WebChunks: even better than the real thing

One of the new features introduced by Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 (and still present in Beta 2) is WebSlices, a cool feature that lets you subscribe not to a page but to a summarized version of it including images and styling, provided the web developer has defined a way to access it. Not too long after, Daniel Glazman, of Nvu fame, released a quick implementation of WebSlices called WebChunks, a Firefox extension, that was subject to the same limitation.

But WebChunks 0.3, released today, breaks all the rules and lets you subscribe to any element in any page: go to any page, press the WebChunks button, and select Create your own webchunk in current page. Then you just have to click on the element you want to subscribe to, and you’re done. And it does it without the previous dependency on the Greasemonkey extension.

WebChunks is a dream. It can effectively replace several other extensions in a few seconds. For example I have set it to check for today’s featured Firefox add-on, weather in San Juan, Lima and Geneva, the status of hurricane Ike, a couple of eBay items and even the current Mozilla Links poll, all within minutes and without the need of any other extension.

It is not free of a few weaknesses though. The most evident is the use of a full toolbar which may be too much estate for “just” staying current. I also noticed that it is not synchronized across windows so you may get a wrong idea of what webchunks you really have if you add or delete some.

I would also like an option to share webchunks providing some kind of address I could email, twit, whatever and have the other party add it to his webchunks. Some better default styling would also be welcomed.

It is a very nice extension that could in fact even drop the WebSlices implementation that inspired it, as it has largely superseded it. Totally recommended.

WebChunks 0.3 is available from Daniel’s Disruptive Innovations only at this time, but should be updated on Mozilla Add-ons in the next few hours.

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