How to install a Chrome extension from GitHub

I recently had a web page with a long list of Twitter names that were not linked, like @mattcutts. I thought that someone has to have made a Chrome extension that would “linkify” names so they would be clickable like @mattcutts. And with a little bit of searching, I found twlinkfy.

It looked like a great extension, but Chrome (at least in Windows) can only install Chrome extensions from the Chrome Web Store in order to protect against malware.

So how would you go from source code on GitHub to an installed Chrome extension? Here’s how I did it: download the extension as a .zip by looking for the “Download ZIP” button on the right-hand side of the project page on GitHub. Now extract/unzip the code somewhere. Then in Chrome go to Menu (the three lines)->More tools->Extensions. Click the “Developer mode” checkbox and then click the button labeled “Load unpacked extension…”.

Now navigate in the resulting file dialog box until you are in the directory with a manifest.json file. For me, it was in the twlinkfy-master/ext directory. And that’s it! The extension loaded, and when I loaded the page with a long list of @names as text, they turned into clickable links.

You can even modify the local source code and reinstall or reload the extension. For example, I changed line 10 of twlinkfy.js to point to a different destination page on Twitter for links. I uninstalled and re-installed the extension and then the links went to a different page on Twitter.

As always, be careful of extensions/code that you install in case someone is attempting something malicious.

9 Responses to How to install a Chrome extension from GitHub (Leave a comment)

  1. That’s pretty cool. I didn’t even know you couldn’t install extensions outside the Chrome Web Store. Maybe it is because the Web Store has pretty much everything I want.

  2. Nice post.

    This twitter one sounds good. I usually use the Xpath helper to scrape the @usname and concatenate it back in Excel.

    I’d love to see a Chrom eExtension that gives a preview of the search results in google if you hovered over them (i.e the actual webpage of the result) without having to click into the result itself. I made a similar tool in Excel where you can see the page if you hover over the URL in excel, would like to see this in SERPs too.

  3. Doesn’t this result in a big scary warning every time you load Chrome though? I found they were becoming very aggressive on non-Store extensions, and trying to discourage this. It’s honestly really put me off Chrome, which is sad because I love Chrome as a browser.

  4. Thanks Matt. Its a surprise that you could find time to teach. This should be helpful to many GitHubbers.

  5. Even I do use twlinkfy for linking, Matt. Thanks for the tutorial on installing a chrome extension from github – WOW! wasn’t aware of so. Apart, I do have got some queries and would have been really great if you could have solve it.

    I’m working on a SEO Firm, of mine, named it Local SEO Metrics – still under progress – however I was worrying about certain things and wanted ’em to be cleared.

    1. Would it harm, if I link my new consultancy site to an authority blog in the footer with anchor?

    2. Do PBN be useful in post-penguin strategy to rank higher, and is it same as one of the honest mistake?

    3. Do commenting on sites with tons of comment (and is been spammed) initially harm my site?

    4. Do variation work? For instance, I’ve 3 main keywords: Best Shoe Shop, Buy Affordable Shoe, Buy Shoe Online. So Mixing ’em, like: Buy Best Affordable Shoe Online, will work in term of ranking and backlink building?

    5. What shall I opt for while creating the backlinks for my consultancy site, whether it should be WITH anchor, or naked URL, or partial match anchor texts?

    Waiting for your kind response, thanks.

  6. I know a better name for current 30 days challenge: Losing subscribers every day

  7. it’s pretty cool matt , i didn’t know that i can install extensions from git , but i love to browse web with FF , thanks , love ur blog , 😉

  8. I now use github for a few things on my sites as well. haven’t used it regarding an extension though. I’ll have to look into the twitter link thing. Sounds like a great idea and time saver.

  9. Good post Mr Cutts, I’ve always had issues with Github!