Chrome Webstore “message.json” issue

Today I have encountered an issue while I was uploading new version of my extension to chrome webstore:

"An error occurred: Cannot parse message.json file from uploaded package."

I wasn’t expecting that since the extension was working locally without a problem. Also the error message says about message.json which was not a part of my package as the i18n files are called messages.json.

The error was trivial to fix (although not so easy to find) – I have put some comments into messages.json file, which seem not to be supported by extension gallery even though Chrome itself can handle them properly. But the thing that made me smile was that a Google guy created an error message with hard-coded (incorrect) filename. The gods have fallen ;)

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New features “Translate and speak!”

My chrome extension just got two new features:

  • Show in Wikipedia
  • Show in Wiktionary

They do basically that they say on a tin. The language of both wiki sites is determined by Google’s translate language detection function. It’s not always accurate, but it’s best I can get at the moment.

I encourage you to install Translate and Speak! and play with it. Any feedback will be appreciated.

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Chrome can speak now!

Yesterday new version of “Translate and Speak!” (previously TranslateMe) Chrome Extension has been released and it’s now ready to download on Chrome Webstore.

New features in version 1.4 include:

  • “Speak!” function, which uses amazing Google’s TTS to read text
  • Translate (detect language) function, which tries to guess language of the phrase before translating it to your selected language
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Limitation of Chrome Extensions API

The Chrome Extension model is amazingly easy to use with just few basic concepts to understand. But there are rather severe limitations. The most important I found so far:

  • There is no easy and consistent way to create option page. Developer needs to create option page as any normal HTML page, this is just overkill! See Extension options page, Chrome issue cr25317.
  • Attaching action to context menu is limited in many ways:
    • You can’t add two items to context menu. Chrome automatically creates a group called after the extension and puts all your items into this submenu.
    • Callback method from event gets very limited amount of data about the click – e.g. you can’t easily read the contents of a link (A) tag right-clicked by user.
  • There is no way you can modify the title of the link in context menu when it’s being displayed (no OnShow or similar event).

Expect edits here.

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TranslateMe – my first Chrome extension

I spend long hours reading on-line (don’t we all?). Most of interesting material is available in English only (including en.wikipedia.org which is much superior to my native pl.wikipedia.org), so I tend to read all in that language. And as it is my second tongue, I need to use translator quite often. Google translator is doing pretty good job with helping me, but the manual process (copy->new tab->type address->paste) was just too slow to be comfortable. This is where the idea for extension for Chrome came from.

Basic needs for the plugin were defined as:

  • No need to open translate.google.com everytime I need a translation
  • No need to copy/paste to translate
  • Quick
  • No more than 3 hours to develop (including the ramp up – this was my first attempt to create a Chrome Extension)

The result is quite encouraging – the extension is working and can be downloaded from Chrome Web Store. More information about the extension can be found here (click!)

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