experiences with them have been.)