QuickOWL Add-On/Extension

Problem Statement

For many users; regular work may involve copying text from one web page and pasting it in another web page to accomplish a task. Here task can be 1) Searching 2) Opening some web page where the input is copied text. If the copying and pasting is repeated multiple times a day, too much amount of time gets wasted in copying and going to the target web page and pasting it there.

Solution

QuickOWL extension allows passing of selected text from a web page to favourite web pages through custom contextmenu. Once the extension is installed, all it takes to do searching or opening a page with selected text as input is: Selecting a text → Right Click → Choose QuickOWL → Choose the favourite web page as target. Selected text will be passed as input to favourite web page and it will be opened in a new tab.

Demo - of Chrome extension

Demo - of Safari extension

Screenshots

Sample data

Sample data used in the above screenshots can be downloaded from this Google Doc link. Once downloaded the sample_urls.txt file can be selected for import in Import URLs option.

Supported Clients

ClientNavigation for Add-on/Extension PageInstructions/Comments
Google Chrome (Browser) Window → Extensions → Find more add-ons The extension link should be opened in Google Chrome/Brave/Opera browser. Though Opera may complain it's from another source, the Chrome extension works seamlessly in Opera.
Mozilla Firefox (Browser) Tools → Add-ons and themes → Find more add-ons The extension link should be opened in Firefox browser.
Apple Safari (Browser) Safari → Preferences (⌘,) → Extensions The extension link can be opened from any browser in macOS.
Microsoft Edge (Browser) Window → Extensions → Find more add-ons The extension link should be opened in Microsoft Edge browser.
Thunderbird (Email Client) Tools → Add-ons and themes → Find more add-ons → quickowl (type and press enter key) For Thunderbird, one should reach the add-on using the instructions in Navigation part to see + Add to Thunderbird button.

Work-in-progress

ClientStatusWorkaround
Outlook (Email Client) In progress Outlook email can be opened, using URL: https://outlook.office.com, in any of the browsers where QuickOWL add-on/extension is supported. The QuickOWL add-on/extension for browser will work for Outlook emails as well.
Slack (Chat client) Not started Slack can be opened, using URL: https://slack.com, in any of the browsers where QuickOWL add-on/extension is supported. The QuickOWL add-on/extension for browser will work for Slack messages as well.

Which URLs work with QuickOWL?

Any internal work related site or usual web pages (https:/google.com, https://duckduckgo.com, https://youtube.com, https://twitter.com) which support URL parameters (https://twitter.com/search?q= | https://www.google.com/search?q= | https://duckduckgo.com/?q=) can be used with QuickOWL. To know more about URL parameters please refer: https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Learn/Common_questions/What_is_a_URL

Implementation Details

With respect to implementation the extension uses two core functionalities of browser extensions API:

  1. storage - to store the user defined URLs locally in browser's storage
  2. contextmenu - to dynamically create contextmenu entry for the newly added/modified URL

Following additional privileges are used to improve the functionality of the extension:

  1. unlimitedStorage - to allow the extension to store data more than 5MB in browser's local storage
  2. downloads - to allow the user to download the saved URLs from browser to a .txt file (to take backup or to share with others)

The storage APIs used are local storage APIs:

  1. chrome.storage.local (For Chrome, Edge, Brave, Opera)
  2. browser.storage.local (For Firefox, Safari, Thunderbird)

Above APIs ensure the data is stored locally in browser and not synced to any other device. The main reason being some of the corporate URLs are sensitive and shouldn't be exposed outside.

Privacy Policy

  1. No personal information is collected, saved or transferred by this extension.
  2. The extension stores the user defined URLs (user data) locally inside browser's storage. This storage is local to the browser, and is accessible only through browser's extension APIs. So, users can be assured that their URLs (user data) is well protected, and there is no easy way to access it directly. This data never gets transmitted in any form.
  3. Though after installing the Permissions in Extension page says "Read your browsing history", the extension/add-on doesn't actually do any reading of browsing history. The extension focuses on sending the selected text to the user defined contextmenu URLs. No extra reading, no additional background activities.

Thanks

Special thanks to user wOxxOm, who had helped to resolve some of the blocking issues while developing this extension/add-on for Chrome & Firefox.

Support


Feedback/Enhancement Requests Received

  1. Request: Support for adding separators. Response: Implemented. ☑
  2. Issue: URLs getting duplicated while adding entries in extension Options page in Safari. Response: Currently triaging the cause.

Developed and maintained by bprasanna.dev
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