Palagpat Coding

Fun with JavaScript, HTML5 game design, and the occasional outbreak of seriousness

I made a thing: Longbox

Sunday, May 20, 2018

A few weeks ago, I attended my second annual Quora retreat, in South Tahoe. I had a great time, and after working for the company for a year, I know a lot more people than I did last May. :)

Being who I am, though, I didn't spend the entire time socializing. And during my down time, I started tinkering on a project that's been on my wish list for over 5 years (not kidding — it was one of the first things I brainstormed when I joined Tinker/Heighten in 2013!)

Basically, I got tired of keeping tabs open for months on end just so I could catch up on that cool new webcomic or blog I would discover with a 10-year backlog (looking at you, Octopus Pie). After a few hours at the retreat and a few these past few weekends fixing bugs and working on art, it eventually became Longbox, the Chrome extension that I just published tonight.

Longbox logo

The concept is pretty straightforward: just go to the first entry on a site you want to read, then click the Longbox icon in your Chrome toolbar and add it to your reading pile. Now, read the site as usual, and Longbox will keep track of the most recent page you read. No need to keep a tab open for days and weeks on end until you catch up, or manually add and remove bookmarks every time you read -- next time you want to dive in, just click on the site in Longbox's reading pile, and pick up right where you left off!

It's pretty simple, and could've been a regular web app except for one small problem: it relies on a script that keeps track of your current page on a list of sites you give it, and that isn't something browsers let you do, even with iframes, due to the risk for malicious behavior. So I made it a browser extension, and if there's enough demand, I may consider porting it to other browsers as well.

Bearing in mind that this is a 1.0 release, if you try it and have feedback, I'd love to hear it.