Background Open For Reader In Chrome

09 Dec 2009

Chrome just learned how to do extensions thankfully.

I was already using Chrome as my main browser, mostly because it’s all-around smokin’ fast. There’s minor irritations, but the Chrome team sticks to a minimalistic and sleek world view, so the toggles I’m looking for are never going to show up as mainline options.

In addition to adding buttons and processing to Chrome, the extensions layer enables Greasemonkey-ish “content scripts”. In Google Reader, the default behaviour for the ‘V’ shortcut key is to open the RSS item in a new tab. Unfortunately, it opens it in a foreground tab rather than a background tab.

I like to burn through all the unread items, V-ing the ones that seem interesting, and then later go back and read all of them. This is quite cumbersome in Chrome when combined with non-MRU tab switching behaviour, and tab pinning. When Reader is pinned on the left, the number of keystrokes to get back to Reader isn’t “one”, and it isn’t even constant. So, you end up needing to grab the mouse to get back, which is irritating.


I made an extension for Chrome that adds “Shift-V” to Reader that opens the selected item in a background tab.

A couple slight hacks:

Yes, I’ve spent longer API spelunking and writing this post than I ever would have spent doing Ctrl-Shift-Tab/Ctrl-PgDn.

But, it’s just one of those things that reduces friction and irritation and makes me happy. Or at least sates the OCD beast for a while.