Rumors of the death of homegrown Chrome extensions have been greatly exaggerated!
A few months ago, I was overjoyed when I wrote about the Canary chrome browser’s abilities. Specifically, I was using it as a developer platform, experimenting with the custom Chrome Extensions. To stem the tide of fake or maliciously coded chrome extensions, recently, Canary updates require chrome extensions be verified as coming from their official store.
I wanted to share a potentially better and long-term solution. Chromium is the open source version of Chrome that is community run (supported by developers and Google to help improve security and features). As an open source solution anyone can branch out the code to make their own custom version of Chrome without royalty.
Here is Chromium’s response to developers upon the change to Canary:
So how do you get started? Firstly you need to know that Chromium does NOT auto-update. When you download it you get that day’s version. If you are using this browser for testing on only a few websites, you are likely safe to update monthly. You can easily follow Chromium on social media or receive email updates to listen for major updates. Secondly you can run Chromium as a portable application. Sometimes referred to as a thin-client, these applications can be run without being installed.
New Steps + old ones:
1. Download latest Chromium directly here https://download-chromium.appspot.com/It will save as a single zipped file The program is a “portable application” (so you don’t actually need to install it) All settings are saved in the folder so you can install this on a thumb drive or backup disk if you wish
2. Unzip the whole folder to a place you will not delete it. It can run from your desktop if you don’t delete it.
3. Click on > chome-win32
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4. You’ll see a ton of files (this is the whole program remember)
5. In detailed view click on the type filter to sort A-Z (Applications will be just below any folders) see pic below
6. Click on Chrome to launch application
7. Right click the icon again and pin to task bar or start menu (so you can find it again)
I know this is a royal pain, but if you want to take it to the next level, then it’s worth the headache.
You can distribute a custom chrome extension with simple drag and drop ease. Enterprises can push extensions through admin controls too. You can also technically create and push updates to your own custom browser. Not aspiring that far yet, but the switch to a full-fledged developer browser means the sky is the limit.