Browser Add-ons, Facebook, Facebook Image-to-Email, Mozilla Firefox

Facebook Image-to-Email: Back from the grave

A while back I mentioned that Facebook Image-to-Email (a Firefox extension that converts Facebook’s e-mail address images to plain-text) was broken after some unknown change was made by Facebook. I am happy to announce that it is working again, after I re-tooled it with a different method for accessing the image data of those e-mail address images.

You can download this new release from the Facebook Image-to-Email homepage. If you don’t care to know more about the technical details, stop reading now.

Technical wrap-up: In previous versions, I was injecting JavaScript into the document and doing all of the processing of the images there. This is a pain, but because webpage JavaScript is not allowed to access the data of images from a different domain (and JavaScript running in the chrome couldn’t seem to do it either), there wasn’t much choice. At some point, Facebook made a change to their pages or the server that their images come from, and this method of parsing the images broke.

What I’ve done is this: instead of accessing the images directly, the extension now takes a screenshot of the entire page (allowed under the browser’s security policies), locates the portions of the page that contain the e-mail address images, and parses them out entirely from the browser’s chrome, a beautiful place with much looser security restrictions than a webpage. (I’ve also added character maps for “-” (hyphen) and the “r.” sequence that wasn’t being parsed properly.)

(Sidenote with relevance to current events: this extension is now a hop, skip, and a jump away from being able to be used to parse and download all of your friends’ information, including e-mail addresses. If Scoble had only waited, he could have avoided this whole mess.)


One comment on “Facebook Image-to-Email: Back from the grave

  1. Washington, DC says:

    Have you ever considered adding coding that would slow down the speed of the program? Maybe have it convert only 2 pages a minute. That would allow the program to convert almost 3,000 contacts in one day. It would not be a quick satisfaction, however it would probably cover up the non human activity.

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