As of September 2019, Google Chrome accounted for about 70 percent of the global desktop internet browser market share, increasing by around 13 percentage points in just three years. It’s fast, user-friendly, simple and secure - but its real strength lies in its extensive library of extensions and add ons.
With the huge variety of Chrome extensions available in the Chrome store, one can add new functionality or modify existing functionalities to make it more convenient for the user. More often than not, 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!
Before deciding on whether or not to develop chrome extensions, let’s see what small extensions of Gmail can mean for a business. Email tracking, meeting scheduling, scheduling your outgoing emails, offline email lookups, grammar checks, etc are some of the many things that you can access with the Gmail extension without opening any extra chrome tab.
Extensions have the power to propel businesses to new heights. 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 developing chrome extensions.
Suppose you’re thirsty and you’re near a McDonalds outlet. So you get in & have a look at the menu and you find two choices :
Given your purpose is to quench your thirst, the single coke will suffice. So chances are you wouldn’t opt for the excess that you don’t need!
Changing context, coming to the software scenario, you can visualize an app as the combo meal (serving multiple purpose & feature-rich) and the chrome extension, as the single coke (built around specific functionalities to simplify browser experience).
Technically, a chrome extension is a small program built using web technologies like CSS, JS, HTML etc. to modify the browser experience or help with advanced browsing functionality.
Custom chrome extension development targets acing a single task that the browser otherwise doesn’t help with. So how to identify such ‘tasks’?
Ideally, the kind of tasks that can be performed best with a chrome extensions should :
Now back to the point, what all can you achieve with a custom chrome extension development?
(Also, check out the benefits of developing a custom LinkedIn extension here)
This question answer round is important because understanding the purpose behind developing a chrome extension 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.
So, if your extension solves a particular problem and is pretty unique, then, you might just go ahead and develop one. Assuming you are not a developer yourself, you would first need to actually hire chrome extension developers to do the job for you.
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 first available chrome extension development company, it’s not advisable. It’s better that you do your due diligence so that you make sure that you are going to be delivered with the chrome extension that you envisioned.
Before the development starts, make sure you have minimal knowledge of the chrome architecture. I'm not advising to go read all the docs, but a vague idea of how it works overall would be good for you.
One very important thing to keep in mind is that though chrome extensions are useful, they can sometimes happen in a way that they increase browser memory consumption, thus making the browser slow.
If your chrome extension requires user login, make it a point to support Google accounts. This is because when a 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.
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 extension stats
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.
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.
While having your own plan will somehow manage to get you a completed chrome extension,
Here’s a tried and tested route map to a ‘successful’ chrome extension development.
As mentioned multiple times above, chrome extension & a SINGLE goal, together, build the foundation for a sustainable market presence. So, the first step is to determine the goal and then, brainstorm over functionalities that ease the process of reaching the goal.
Chrome Extension Development - Step 2 : Find a development team with a portfolio showcasing similar projects
A recipe doesn’t guarantee a good dish unless there’s a pro chef waiting to take it up.
Similarly a great chrome extension development plan handed over to the wrong development partner is a certain recipe to disaster.
So, find a development team with not just self-proclaimed expertise but also significant experience in chrome extension development.
No point guessing the chosen tech partner for ‘cutting edge startups’ to ‘Fortune 50 companies’, BinaryFolks, checks both the boxes and more!
Hop in an e-meet - Bring in your vision to the table - Answer questions to clarify your desired features to the ‘T’ - Add insights from Xooglers, adept Amazonians & ex- Salesforce engineers - Flesh out a detailed Business Requirement Document - Voila! You have the scope of your chrome extension development ready, lined by competitive advantage !
Oops! Successful completion of projects across 15+ countries and 94% returning clients later, our process has started looking like ‘the standard’ 3rd step, backed by happy clients.
So in general, you discuss your requirements with the development team of your choice and get your scope finalized. Why no process break-up here, you wonder? Because, mostly you’d get an instant yes and an ‘okay got it’ under a time that’s probably lesser than what it took you to understand your own idea yourself!
Slip in the shoes of your customers. Know as a customer, what element will be best noticed at what position. Competitor’s analysis will get you halfway there, your intuition would help with the rest. Regardless what purpose it’s built to serve, make sure to keep the UI simple and clean.
The cream of the chrome extension development process undoubtedly comes out of the development phase, which is the 4th and the most important step. The two major aspect of development are -
Choosing the right development partner in the first place is your gateway to the best of both!
Development phase isn’t complete without a repeating feedback and fix loop closely following it. So,testing is the obvious next & the final step of the chrome extension development process.
Pro Tip - Remember testing is NOT a pre-launch-only activity and so, testing needs to be carried out even after launch to spot & work on every possible optimization opportunity.
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In order to stay ahead of the competition, customer-centric chrome extensions are 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 vision for timely development and release.
Browser extensions are proving to be one of the biggest enabling technologies all geared to
optimizing our workflow and making us a tad bit more productive.
No, Chrome extensions are not going to be deprecated as they are important for improving the productivity and customization of the users. However, chrome does plan on deprecating its old manifest version called Manifest V2 to replace it with the newer Manifest V3 version.
The exact cost of developing a Chrome extension can vary depending on the complexity and features you want to include. Additionally, the type of service providers and their expertise also play an important role in determining the overall cost of your Chrome extensions. If you choose to leverage cutting-edge technologies within your solutions that may spike your project cost.
Previously, with the old manifest version it had to run background scripts that used to share the same memory as the browser used. This used to cause lags and inconsistencies in the user experience. However, the new Manivest V3 uses service workers that run uses a separate memory for the browsers which helps users to run as many extensions as they want without any disruptions.
Memory wise it won’t be an issue because of the new manifest version that is built while keeping in mind that users like to operate on multiple Chrome extensions these days. However, it is recommended to only keep the important extensions for better manageability and user experience.
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