After a long period of neglect — seven months, according to my last blog post — I have updated my Chrome extension, Panel View for Keep, to version 2.2.

This version removes much of what I had built as an attempted workaround (in lieu of an API, which I think will never exist), and therefore transforms the extension into much more of a bare-bones, single-use kind of extension.

One of the biggest things on my wish list has been inter-window (or at least inter-tab) communication. But as Google has never implemented a real API for creating a new note in Keep, what I had written was a total hack. What’s more, due to the changes in Keep’s UI, the hacky element targeting and JavaScript events kept breaking.

So I decided that enough was enough, and I removed it altogether. On the bright side, the removal of contextMenus means that it’s one less permission to worry about.

The other problem Panel View for Keep has been having is opening straight to a panel. As far as I know, panels are still an experimental feature and they must be manually enabled in chrome://flags (I’m not linking it because Chrome won’t take you there if you click it. You have to manually put it in the address bar and go). For whatever reason, upon starting a new browser session, you would see this upon starting the extension:

Untitled-22

Loading the website inside the panel would fail, and Chrome would bring up Keep in a normal tab. However, once Keep had loaded in the tab, you could click “Send to Panel” (which the extension injects into the page) and it would open a panel properly.

So I decided to change things up, and now the extension opens up in a tab every time. Once the tab is open, you can click “Send to Panel” and (provided you’ve enabled panels) it will open up in a panel. (If you haven’t enabled panels, it will open in a small popup window.)

keep2

There is one correction I need to make. I said the extension will open in a tab every time; that’s not precisely true. If you’ve opened the extension and already sent it to a panel, then closed the panel, opening the extension again will open a panel directly. This remains true (and seems to work flawlessly, according to my testing) as long as the browser session is active. If you quit and restart Chrome, it will default back to a tab, and you’ll have to repeat the process.

I’m not happy about the changes I’ve had to make to Panel View for Keep, but it makes sense to remove features that either don’t work or are hacks. I had hoped that Google would have added some API functionality to add to what I think is a really awesome webapp, but they never have. Even their own Chrome app for Keep doesn’t really add anything on top of what the website already provides — it just opens it in a new window. (My opinion is that as a note-taking app, it’s more useful as an always-on-top mini-window, i.e., a panel.)

In addition to publishing this latest version to the Chrome Store, I’ve also committed the latest changes to the Github project.

Fork me on GitHub

Husband. Daddy. Programmer. Artist. I’m not an expert, I just play one in real life.

  • ventdivin

    Thanks for this awesome extension

  • Your extension is really helpful. Thanks for fixing this for us. :)