I like Cilantro with my Avocado #

Ann and I have been using Avocado for the past few months to stay in touch while we're apart. It's been working well for us, but it didn't have a great workflow for sharing links (beyond copy-and-paste). Since it now has an API, I thought I could perhaps fix this with a Chrome extension.

Cilantro screenshotCilantro is that extension (source). It's a straighforward browser action that lets you share the current tab's URL to Avocado. It relies on you being signed into Avocado to make requests (and scrapes a bit of the homepage's JavaScript to get the current user's signature -- Taylor and/or Chris, please don't rename your variables).

About the only clever thing that the extension does is that if you're currently in a Google Reader tab, it will pick up the currently selected item's link to share. It relies on Reader exposing a getPermalink() JavaScript hook1. Chrome extension code normally runs in an isolated world when pointed at a page, so it can't see that function. However, by "navigating" the tab to a javascript: URL, it's able to invoke it, since that code runs in the "main" world. To get at the result, it adds a message listener and then has the javascript: snippet do a postMessage (since the main world can invoke the isolated world's event handlers). This is described in more detail in the extensions documentation.

For the sake of full disclosure, lest you think my graphics skills have suddenly improved, Avocado co-founders Jenna and Chris are friends of mine and they spruced up Cilantro's UI to look less programmer-y minimalist.

  1. This was originally added so that Google Notebook (R.I.P.) could extract the current item when clipping from Reader. Since then, Instapaper's bookmarklet has also started to use it.

1 Comment

Just started using Avacado myself but since my mobile platform is unsupported at the time, I primarily use the browser. Any chance of incorporating a notification into your extension so we can be notified in Chrome of new posts?

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