First prototype for ThumbTabs (code name)

It was a long time since I star­ted the deve­lop­ment of my exten­sion for Fire­fox. I easily manage to create a side­bar and list all the tabs. But qui­ckly I found my first dif­fi­cul­ties…

I sear­ched how to create a thumb­nail of a web page. Well, it’s quite easy there is a func­tion for that : draw­Win­dow. But I wan­ted to creat par­tial thumb­nails, as explai­ned of Alexan­der Limi arti­cle. And playing with ratio, screen width, thumb­nail width was quite disap­poin­ting. I mana­ged to create par­tial thumb­nail, but only blur­red.

Then is deci­ded to create 2 XBL ele­ment. One for the tab con­tai­ner and ano­ther for the tabs (inclu­ding the favi­con, the title and the thumb­nail). Here star­ted the night­mare. I hacked Tab­Si­de­bar exten­sion to get ins­pi­ra­tion but it’s a long pro­cess to dive in a pro­ject with thou­sands lines of code.

So, three days ago I give up and deci­ded to test Jet­Pack, by Mozilla Labs. Jet­Pack should repre­sent the future of exten­sions. It inclu­des the jQuery fra­me­work (very handy for ani­ma­tions and events mana­ge­ment) and you don’t need to res­tart the brow­ser after ins­tal­ling jet­packs. Howe­ver it’s a young pla­te­form, there is a lot of bugs, you can­not loca­lize your strings, there is no mecha­nisms for pre­fe­ren­ces hand­ling, etc.

Any­way, I tried it and here it is :

Clearly, it lacks of polish, the code is messy and I have seen a lot of bugs. Moreo­ver it’s bro­ken with Jet­Pack 0.5pre2…

Ano­ther screen­shot, clo­ser :

I don’t com­ple­tely aban­don the clas­sic exten­sion, but I will wait to finish the Jet­Pack pro­to­type so I will be more trai­ned with JavaS­cript stuff. I think it’s all a mat­ter of lear­ning curve. Jet­Pack one is more acces­si­ble ;)

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