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Going Beyond Programming When Writing Firefox Extensions

Those who write software code often prefer to focus solely on writing software code. However, as software is written for individuals who would use it, the actual writing of software is only one part of a larger picture. Some coders, myself included, write software to address their own personal needs. However, what these coders write tends to be made publicly available for others who may be interested in the software solutions that these coders write. And when programmers want software that they write initially for themselves to be made available for others, they must, appropriately enough, go beyond doing solely what they would prefer to do. The further from actual coding some programmers get when working on software projects, the less enthusiastic they may be about work on their projects. However, as software is ultimately for people, those who write it must remember how software fits into a larger picture.

I have found it quite necessary to go beyond merely coding in the time that I have worked on my Firefox extension titled “Bookmark Current Tab Set”. In particular, I have found that informing individuals of what I have written and why it is useful to be a challenge. As you may know, the best ideas for new innovations are irrelevant if the marketing of them is not sufficiently good. I previously had some difficulty in trying to inform users why this extension that I had written was relevant and useful. I had much difficulty trying to determine what the best name for the extension would be before deciding on “Bookmark Current Tab Set” as its name. And even after the long length of time that I spent considering a name for the extension, I am still not sure if “Bookmark Current Tab Set” is a good name. I needed to choose a name that describes what the extension does and how it is useful, without it being excessively long. Writing a good description of what the extension does was also a challenge. It, like the “Bookmark All” extension upon which my extension was based, could have been misunderstood as a redundant extension that does not perform something that Firefox can already perform. Describing why this extension mattered was as important as it was challenging.

I have also had some difficulty informing potential users of my extension about its existence, let alone its purpose. Aside from uploading the extension to, there did not seem to be much that I could have done in order to inform users about the availability of this extension. However, an opportunity for me to advertise this extension occurred when I viewed this Lifehacker article. It was an article that included a tip on how to copy URLs of bookmarks in a bookmark folder in Firefox to the clipboard. And since the extension that I wrote was related to bookmark folders, I thought I would mention in the comments section of the article that knowledge of this tip can make my extension even more useful. I actually was afraid that my comment would be considered a shameless attempt at drawing attention to my extension. After posting my comment though, it did receive a reply. Unfortunately, the reply indicated that my concern about this extension being misunderstand as redundant was a valid one.

Perhaps if I make this extension less like a feature already in Firefox by adding more features to it, it will be less likely to be misunderstood. And addition of new features to the extension will make it easier for me to convince users that this extension is useful. I am currently working on adding new features to the Bookmark Current Tab Set extension. And perhaps adding features to it and maintaining it may be the best way to make people want it. Posting reports about what is being done with this extension to improve on it might be the best way to inform people of this extension and its usefulness.