Thursday, November 27, 2008

Testing Chrome Overlays

Writing a Firefox extension involves writing a so-called "chrome overlay", which is an xml description of the interface changes you wish to make.

I'm in the process of learning how to write overlays. That means I make mistakes. Lots of them. They're completely normal stepping stones in the process of learning, and I'm totally prepared to spend lots of time doing nothing but mistakes. But while I'm doing this, I'd rather not spend lots of time doing non mistake-related tasks. Non-mistakes reduce the number of mistakes I can do in one day, and thus increase the number of days spent learning.

If, in addition, the non mistake-related task is repetitive and impossible to automate, then I'm likely to get angry. I'm really angry against reinstalling in-progress Firefox extensions right now. Or at least I was, before I found a way to avoid doing it.

My solution is to add two new buttons to my bookmarks toolbar: one for the chrome I want to overlay over, and one which applies my overlay over it. Don't click those links, just look at the URLs to understand the trick, and then only if you're also trying to learn overlays. For everybody else, well... just wait a little bit. The extension I'm working on is going to be really interesting.

...if my attention is not caught by something else before I complete it, that is.

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