How And Why I Made A Chrome Extension In A Week

LOL Doodle In The Making By A Kind College Junior

What is LOL Chrome Extension?

LOL Link Sharer, is a google extension that helps me curate links from literature/art enthusiasts/creators/writers and the like, for my weekly lit-y/arty medium publication LOL (List of Lit) [for the lack of a better name]

Image Credit: https://giphy.com

Reasons I started the newsletter, what I curate:

A Bullet Background:

  1. I graduated in Electronics and Communication Engineering in 2015
  2. Not particularly inclined towards any of them. Professors weren’t particularly instilling and inspiring.
  3. Took the first front end job I managed to get with SapientNitro Razorfish without any prior experience in programming in Jan 2016
  4. Left job, Jan 2017. At the job, had the fortune to work on a front end framework team with some of the most amazing people I’d ever meet. Crazy, wild idea-ed, hard working, passionate people. Got to work on cutting edge techs, learn basic infrastructure concepts and build pipelining. Witnessed how design decisions are made, and more.

But,

I don’t know how people would feel about it, but I couldn’t gulp in the fact that I was working for superbly well to do rich clients, some of the biggest brands and companies in the world. The thought that I wasn’t actually solving a problem nobody else was working on made me cringe. That and along with some family urgencies made me quit.

Right, just tell me about the extension already!

A month ago, I started LOL literary/art publication. Idea was simple - To curate links of poems, essays, slam poems, blog posts, generative art (I’m a processing programming language fan), visual art, gifs, humour gifs and articles, and send them to the publication’s followers via Medium letters.

However, I could only read so much. I could only read what I’m able to find in my social, email, rss feeds and web of hyperlinks I follow. So I gave myself a week to make this chrome extension, with which a reader could just click a button after signing in with google (firebase auth), to send the link of the current browser tab to me (firebase database), which I could curate in the coming issues.

LOL Google Chrome Extension UI

So, backed with firebase google auth and database, I managed to make a hacky, scribbly version of it. It’s on github

A brief description of the working of the extension in the following video:

LOL Google Extension Working Demo

Right now,

  1. There’s no proper online and offline error handling, nor proper messages reflecting in the UI
  2. Code is very hacky spaghetti.
  3. Not everybody has a google account (I guess?) so I thought I’d enable anonymous sharing.

I opened issues reflecting these aspirations.

I’ve started a seemingly scary (because I’ve never treaded this before) journey to find and solve problems, inspired by this Paul Graham essay

For now, I’m keen on working on deadlines, because I’m sloppy. I also intend to engage with community and to contribute to open source project(s) that solves a problem I feel deeply for. Until then, wish me all the hard work!


Some of the other things I’ve made and written about

  1. Online Handwritten Letter Using SVG Stroke Animations (I cringe to death to say this but best viewed on Desktop (Ah! Sigh…))

2. Getting Jekyll Blog Work Offline Using Service Workers