Debugging Problems with Chrome Extensions (and One You Can’t Live Without!)

I’ve had some niggling problems with my Chromium installation on Ubuntu 10.10, and just never got around to fixing them. Now I’ve not only fixed the one I most wanted to fix, but I also fixed others as well.

Before I discuss the solution… the problems.

The first problem I’ve had is that I couldn’t look at any of the pictures of Android phone displays in the Android Market. I could see them and click on them, but nothing would happen. Similarly, I could click on “more” to see more of the description, but nothing would happen.

Second major problem was with Mint: the “details” bar in the transaction list was off, and the current transaction highlight was also off: decidedly not conducive to reading or getting things done.

I knew that at least some of these problems had to do with extensions because the pages worked when the extensions were off. The quickest way to turn off all extensions in Chrome (assuming a default installation) isn’t to restart in safe mode or to disable extensions one by one – or even to use an extension to turn all the extension off: the quickest way is to use Incognito Mode. Simply copy the URL and paste it into an Incognito window and watch what happens.

To narrow it down further, I turned to another extension: One Click Extensions Manager. Between this and Incognito Mode, the amount of debugging time saved is just tremendous!

Using the One Click Extensions Manager, I turned off all extensions, then started enabling them one at a time. Before I knew it, my problems were resolved.

The problem with the Market turned out to be caused by a bug in Droid Code. I found this out by turning the extensions back on one by one. Turns out that this bug has been mentioned in the reviews; I just never saw it. Unfortunately, I use Droid Code all the time – however, I replaced it with the QR Code Generator for Android Market and now things work again.

After resolving the problem with the Android Market, I thought I’d do a Google search to find the problem with Mint.com. The problem with Mint turned out to have to do with the Orbvious Interest extension, an extension that provides quick access to Read-It-Later. Turned out there was a bug report (or two!) about this very problem.

Using One Click Extensions Manager made enabling and disabling extensions a one-click process: once the list of extensions is open, a single click will either enable/disable it (left-click) or uninstall it (right-click). It’s unbelievable until you try it: disabling in the Google Extensions Manager is a very slow process.

A side benefit to all of this is I got to clean out some of my extensions: I do tend to collect them willy-nilly (oh, the shame of it!).

5 thoughts on “Debugging Problems with Chrome Extensions (and One You Can’t Live Without!)”

  1. Some of Chrome extensions (some masquerading as “apps”) are real pigs (of the “resource hog” variety), and you can see this in Chrome’s Task Manager (hot-key: shift-esc).

    I’ve uninstalled a couple of useful (I thought “must-have”) extensions after I realized the impact they were having on the performance of Chrome and sometime my whole desktop.

    1. I believe it. As a matter of fact, my Chromium installation might be the cause of a video freeze in my Intel chipset-based video – if I open too many tabs too fast, the video locks up requiring a system reboot. However, the busiest and most memory intensive extension seems to be Flash…

      1. Believe it or not, I actually started doing something very like this. However, in Chrome you can just go to the URI chrome://plugins and click on Disable in the Flash section. Things seem to have gotten much more stable since I started doing this over the last few days.

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