Thursday, November 19, 2009

I LOVE Chrome Extensions!

It's true - the first one is always the hardest. But once I got my first Google Chrome extension done, the next 2 just flowed out of me. And believe me, it was a fun process. JavaScript, jQuery, Ajax, JSONP, event-handling - fun to learn, easy to implement.

This time, I decided to solve some real-life problems. How many times have I been on the phone explaining to a non-computer-savvy person how to get their current IP? Let's count the steps:
  1. Click Windows Key + R (explain "holding a key" to the uninitiated)
  2. Type CMD and click enter
  3. type i-p-c-o-n-f-i-g and click enter (the word "config" nly means something if you're in IT)
  4. look for that line that has four numbers separated by dots and read it to me
  5. What was it again 192.235 or 192.265...?
  6. Etc.

MyIP is a simple Chrome extension that shows your current IP in the status bar.

To install the extension, click this link. The functionality is quite simple:
  • Upon startup, the extension pings a web service and gets your IP (ergo, you have to be connected for it to work). The extension also attempts to get your geo-location based on the IP. This is not the most accurate process, as the IP location tag at the top of my blog can attest.
  • Hovering over the IP will show you your location
  • Clicking it will open a Google Ma, centered on your location
  • Right-clicking it will force a refresh (one occurs automatically every 10 minutes)
Remember, you need to have Chrome 4.0.222 and above (I'm using 4.0.229 at this point), or wait for the official Extensions Support to trickle down to the release version.
One final fact: the above number is not MY IP :).

The StackOverflow Reputation Extension deals with my obsession of knowing my reputation on the StackOverflow sites at any given moment. If you revisit my original post, you'll see I've gained close to 1k reputation points since publishing it. But I hate browsing to all 3 sites to follow my point accumulate (or dwindle - I do get some down votes from time to time). To use the extension you provide your profile ID from StackOverflow, SuperUser, and/or ServerFault. To add your profile/s, do the following:
  1. Install the extension
  2. Select "Extensions" from the wrench menu, or type the address "chrome://extensions/"
  3. Click the Options button next to the installed extension
  4. Fill in your profile/s (found in your profile URL for the respective site/s), click "Save Options".

  5. Click "Close Window" and right-click the extension to refresh it (or restart the browser).
And here you go - your reputation is in the task bar.
Click any of the numbers, and it'll open your profile page on that site.
And when I ran into an issue with refreshing the content, I put it as a question on, where else, StackOverflow :).

As for the (bright) future of Chrome Extensions: beginning with version 4.0.229, Google started teasing with the imminent arrival of extensions:
But when you click the link, you get:
So, in the meantime, enjoy my extensions - and develop your own. I'll be glad to share my experience (or lend my services hint, hint) to anyone interested.


Ariel Tetro said...

Wonder if it works on Google Wave

Unknown said...

Cool! Note however that toolstrips are deprecated and will be removed before launch. Browser Actions and Page Actions are what replaces them (see )

Anonymous said...

Toolstrips are deprecated and are disappearing entirely Real Soon Now.

Traveling Tech Guy said...

Ouch! Thanks Nico and pkasting for alerting me to the impending doom of toolstrips. What am I to do now? Guess I'll have to replace them with Browser Actions. Oh well, play with a new technology - get burned once in a while ;).
Will update (all extensions) in a future post.

Traveling Tech Guy said...

Ariel - these are browser (Chrome) specific extensions - but you can use 90% of the code to create a Google Widget which can be hosted anywhere (Gmail, Wave iGoogle etc.)