Wallabag gets an upgrade

by Hostmaster


Wallabag Wallabag is an application which allows you to save and classify Web articles so that you can read them later. You can add annotations and tags to the articles you save as well. It’s interesting to backup full articles rather than just bookmark them because many times Web articles have a limited lifespan as a public page. It’s not unusual to see articles being archived with limited access (ex: newspaper), or sometimes the whole website may also disappear altogether. Wallabag avoids such shortcomings by saving the full article. Wallabag also comes with annotation features, tagging, and the possibility to export articles to a number of open formats (CSV, EPUB, JSON, etc.).

A wallaby well-connected

Want to save this interesting article about the answer to life, the universe and everything? All you need is to click on your Wallabag browser-plugin button (available on Firefox and Chromium) and it’s saved on your account. A quick synchronisation with your smartphone will even make it possible to read it later while travelling on the tube!

The official website for Wallabag contains all the links to the browser extensions and smartphone applications. For Android, the application is also available on F-Droid (though not for the latest version at the time of writing).

So what’s new?

At Nomagic we initially used the Docker version of wallabag, as part of our Docker experiment. Using Docker is a quick and easy way to deploy an application using operating system-level virtualisation. Using docker-composer, you can get an ensemble of pre-digested OS images coming with default values and all required programmes to start a full Wallabag server within minutes. As a matter of fact, it worked so well that what was initially a proof-of-concept test for Wallabag was kept for 2 years, without ever having to meddle with it except to upgrade the container once.

However, when it comes to tailoring that application to some specific needs or requirements you may have, Docker loses a lot of its interest as the system administrator needs to dive in to modify and “re-wrap” the docker image.

At Nomagic we decided long ago to opt for LXC (Linux Containers, a similar technology to Docker, which incidentally was itself based on LXC initially. Nowadays the 2 technos have diverted quite a bit and are not inter-compatible). LXC makes container adoption faster for system administrators that don’t have prior experience on it (at least based on our experience). It was also a “natural” choice for us, since we host our containers on Proxmox, which supports LXC out of the box, not docker. We have been very happy with LXC so far and are not planning on moving away from it anytime soon.

A fresh start

We never cared too much about wallabag being on a different “platform”, notably because it had a strong limitation: no compatibility for centralised authentication. However, Wallabag being released under the MIT License (compatible GNU GPLv3), anyone can contribute and help. Centralised authentication has been a long wanted feature from many, and in 2017 a patch was submitted by a community member. Unfortunately, that patch did not make it to mainstream release yet (though discussion of a LDAP bundled version as just re-spawn). Nevertheless, “Immae” kept his patch available for others on his own repository outside of Github.

Very interested by that patch, I contacted Immae and asked for help as I was having difficulties to understand how to proceed with patching a fresh, LXC-based installation of Wallabag. I was swiftly provided with a full procedure1 and quickly managed to apply the patch on the latest Wallabag release. So here we are: an updated Wallabag application with centralised authentication! A big thank you to Immae and the wallabag core team for all the hard work and sharing!

If you haven’t used this service yet, now is the right time to get started!

[1] You can find here the steps provided in French. A translated step by step article will soon be provided on our sysAd-oriented blog foss-notes.

Wallabag icon by Nicolas Loeuillet, CC BY-SA 3.0, from Wikimedia Commons

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