So today I didn't feel like ranting on anything so I thought I'd actually give people some useful stuff. This article is about the unsung heroes tucked away in my Chrome menu or sitting near the address bar, doing their thing.
I have a list of extensions that I've carried with me over the years, and in this article I am going to share them, with a brief description.
This is a category of extensions whose use spans across all my activities. I use them for work, for my personal writing and many other activities.
At the end of 2017 I set myself out to use the web as much as I can. Part of this challenge is that if an application has a web version, I would use that. Everything is OK with that but I also need an easy way to browse through tabs by name. You know, like the fuzzy finders of our code editors.
I love using Markdown. Actually, all my articles are written using Markdown. This means that I also use Markdown to write my emails. I know Gmail has rich text but who uses that?
MarkdownHere turns any Markdown content it finds in a rich text editor to... well... rich text.
This is also part of my mostly-web-based-apps masterplan. I was using a Mac app called Be Focused which is pretty nice. Buuuttt, it doesn't have a web version, so I switched to Toggl. It's nice because it has a Pomodoro timer, and I've been using the Pomodoro technique for about 5 years. I'm actually still thinking about this specific decision, because I really enjoyed the desktop app.
Save To Pocket
This one is a life saver. Remember those times when someone sends you an article and you have so much work to do that you forget about it? Well, if you are using Pocket, then you have a new place to forget about that article. This extension enables you to "bookmark" the links you open in your browser in an instant. What's nice is that it also allows you to add tags to the links you save. This way, when you do your daily / weekly reading, you can filter through your bookmarks and only "work" on the relevant ones.
This is plain and simple. I can't remember all the passwords and keys and combos to all my accounts. That's why I keep them locked down with 1Password. This nifty extension allows you to search your list of passwords, fill forms with stored data and generate new passwords for the accounts you create.
Send To Kindle for Google Chrome
I'm a reading buff. I admit it. This is why I need to be able to send things to my Kindle. This extension helps me to do that without too much hassle. If I need to send a quick PDF / page to Kindle, I can do it straight from Chrome.
Grammarly for Google Chrome
Not being a native english speaker puts me at a disadvantage when talking to native speakers. This is why I use Grammarly, so my emails don't sound like my grandmother would have typed them.
The sweet developer tools. Although many of these extensions are geared towards front-end developers, they are really useful to anyone doing web development. Some of these are pure gold
Remember I talked about pure gold? Well, this one is exactly that. If you're like me, you probably go through at least 5 GitHub repos a day. Well, OctoLinker creates these neat links behind code imports, in GitHub and when you click on one, it will automatically open that file for you.
I highly recommend you install this and try it out
I started using this extension by the time I started learning about Progressive Web Apps. I used it to optimise the performance of many websites through the last 1.5 years.
It runs a series of tests against a target website and gives the user a report with focus on a 5 metrics at the time of this writing:
- Progressive Web App (implementation)
- Best Practices
Click here for a report generated for this website, at the time of this writing.
Google Analytics Opt-Out Add-on
I use this because I hate creating hits / visits to my website when developing it. This way, I don't get the false feeling of extra visitors when I'm refreshing my website like a demented baboon, to see if the new build is online.
This is not a Google-issued extension so be careful when installing it.
Pretty self-explanatory. I develop React apps and I'm using Redux for state management. This tool is amazing for visualising state. Not only that, but it also allows you to roll back and replay actions, and see the whole timeline of events that led to the current application state.
React Developer Tools
I use this for the same reason I use Redux DevTools. Although the Chrome DevTools element inspector can accomplish this task, it's easier to view React Components as components instead of DOM nodes. It's also easier to view props, state and other things you might find in a React app.
Privacy / Security
This is a small list of extensions I use to provide the bare minimum of privacy you can get online, as an unskilled freedom fighter.
This is an absolute must-have. It forces website traffic through HTTPS if they have it available. It's also configurable so you can set your own rules.
To learn more about this extension, click here.
Hated by many, used by many more. This is also a must-have. Although many websites refuse to provide content if you don't disable ABP, I prefer to have it on and willingly disable it for the websites I'm interested in. This gets rid of all those spammy Viagra ads you might find while desperately looking for a solution to your React.js bug 🤣.
The infamous "Bottom line"
There's no conclusion to draw here. Only an encouragement from me to you, to share the extensions you use, to make your life easier as a software developer, writer, author, podcaster or whatever you, dear Reader, call yourself.