pyehouse
30Sep/110

Bad News For MiniStumble (StumbleUpon Safari Extension)

As you may be aware, I've been working on a StumbleUpon Safari extension to mimic the functionality of the Firefox plugin. I've written about it here on my blog, created a page devoted to the MiniStumble project and also attempted to gather input from the StumbleUpon forums.

Yesterday, my StumbleUpon forum posts were removed, the only message in the otherwise automated email being "not legal". I then submitted a request for more information on the StumbleUpon feedback page. The following is the response I received:

Your request (#######) has been updated.
You can add a comment by replying to this email.

[Name Redacted], Sep-30 05:17 pm (PDT):
Hello Lynn,

Thanks for writing to us,

While we appreciate your enthusiasm for StumbleUpon, unfortunately, we do not allow third parties to create StumbleUpon extensions and we do not recommend you to invest resources on building such an extension from us. Our legal team may be contacting you with more details.

Thank you for your interest!

Best,

[Name Redacted]
StumbleUpon Support Team

Read our blog: http://www.stumbleupon.com/sublog/
Be our friend on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StumbleUpon
Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/StumbleUpon
Check out our YouTube videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/stumbleupon

Stumbleupon, Sep-29 03:44 pm (PDT):
I'm developing a Safari extension for StumbleUpon based upon the code in the Firefox plugin. This would provide similar functionality to the web toolbar but because it doesn't embed the stumbled content into an iframe it is resistant to frame breaking logic. Additionally it would be always on rather than having to use the toolbar. You know all the reasons it is better to use a plugin/extension in lieu of the web toolbar.

I had posted some links on the forums in response to people asking for just this. Today they were all removed and the only text I got in the email was "not legal".

I would like to know if the implication is that there is an actual legal issue or if that was intended to just mean "not allowed on our forums".

Furthermore I would like to know if there is any chance that I could receive assistance on this, or perhaps offer my own assistance to you in developing a proper, StumbleUpon officially sanctioned Safari extension.

There is definitely desire for a Safari extension to use in place of the web toolbar with the obvious benefits.

I would absolutely love to hear back from you to help clarify things for me.

Regards,

Lynn

As you can see, the claim is being made that not only do they disapprove but that what I am doing is illegal. I'm not sure what exactly is illegal about it. I have my own ideas on why they are as protective as they are about outside parties working on something like this but regardless it would appear that I'm kicking against the goads as it were. As this was intended to be a free offering for myself and other Safari users, to improve upon the web toolbar experience, I have no inclination to fight StumbleUpon on this, especially if they plan to bring in lawyers.

I'm going to update the project page and remove the link to the extension itself and take it down as well. Had I known it would meet with this resistance I wouldn't have gotten anyone's hopes up on bringing this forth. My hope is that they will take the hint that this is really something that people want and that some are willing to invest time and effort into doing if it isn't done for them, and therefore build one themselves with all the bells and whistles. Based on what I see in the Firefox plugin, I think it is absolutely a manageable goal to get a similar capability going on Safari.

23Sep/110

More MiniStumble Hacking Fun (We Have v2.0!)

Just a quickie here. We have a version 2.0 of MiniStumble, the StumbleUpon Safari extension bar! You can find more details on the MiniStumble page.

21Sep/110

Fun With MiniStumble – Hacking a StumbleUpon Safari Extension

Image of stick figure stumbling over rockYou may not be aware that I've created a teensy little StumbleUpon Safari extension. If not, go check it out. Apple supposedly has approved it for inclusion in their gallery, but I've checked and I don't yet see it. Regardless, as the page says it is a minimally functional StumbleUpon Safari extension, only providing a few page redirects and using the badge API to query for the view count and page ID from their database. That's all well and good but you can't use it vote on things, and it offers no protection from iframe breakers. What's a stumbler to do!?

Well, keeping in mind that this whole mess is SOLELY being developed because for whatever reason the powers that be at StumbleUpon.com have yet to develop their own Safari extension, I've been hacking around with their Firefox extension, reverse engineering it in order to do what needs doing in mine. It's been fun and I'm making some headway but I'm not exactly sure when the next release will be. I have login capability working, but I haven't yet tested doing anything useful once logged in.

One thing I'm a little concerned about is the fragility of what it is I'm doing. There is no official API for any of this. Assuming for a moment I actually manage to rip the guts out of the Firefox extension and make it work for Safari, there's no guarantee the interface won't change later on. They might alter the FF functionality such that it uses different calls. They might break some single interface that causes my whole little project to fall to pieces. Because there is no official StumbleUpon API, I have no guarantees that any of this will continue working. But, I'm enjoying doing this little bit of hackery and it seems like something useful.

I should mention too that the Firefox extension developers were thorough. I was thinking of something quick and dirty, but there are quite a few corner cases dealt with in the code and as I start bringing things over, I'm becoming torn as to whether to try to rewrite the few bits I want to pull in or try to port the entire back end over. The pain of missing those corner cases and coding for them myself or the pain of suffering through roadblock after roadblock of making Firefox extension-compatible Javascript work in a Safari extension environment. I'm leaning toward the former though the latter would, I think, be a more thorough implementation. I don't doubt that the checks in the FF extension are necessary (like making sure to check for rapid clicking on the Stumble icon and not causing multiple async stumble requests), I may start off with a more fragile implementation in some respects, just to get it out there, followed by some touch up afterward to clean things up. I'll be honest, I'm not doing this with my usual forethought, mostly because I think at some level I still see it as a "small" project.

Anyhow, I just figured I would mention what's going on with it. Bear with me and mind the mess.