Keep Track of What You Write on the Web

If you are like many knowledge workers, you not only read a lot on the web, you contribute to it too. Hook enables you to keep a local copy of what you write on other others’ websites, and it links that copy to the web address. As a result, you can refer back to it easily.

Without keeping a local copy with Hook, after you submit text to a web site you often can’t get your text back.

  • Sometimes the website doesn’t provide you with a web address where you can view/retrieve what you have written.
  • Sometimes the information you added remains accessible in principle, but you lose track of the address (because most websites are not really indexed for you to be able to get your contributions back).
  • The website administrator might delete or hide your content.
  • The entire website might go out of business.

This is a shame, because what you write might have considerable value. Your time is, after all, your most precious commodity. If you bother to spend time writing on others’ websites, the least you can get in return is your own text. But there’s more you can get, at no extra cost, by using Hook, as you will see below.

Use Hook’s “Link to New” (or simply link)

Here’s how Hook can help. Instead of writing information directly into a website (e.g. a bug report or contact form), in the context of the web page where you’ll add your own content, use Hook’s handy Link to New feature. This one simple command will instantly

  1. generate a new local document;
  2. store it;
  3. name it;
  4. open it in your favorite (default) writing app;
  5. link it to the web page; and
  6. (optionally) apply the Finder tag “Hook” to it.

Yes, one command does all of that!

At this point you can write the text you want to submit to the website. Then, when you’re ready, just copy/paste the text from this new document into the website, and hit its submit button.

As a result, you will now have a local, linked, copy of your precious content. This file can serve as a permanent, personal record. It shows that you contacted the organisation. The file’s metadata serves as a date stamp and time stamp. And the content is your record of what you submitted on the website.

Hook keeps a record of the web address (the link), so you don’t need to write it down yourself! You can copy all the links in the Hook window using the handy Copy All Links command (⌃⇧C).

Or use “Link to Copied Address”

Sometimes, the web address of your content is only available after you have submitted your content. That’s the case for tweets. It’s often the case for WordPress blog posts and WordPress pages (WordPress pre-publication URLs are cumbersome to get and use). Hook has you covered there too.

Hook makes it easy to link a published document to your local files.

  1. In the context of the new web page that is created with your content, use Hook’s Copy as Link command (⌘C).
  2. Go back to your text editor, and use Hook’s Link to Copied Address command (⌘L).

Or proceed in the opposite direction! Either way, you’re done! Both documents are now linked to each other. You don’t need to access the web browser’s address bar or use a mouse/trackpad to carefully select relevant portions of the address. You don’t need to paste the web address in the editor. One keystroke in each invocation of the Hook window and Hook immediately links the two documents to each other.

If the website’s owner goes out of business, or its administrator deletes/hides your content, you still have your local copy and its metadata, including the web address (which Hook keeps for you).

Example web content you might contribute

Here’s some content that is often worth keeping:

  • your blog posts (see Write Better – Hook),
  • your comments on others’ blog posts
  • your forum contributions
  • your contributions to “how-to” websites like Stack Exchange, Quora, Apple Discussions, and similar sites
  • your LinkedIn posts and comments
  • any content you submit to a website using its contact form
  • bug reports (e.g. on Apple’s Radar, which is notoriously hard to use — it’s easier to refer to your own local copies in the future)

Obviously, there are billions of websites… The list above is just to help you see that your contributions to the web are worth saving.

You can then easily share your content with others

Sometimes content you contribute to a website is not public. But it’s your content. If you want to share it with your own organization, it surely helps to have a local copy that is easy for you to access.

What if you quit your browser while writing?

How many times have you started to write content in a web form, only to get distracted and close your browser window (or entire browser), and lose all your work?

Well, with Hook you are covered. macOS has an auto-save feature that is used by most apps. It also has Time Machine, which makes it easy to get back previous versions of files.

So you’re very unlikely to lose your work before submitting your form if you get in the habit of drafting your content locally, thanks to Hook.

Remember: Hook does not provide an editor. It lets you choose your favorite editor. Instead, Hook provides the precious linking function.

Why draft on the web, when you can use the best writing app

We argued at length in the context of writing long form documents for the web, that you are better off writing in a Mac editor than directly on the web. That’s because:

  • web editors are clumsy and unreliable;
  • they tend to mess up styling;
  • it’s easy to lose track of your web writing tab amidst all your other tabs; and
  • web browsers are filled with distractions (e.g. news sites, seductive headlines, etc.)

So, instead of writing in a web editor, write in the editor of your choice (such as BBEdit, Bear app, MultiMarkdown Composer, or Agenda). Use Hook to link the local copy to the web version.

Re-use your text!

Often, when you contribute to a web site, you are answering someone else’s question. Weeks, months or even years later, you might want to help someone else who has the same problem. Or you yourself might encounter the same issue and forget your previous answer (or at least want to refer to it).

Because you use Hook, you can re-access your linked content, with Spotlight or other search tools (like HoudahSpot).

Tip: Hook applies Finder tags, so you can easily search for all linked files. (If you forgot to turn on Finder tags in Hook’s General Preferences tab, don’t worry, Hook will soon have a command to add Finder tags to all linked files.)

Your local document becomes a bookmark for the website

By keeping a local copy of your web contributions linked with Hook, these files become bookmarks for your contributions. You might have tens of thousands of bookmarks. However, your web linked files are very special. They are files that you have gone to the trouble of designating as related to what matters to you, your local information and your time.

As a result, this information is much more likely to be relevant than random pages you have previously bookmarked.

And if you want to get back to the web page where you contributed some content, Hook has you covered. Just invoke the Hook window (one shortcut) and access the link!

Your time is precious!

If you bother spending even ten minutes crafting content for someone else’s website, then that content automatically, inherently has value. Don’t waste your time. Keep linked records of what you write, with Hook.

So why not Download Hook now? After all, this is just one of the infinite applications of Hook:

Hook: One app, infinite applications

Elsewhere on this site, we’ve also explained how Hook can help you write entire documents, including blog posts and web pages.