Extensions Highlight: Extension source viewer
The number one complaint I see about the new Opera is, "I am missing X", where X could be any one (or perhaps several) of old Opera's numerous features. While I doubt it is possible to replace all of the functionality of Opera Presto with extensions, many nice features can and have been implemented this way. Additionally if you are open to changes in your workflow, you can often find a different but perhaps equally efficient, way of working. So I thought I would spend a few blog posts highlighting interesting extensions I have stumbled across.
Before I get to today's featured extension, let me say a few words about the Opera Add-ons site and its purpose. As I am sure many of you are aware Opera's extensions are based on the Chromium extension architecture. This begs the question, why do we have our own extensions catalog exist? Couldn't we just tell our users to use the Chrome Web Store, as some other browsers based on Chromium technologies do?
Yep, we could have done that but we have some different ideas about what kinds of extensions we want to expose our user base to. Ars Technica recently produced an interesting article about the review process various browsers employ for their respective extension catalogs. I would encourage you to read the whole thing but to get the some idea, here is a quote they took from one of my colleagues, Andreas Bovens (Opera Extensions product manager & developer relations lead):
[We do not] allow extensions that include ads or tracking in content scripts, so extensions that, for example, inject ads inside webpages the user visits are not allowed.
Other differences (not mentioned in the article) are that we have some extra APIs that allow extensions that would not work in Chrome, for example Speed Dial extensions.
On the flip side there is currently a greater selection of extensions in Chrome's web store, including a number of gems that have not yet made their way into our Add-ons site.
More advanced users might want to review the extensions themselves and hence would be happy to install any extension that meets their needs, no matter the catalog.
There are a few ways that this can be achieved but by far the easiest is to use another extension to assist you. The first one to appear (and hence the one most people seem to recommend) is Download Chrome Extension. However, this is not the one I recommend. I prefer Extension source viewer. Not only does it allow you to install extensions from the Chrome Web Store, it also gives you the option to view an extension's source or download it (as a zip for local inspection or tweaking) before install. As an added bonus, you can also use it to review extensions hosted on our own Add-ons site.
In my next few posts I'll continue to talk about some of my favourite extensions, several of which are not yet found on the Opera Add-ons site. So make sure you install Extension source viewer, if you want to check them out!