Saturday, July 7, 2012

crxify - dafuq this is a weird name!

You have probably seen my posts about developing on a Chromebook. To cut a long story short everything is possible, but it's only comfortable for JavaScript developers.

The advantage for JavaScript developers is the number of available online IDEs - c9.io and Eclipse Orion to name the most popular. These are perfect for developing JavaScript for websites or server, but they lack functionality for local JavaScript applications, like Chrome Extensions. Why? Because you're developing in the cloud, therefore your code is in the cloud too - so how do you get it to execute locally (e.g. in Chrome)? Normally you would use something like git to fetch the code and then run it. Chrome OS doesn't ship with git installed, so you have to get the code otherwise (download zipball from GitHub, for example).

Anyway, I found this process to be too complicated (especially if you're making lots of small changes in a short time) so I built crxify: a web app which packs your code from GitHub into a .crx-file. Below is a video describing the process.

  1. find the zipball URL for your repository and the branch / tag to be packed
    • the URL usually looks something like this: https://github.com/USER/REPOSITORY/zipball/BRANCHorTAG
    • for example: https://github.com/TomTasche/Announcify.js/zipball/0.2 or https://github.com/TomTasche/Announcify.js/zipball/experimental
  2. go to crxify.tomtasche.at
  3. insert the zipball URL and press the button
  4. wait a few seconds (usually under 30 seconds)
  5. download the .crx
  6. go to chrome://extensions
  7. drag and drop the .crx-file onto the page
I hope this provides some real world value for someone. :) Let me know if you need more features!