Instapaper developer Marco Arment responded to the latest installment of John Siracusa’s famously elaborate Mac OS X reviews with an amusing, fairly elaborate review of the review itself. Each is worth reading, or at a minimum, each is worth reading later.
Siracusa’s article is particularly suitable to archiving for later perusal, as it clocks in at a whopping 24 “web pages.” Arment estimated it took him around two hours to read. Given my busy schedule and poor attention span, I suspect this will be split up into several shifts, reading a little bit when I get the chance.
Multi-page articles used to be a bugaboo for Instapaper. Faced with an article like Siracusa’s, it would happily save it to your reading list, but when you sat down to dig into the story, you’d be vexed to find you were stuck with only the first of 24 pages. Happily, in March of this year, the Instapaper bookmarklet was updated to support multi-page archival.
I have an Instapaper keyboard shortcut wired up, so when I’m looking at a page I want to read later, I just press control-p, and up comes Instapaper’s friendly “Saving” panel. When it’s saving a multi-page article, it updates the UI while it cranks through the pages.
I pressed the keyboard shortcut on Siracusa’s article, and settled in for a relatively long Instapapering lull. To my surprise, the save panel appeared and disappeared almost instantly. Uh oh, has Marco screwed up multi-page archiving for a canonical example of its usefulness? On an article that he himself has drawn additional attention to?
Nope. All the pages are there. I confirmed through Instapapaper that the complete, gloriously long article would be waiting for me on my subway ride later this morning. Kudos to Instapaper!
But how did it happen so quickly? Does Marco special-case certain popular pages like this in an effort to boost perceived performance? Or perhaps one of the subtle improvements over the years has been some kind of automatic server-side de-duping of archives. This would save Marco a bunch of space on his servers while also improving performance for users.
However Instapaper did it, archiving John Siracusa’s review of Mountain Lion 10.8 with Instapaper was, ahem, instant and complete. Would archive again.