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 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!).

Getting Java Working in Chromium in Ubuntu Lucid Lynx

I recently found myself needing to have the Java plug-in working on Ubuntu. I had been using Google Chrome, and thought that installing Chromium from the standard repositories would fix it – not so.

After some research, I found this article about getting Java working on Ubuntu 9.04 with Chromium. Strangely (or perhaps not) things have not changed in Ubuntu 10.04.

The simple description is the following:

  1. Find libnpjp2
  2. Place a copy of libnpjp2 in Chromium’s plugins directory: /usr/lib/chromium-browser/plugins
  3. Make sure that libjavaplugin* is removed from the plugins directory.
  4. Restart Chromium if necessary.

In the case of Ubuntu 10.04, I found libnpjp2 to be part of Sun’s JRE (and in the sun-java6-bin package):

dgd@cor$ dpkg -S $(locate libnpjp2)
sun-java6-bin: /usr/lib/jvm/java-6-sun-

You can test the results by going to Sun’s Test Page.

Looking at Ubuntu’s bug lists, this bug is related to getting IcedTea Java plugins working. The Google Chromium folks noticed this as well in a bug report of their own.

The problems with IcedTea are related to the fact that the plugin is either in a unsupported plugin format, or more recently, linked against libraries that are not found when running Google Chromium.

Sun’s JDK with works just fine; I’ll stick with that.

Why I Use Google Chrome

Recently there was an article in Web Worker Daily about the release of Firefox 3.6 – and why the writer won’t give up Google Chrome.

A while ago, I found that Firefox would not render a particular page I needed desperately – but Google Chrome did (and on Linux, no less).

I also like the way that Google Chrome has the fastest (or one of the fastest) Javascript engines: so much of the “cloud” applications are based on Javascript, whether its Google Reader, Zoho Office, or whatever. A few cloud applications rely on Flash or on Java, but not many compared to Javascript.

Another thing that I like is that in Google Chrome the tabs can be manipulated, moved around, and even pulled out of windows or moved into new windows.

I’ve been using Google Chrome for several weeks now, and love it. Many of the things that I liked ar e available as bookmarklets (which is normally Javascript): Passpack and Clippable for instance.

Speeding up the Web: a new protocol

Google has revealed a new protocol – SPDY – that has been part of a research project to speed up the HTTP protocol that makes up the Internet. The speed increase is amazing – and sorely needed.

There is already a development version of Google’s Chrome browser available that supports SPDY; the branch is code-named Flip.

This new protocol requires a modified web server; this will be forthcoming from Google in the future. This is an exciting development that bears watching.