ItsAllText has long been one of my most useful firefox extensions. It allows you to edit the contents of a <textarea> in an external editor (i.e. vim, emacs, etc) and insert the results back into the web page.

I’ve been having trouble with itsalltext, so I scoped out other alternatives. One such extension is TextAid for chrome (Edit with Emacs is another, which thankfully you can use with vim despite the name ;)).

The funny thing about chrome extensions is that they’re not allowed to spawn new processes, which injects a large portion of awkwardness into an extension whose main goal is to spawn your text editor. The workaround is to run a server (locally) that receives a POST request with some text content. The server then spawns your favourite text editor and waits for you to edit its contents. When you’re done, the new text is send back as the response body. It seems a rather roundabout mechanism, but it’s nonetheless kind of neat. And entirely necessary to fit in with chrome’s security model - the chrome extension is just making a long-running ajax call.

So anyway. I took the python server from the emacs_chrome project, cleaned it up, added multithreading so you can edit multiple files at once, and packaged it all up as a 0install package (yep, I still love 0install). You can get it here, if you are ever in the need for such an outrageous piece of software.

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