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Websense redirect – My First Chrome Extension

··304 words·2 mins

At my (current) workplace we have a webfiltering mechanism powered by WebSense. I’ve ranted enough number of times on twitter about websense’s stupid filtering mechanisms & the bizarre classification that it uses to classify websites.

Recently, I found that fetching the mobile(aka text-only) versions of webpages using instapaper/google web transcoder would result in me being able to read the content - which was a very nice alternative because majority of the time, I’d be reading up on posts which are text heavy in nature. It was getting irritating to open to a webpage, encounter a blocked page, open another tab & copy-paste the URL to instapaper to grab the text version. I asked my peers are Super User:

is there a ModRewrite-like extension for chrome ? :-s

TomWij pointed me towards Privoxy but that was not what I needed. So I decided to build a Chrome Extension. The first version of the extension I built fairly quickly, but required manual intervention by way of clicking on the Extension icon to trigger the redirect - clearly not an ideal solution. Taking a deeper look at Chrome Extension API docs, I realized that I needed to build a content script.

Building up on this - I created a simple extension which checks for websense blocking pattern and if so - redirects it to instapaper which then fetches the text-only version. While this extension is not really the best-thing-since-sliced-bread, it’s of immense use to me. (And of course, I learnt to build a Chrome Extension, which I always wanted to do).

There are certain bugs, but I can live with those for the moment. If you need a similar thing - do try out my extension — it’s hosted on my servers & can be downloaded from over here. Let me know if you run into problems.