I have tons of articles in my Pocket account. To make it easier to read them, I wanted a way to get a random one on demand.

As it turned out, this was very straightforward. Pocket has a URL that gives you exactly that: a random article from your list each time you visit it.

So far so good. However, when I get a random article, I may not like it. Like a roulette, I may want to spin it again and again until I find something I want to read at a given moment. This means that I usually visit that URL many times in a row.

This could be as easy as reloading the page, but that URL actually redirects you to the article’s page, so doing this won’t get you anywhere. My options were to click that page on my bookmarks bar repeatedly, or to write that address on the omnibar multiple times. None of this is exactly enjoyable.

For a much better experience, I wanted to bind a keyboard shortcut for that URL. This way, every time I pressed some key combination, my browser would show a different article from my Pocket list. Cool, right?

To achieve this, my browser doesn’t support this feature natively, neither could I find a working extension for this. So I solved it by coding a small userscript and dropping it at ViolentMonkey.

Done. But there is one last problem. After you read an article, you probably want to do something with it on Pocket, maybe archive it or delete it, right? However, this “random” URL brings you directly to the actual page, not Pocket’s article view. Thus, after each page you read, you’d have to open Pocket, search for the article you just read and only then do whatever you wanted to do. Not very nice either.

I made it much easier by adding another key combination. This one searches for the current page on the Pocket list. Now you are just a few clicks away from archiving the article.

Installation and usage

If you want to try my solution, install a extension such as ViolentMonkey (for Chrome, for Firefox) and install my userscript from here. Don’t forget to reload your current tab.

Now pressing Alt+Shift+R brings you a random Pocket article, and Alt+Shift+E searches for the current page on your Pocket list.