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Python library to read contents of Safari Reading List. Includes scripts to output as CSV or "bookmarks" file format and to upload to Instapaper.

branch: master
README.md

readinglistlib

This Python module provides a very simple interface to read the contents of your Safari Reading List. Here is a simple usage example:

from readinglistlib import ReadingListReader
rlr = ReadingListReader()
rl = rlr.read()

The output of rlr.read() is a list of articles. Each article is a dictionary with the following keys: title, url, preview, date (creation date of bookmark), added (sync date; may be undefined), viewed (read date; undefined for unread articles), uuid, synckey, and syncserverid.

If you provide a path as an argument to the ReadingListReader constructor, an attempt will be made to load the Reading List from that file. By default, your Reading List is read from ~/Library/Safari/Bookmarks.plist.

The read() method has a few optional arguments that can be used to control its output:

  • show can be set to 'unread' or 'read' to return only unread or read items, respectively. Any other value (such as None) will cause all items to be returned. Defaults to 'unread'.
  • sortfield can be set to any of the keys listed above. The default is date.
  • ascending controls sort order of the returned list. The default is True; set to False for descending sort.
  • dateformat controls the formatting of the date, added, and viewed fields. Defaults to None, in which case datetime objects are returned instead of strings. Understands strftime format directives.

Your Reading List is read once by the ReadingListReader constructor. Subsequent calls to the read() method do not reload the Reading List, but can be called with different options to return different subsets of the same list.

Requirements

These scripts are developed for Mac OS X 10.7 ("Lion"). It relies on libraries introduced with Python 2.7, which is not included with "Snow Leopard" or earlier versions of Mac OS X.


Example Scripts

Two Python scripts based on readinglistlib are provided as examples. readinglistreader.py dumps your Reading List in tabular or "bookmarks" format. readinglist2instapaper.py adds your unread Reading List items to your Instapaper queue. readinglist2html.py dumps your Reading List to a simple HTML list. Details below.

An AppleScript bundle called Send Reading List to Instapaper is also available. It provides a somewhat more user-friendly interface to readinglist2instapaper.py:

Send to Instapaper confirmation dialog

readinglistreader.py

Safari Reading List "lets you save web pages to read or browse later." This script reads your Reading List and lists the articles bookmarked therein. It is offered as a proof of concept rather than a finished tool. Safari's bookmarks file format is undocumented so reading it directly is totally unsupported and quite likely to fail in a variety of cases. That said, this script does not edit or modify your Safari bookmarks file in any way. No changes are made to the status of your Reading List.

This script is derived from Safari-Reading-List-Recipe. It's intended to facilitate experimental integration of Reading List with services like Instapaper or Pinboard. For example, you can import the output of readinglistreader.py --bookmarks to add your unread articles to Pinboard.

Usage

usage: readinglistreader.py [-h] [--separator SEP] [--quote QUOTE]
                            [--forcequotes] [--fields FIELD [FIELD ...]]
                            [--header] [--timestamp FORMAT] [--bookmarks]
                            [--show FILTER] [--sortfield FIELD]
                            [--sortorder ORDER] [--output OUTPUT]
                            [--input INPUT]

This script outputs the contents of your Safari Reading List, a queue of
temporary bookmarks representing articles you intend to read. By default, it
prints the title and url of unread articles in chronological order, beginning
with the oldest bookmark. Default output is compliant with CSV conventions.

optional arguments:
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  --separator SEP       Separates field values. Specify 'tab' to use an actual
                        tab character. Defaults to ','.
  --quote QUOTE         Specify '' to suppress quoting. Defaults to '"'.
  --forcequotes         Quote all field values. By default, only quote empty
                        fields or values containing SEP, QUOTE, or newlines.
  --fields FIELD [FIELD ...]
                        Controls format of output record. Acceptable fields
                        are title, url, preview, date, added, viewed, uuid,
                        synckey, and syncserverid. Defaults to title and url.
                        (Date is date article was originally bookmarked. If
                        defined, added is date bookmark was synced via iCloud.
                        If defined, viewed is date article was read.)
  --header              Output a header record containing field labels.
  --timestamp FORMAT    Controls format of date, added, and viewed fields.
                        Understands strftime directives. Defaults to '%a %b %d
                        %H:%M:%S %Y' (eg, 'Mon Feb 13 22:50:40 2012').
  --bookmarks           Output items in Netscape bookmarks file format.
                        Overrides preceding tabular output options.
  --show FILTER         Control which items to output. Acceptable FILTER
                        values are unread, read, or all. Defaults to unread.
  --sortfield FIELD     Controls how output is sorted. Defaults to date.
  --sortorder ORDER     May be ascending or descending. Defaults to ascending.
  --output OUTPUT       Output file path. Defaults to stdout.
  --input INPUT         Input file path. Assumed to be a Safari bookmarks file
                        formatted as a binary property list. Defaults to
                        ~/Library/Safari/Bookmarks.plist

Installation

Make it executable with chown +x readinglistreader.py and put it in your /usr/local/bin if you want. Make sure you have installed readinglistlib somewhere in your sys.path.

Examples

With no options, a list of your unread bookmarks is displayed in title,url format:

readinglistreader.py

Use the --fields option to specify the "schema" of your output table:

readinglistreader.py --fields title preview date url

By default, output is sorted by date, starting with the oldest bookmark. To sort alphabetically by article title:

readinglistreader.py --sortfield title

As an alternative to outputting a table, you can save a bookmarks file:

readinglistreader.py --bookmarks --output bookmarks.html

Note that --bookmarks mode ignores tabular output options such as --fields. However, your --show, --sortfield, and --sortorder settings are reflected in the bookmarks output.

readinglist2instapaper.py

This script uses readinglistreader.py and Daniel Schauenberg's InstapaperLibrary to add your unread Reading List articles to your Instapaper account. Specify your Instapaper account with the --username and --password arguments, or create a file named ~/.instapaperrc containing a line with your credentials formatted as username:password. Articles are not removed from your Reading List as they are added to Instapaper. This script is provided as example.

(InstapaperLibrary is not included with this script; install it via any of the methods advised at its GitHub page, or simply put the instapaperlib package folder in the same folder as readinglist2instapaper.py.)

readinglist2pinboard.py

This is a very simply script that posts your Reading List items to your Pinboard account as bookmarks marked 'to read'. Insert your Pinboard API token in the script before running.

readinglist2html.py

readinglist2html output next to actual Reading List

This script outputs HTML for a very plain web page which displays your Reading List. Add some styles and some HTTP headers and maybe you could run it on your Mac's web server.


Wishlist

  • Allow deletion and/or mark-as-read of Reading List items. Naïvely overwriting ~/Library/Safari/Bookmarks.plist with a modified plist accomplishes this, albeit without propagating changes to synced browsers/devices. Alternatively, use GUI scripting to remove items auto-manually (more compatible, but likely more visually distracting).

License

ReadingListReader is freely distributed under an open source MIT License:

Copyright (c) 2012 Jim DeVona

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.

THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.

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