27 May 2015

Recently I had the opportunity to build another Chrome Extension. This time it was for Chirp, the ambitious London based startup that I recently did some Android App development for. I’m really pleased with this Extension, as it opens up the use case possibilities of Chirp immensely and solves a very common problem.

A common annoyance that no doubt we have all suffered from, is how to quickly get something such as a file or link from your desktop to your mobile device. Various solutions do exist, but most have their drawbacks. Email is too long-winded, USB too fiddly, Bluetooth too painful to ’sync’ and AirPlay never works as well as intended.

With our new Chrome Extension, sending something from the desktop to the mobile devices is as easy as pressing a button. Assuming of course you have Chirp installed, which I highly recommend you do.

Writing a Chrome Extension is relatively straightforward. Especially if you have a good grounding in Javascript & HTML5. You have access to all the standard Javascript APIs. So for example if you wish to to communicate with a RESTful web service, you would use the XMLHttpRequest. For styling you use CSS that all good front end devs will be familiar with.

You also have access to a Javascript Chrome API, which allows you to interact with different parts of the Chrome browser. I’ve found this to be a well designed, powerful and well documented Web Platform API. Any development hitches then you have the excellent Chrome developer debug tools to help out — such as diagnosing network latency.

So in this case, the Chrome Extension serves as a means of extracting user selected data from the browser and then passing it to the existing Chirp Web services. This meant we were able to roll out a good looking and incredibly useful Chrome Extension in a matter of days.

Make sure you check it out here

Thank you for reading. If you found this article useful, do get in touch. I offer consultancy and pro-bono advice to startups and scaleups. You can find out more about me and contact me here mikesmales.com

Software engineer and business builder. Entrepreneurship, Start-ups, Deep-Tech, Mobile, IoT, & AI. CTO @ PF Nexus. Former COO @ chirp.io. See mikesmales.com

Software engineer and business builder. Entrepreneurship, Start-ups, Deep-Tech, Mobile, IoT, & AI. CTO @ PF Nexus. Former COO @ chirp.io. See mikesmales.com