Things to Keep in Mind while Developing Chrome Extensions

Chrome extensions are programs that when installed into Chrome, heightens the browser’s functionality. This means adding new functionalities or modifying existing functionalities to make it more convenient for the user. More than often, being a reputed custom

chrome extension development company, we are approached by clients wanting to know why they should develop chrome extensions. We, in this article, will give an idea of the purpose of chrome extension development and what to keep in mind before hiring chrome extension developers!

Chrome’s capabilities can be widely advanced with add-ons and extensions that make it possible to perform a variety of hacks. They alter the way people work. Chrome extensions are available for anything and everything.

Let’s take Gmail for an example — there are countless ways to enhance and extend its functionalities by installing several popular Chrome extensions specifically targeted towards Gmail. Email tracking, meeting scheduling, scheduling your outgoing emails, offline email lookups, grammar checks etc are some of the many things that you can access without opening any extra chrome tab.

Extensions have the power to propel businesses to new heights and with the help of the right chrome extension, you can automate and streamline areas of business that otherwise would need to be a lot of manual effort. Take a look at one of our articles here to know the importance of chrome extensions and how businesses can earn some extra revenue from chrome extension development.

Looking to develop a Chrome extension for your business? Start with answering a few of my questions below. Baby steps, u know!

  1. Why that particular chrome extension development is required and what business problem will that chrome extension solve for your users.
  2. How will the chrome extension make a difference to your user’s life?
  3. What will your business gain with the help of the chrome extension and what do you have to lose if it didn’t exist.

Why I am asking you to analyze these, is because understanding the purpose behind the chrome extension development will keep you aligned to your goals and help keep you focused. And always remember, the best idea is the one that solves the problem that you personally face on a daily basis.

Now, assuming that you yourself are not a chrome extension developer, you will need to actually hire chrome extension developers to do the job for you. Chrome extensions are basically written in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. So, these three technologies should be at the top of your mind when you are hiring a chrome extension developer for the development job. If you want to know more about cost-effective ways of hiring custom software developers, take a look at our article.

Start with the most daunting task — Create a detailed business spec. Whether the engagement is for a year or for 2 weeks, a BRD (Business Requirement Doc) is important. While it’s really convenient to bind a contract with the chrome extension development team that comes along first and start working with them, it’s better to do your due diligence initially, so that you make sure that you are going to be delivered with the chrome extension that you envisioned.

Take a look at a few tips that you should keep in mind before proceeding with chrome extension development.

[1] Have an idea about the chrome environment

Before the chrome extension development starts, make sure you have minimal knowledge of the chrome architecture. I’m not advising to go read all the docs for chrome extension development, but a vague idea of how it works overall would be good for you.

[2] Make sure it doesn’t increase browser memory consumption

One very important thing to keep in mind is that though chrome extensions are useful, the chrome extension development can sometimes happen in a way that they increase browser memory consumption, thus making the browser slow.

Even before the first line of code is written for the chrome extension development purpose, make sure your chrome extension developer uses the same version of the javascript library for the extensions that are used by the site.

It is also recommended to use vanilla Javascript where there is no requirement of loading complex libraries. Also, one can minimize using libraries that are already present on the page.

[3] Support Google Accounts

If your chrome extension requires user login, make it a point to support Google accounts. This is because when user is purchasing or installing the chrome extension from the chrome web store, odds are that the user is already logged in the google account at this point. So, reducing the no. of logins improves the user’s experience.

[4] Have an idea where user credentials are stored

So, you can store data either as window.localStorage OR chrome.storage.local. We at BinaryFolks, highly recommend chrome.storage.local. This is because window.localStorage is HTML5 storage. Unless that is running in the background, the data can be set into storage for a specific domain. So, there is no way data can be shared across different web pages unless you use localStorage in the background page.

chrome.storage.local, on the other hand, is designed for Chrome Extensions to store data in a more central location. This way each extension gets its own storage. With unlimited Storage permission, it can hold arbitrarily large amounts of data. Also, if extensions sync is enabled, it can be automatically synced between signed-in Chrome instances.

Also, according to Chrome’s basic guidelines, user data should be stored for a minimum of 30 days even after they cancel the subscription or uninstall the chrome extension. There might be a lot of reasons for users unsubscribing or uninstalling or even if their exit was intentional, they might sometimes come back.

[5] Follow basic guidelines while publishing chrome extension to store

Last but not least, once the chrome extension development is completed, be wise to choose your primary app category as that determines where your app will appear in the web store. Each category is further organized into logical groups and you will be displayed under the group heading in the filtered category.

Also, list keywords to improve search relevance, or to influence future versions of the category list. All chrome extensions go through an automated review process and then almost immediately published in the chrome store, in most cases. There may be some instances in which a manual review will be required before the app is published.

-:: Parting words::-

In order to stay ahead of the competition, customer-centric chrome extension development is a must. Whether you are just starting up or an established market leader, you’ll need to have a

consistent design, a detailed project spec for successful completion, and a clear chrome extension development vision for timely development and release.

Now that you have some knowledge about chrome extension development and also a great idea, I’m assuming, what are you waiting for? It’s time for you to find a suitable development team for your chrome extension development and turn your idea into reality. See a few examples of our Chrome extension development work here.

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