Polar Blog

Portable Datastores and Platform Independence

Portable Datastores and Platform Independence The other day, Arnold Schrijver from the Center of Humane Technology was nice enough to reach out to discuss git sync in Polar and the available of Polar on other platforms other than Firebase: Polar’s on disk datastore supports basic version control via git for advanced users. It’s somewhat easy to setup and provides a workable solution if you’re a tech expert and you don’t want to use Polar cloud...

Polar Usability Milestone

Polar Usability Milestone Last week we were lucky enough to get on the front page of Hacker News again which resulted in a lot of new users providing valuable feedback. I’m going to be focusing on usability in the next few releases (as well as shipping Polar as a webapp) and I wanted to include the features (and bug fixes) we’re prioritizing in the next couple weeks. I’ll try to update this post as some...

Polar as a Personal Knowledge Repository

Polar as a Personal Knowledge Repository I wanted to finally take the time and write up my long term vision of where Polar is headed as well as discuss some anti-goals (or at least secondary goals) of the project. Polar is designed around the idea of maintaining all your documents in one place, annotating them with highlights, comments, managing your documents with tags, and maintaining key extracted knowledge via spaced repetition. I believe this is...

Dear App Stores: Don't Block Apps - Lead With the Carrot Instead!

Dear App Stores: Don’t Block Apps - Lead With the Carrot Instead! Microsoft blocked Polar from the App Store after I spent 2 weeks implementing the changes needed for their platform. My crime? I didn’t use MS Edge for rendering web content - I used Electron. Gasp! I know, right?! I’m truly evil! Polar supports capturing content, annotating and caching it online for the user to annotate and keep even if the original site vanishes...

Microsoft Blocking Electron Apps from the App Store

Microsoft Blocking Electron Apps from the App Store I’ve been working hard to port my app over to the MS App Store (and the Apple App Store). It’s an insanely difficult process involving multiple iterations. Each time you submit the app they only give you one reason why your app can’t be submitted. This rejection really makes me nervous. Turns out my app is blocked as I’m not using the right web components. The only...

Polar 1.11 Released

Polar 1.11 Released Version 1.11 has fewer features than our normal weekly releases. The next release will take a bit longer and we wanted to get a version released sooner rather than later. Feature: More consistent header bar throughout the app. Feature: Pagemark batches which help working with PDFs that have multiple pages. Now if you create pagemarks across pages you can delete one and the whole batch is also deleted. Feature: Page number in...

Polar 1.10 Released

Polar 1.10 Released The 1.10 release focuses on a number of medium-scale features but also improves stability across the board. Updated UI The most obvious feature is that the UI has been significantly updated to support a new fixed header bar bar. One of the motivations for this was that users were getting confused when using the app for the first time and didn't know how to add content. Now there's a large '+ Add'...

Mendeley's Encrypted Repository is Fundamentally Anti-Science

Mendeley’s Encrypted Repository is Fundamentally Anti-Science Hacker News ran a story the other day highlighting Mendeley locking in users to their product by encrypting their own data preventing external apps from easily exporting their data. Essentially, PDFs go in, but they don’t come out - a black hole of knowledge. Now one might be temped to think that an application encrypting user data is a good thing. Less ability to tamper with the data or...

Polar 1.9.0 Released

Polar 1.9.0 Released Polar 1.9.0 was just released. This release is mostly focused around stability and fixes a number of important bugs. One big new feature went into this release though - you’re now able create pagemarks across multiple pages. Documentation Here’s the excerpt from the documentation: When you right click and select “Create Pagemark to Point” Polar creates pagemarks over all previous pages up until the previous pagemark (or the beginning) of the document....

Features in Polar 1.8.0

Features in Polar 1.8.0 Transcript Below Sorry about the transcript formatting. I'm going to have to figure out a better long term solution here. I wanted to discuss what was going into polar 1.8 which we just shipped (I think a couple days ago( and there's some really cool features in here and unfortunately I didn't get a chance to create this video when we cut the release so I'm probably gonna do a 1.8.1...

Over 500 Top PDFs posted to Hacker News in 2018

Over 500 Top PDFs posted to Hacker News in 2018 Hacker News is a GREAT source of tech news but one of the things I really like about it is when insanely smart people post actual PDFs they've found. In the past I've seen PDFs from text books, brilliant original research and even old trusted technical books from the 80s and 90s. So I figured it would be interesting to compute the top PDFs from...

Plan S for Open Science - Open Access to Scientific Research

The EU Plan S for Open Access to Scientific Research The EU and China have an ambitious new plan to provide open access (OA) for scientific papers: Since the September 2018 launch of the Europe-backed program to mandate immediate open access (OA) to scientific literature, 16 funders in 13 countries have signed on. That’s still far shy of Plan S’s ambition: to convince the world’s major research funders to require immediate OA to all published...

Building Cloud Document Sync with Google Firebase

Building Cloud Document Sync with Google Firebase About a month ago we shipped a new version of Polar which enables support for cloud sync backed by Firebase. Polar is a personal knowledge repository for your books, PDFs, and web content which supports annotation including highlights and comments. Having this data available across all your computers is insanely helpful. Our users wanted the ability to sync their reading and annotations across computers with the option for...

Polar 1.5 with Cloud Sync

Polar 1.5 with Cloud Sync Support for multi-device sync based on Google Firebase I’m proud to announce that Polar 1.5 shipped this morning. One of the most exciting features of this release is support for cloud sync. Cloud sync allows you to keep all your documents, PDFs, web page captures, and annotations consistent across all your computers (MacOS, Windows, and Linux). Cloud sync is also real time. If your other computers are online while you’re...