How to Use leftwrite


Hi, this is a how to use guide for leftwrite. I'm a bit too close to the project so some of these explanations might not make much sense so please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.

There are likely various sharp edges, so please export your data from time to time!

Thanks for reading!

This site lets you keep all the articles you read and the thoughts you have about them in a database. This way you can search them, look back on them, or if you run into an article again, you'll be able to see what you wrote last time.

Table of Contents


Creating a user is very simple, I tried to lower the barrier to the very lowest and so there is no e-mail verification (you do need e-mail if you want to be able recover your password).

Logging In

Once you have created a user, you can login and you'll be greeted with links from hackernews. This is my personal favorite so it is the default. Actually all the defaults are things I like so feel free to delete them if you wish and set up your own!

Adding a Type and a Source

There is the concept of sources which is the page that you want to parse and build a list of links from. This would be the home page of hackernews or a subreddits page if you want to process a reddit page. The sources are then bundled into types, for instance I have aggregators for aggregator sites and blogs for well, blogs. You can define as many types as you want and as many sources as you want.

Let's take a look at the types and sources. You can do this by going to the user page and selecting sources in the right navigation. On that page you can then add a source or add a type.

Adding a Type

Let's set up a type first.

To set up a type, you have two things that need to be set up. The name of the type and the link that you want it to use, don't add any slashes as those will be removed.

Now that we have a type, let's set up a source for this type.

Adding a Source

We can return to the previous page and hit Add Source and now we have a set of fields that we can use. These are going to the html tags or css selectors to process a web page into a set of links. This way we can strip out all the extra stuff and only focus on the content. This is web scraping step and requires some technical chops. Please feel free to e-mail me if you have any issues or would like some help as I know this is a bit cumbersome.

Let's use hackernews as the example site that we want to parse and we'll go ahead and fill it in. We'll set the type to the new type that we created.

Once we save this, we can now go back to the home page and in the right side bar we should see a new type with our new source. If we click it, voila! We have a list of links that we can now read and write notes on!

Journal Page

Now let's click into one of the links on this page. There will be more buttons once a note has been created but let's focus on the buttons we see for now.

Above the article is a header bar that contains buttons to get you to a few different places.

On the note taking side, we have the sidebar buttons at the top to quickly jump to different notes, and we have single button to save the notes. You can also use Ctrl S to save notes but this is not a requirement. Give that a try and your page should now refresh with a whole slew of actions you can do. Saving notes will also update the console bar with the time the note was saved it. This way you can make sure your notes are being saved.

In the header we have:

In the journal, we have:

Submitting Links

Sometimes you have an article that you found that you want to write notes on, this can be done by using the submit button at the top of the page.

Writing Plain Notes

You can also write notes without articles!


Sometimes its help to have some notes that are quick to get to to write down ideas. This is the sidebar. This a set of links to notes that you already have that you can get to from anywhere on the site quickly.

This is limited to just 5 slots. You can go into a article note or a plain note and click the + sidebar button and it will then appear on the home page and on the journal page.


You can set reminders on your notes which will appear in the header when they get triggered. This is useful when you want to follow up on something you read in a few days.

User Page

The profile page is a quick overview of your activity, it lists your 5 most recent articles, favourites, plain notes, read laters and submissions.

The reminders page is where you manage your upcoming and past reminders.

The search page let's you do a search against all the notes you have, and the content of the site if you have sites being saved.

The Books Page

On this page you can set up books by clicking add book. Adding book requires adding a name and a description.

If you want to change the name or description later, you can go to the books page and select edit.

Once you have a book created, you can then add notes to the by clicking manage.

Settings Page

On the settings page I've add knobs to control everything. You will need to enter your current password make changes

Deleting an Account

There is a delete button on the settings page on the top right that will let you delete your account, and everything associated with it. You will be sent to a new page where you can do a quick sanity check before deleting everything.


You can export all of your data at any point! I recommend that you do if you want to make backups of your own.

I've tried to keep the export as simple as possible, so please let me know if you have any issues.

Please make sure to read the privacy policy.

I have tried to be as plain as possible and as private as possible. I think there is still room there to get better.