Attention Firefox Users!

I’ve finished writing an extension for Firefox which is designed to collect browsing statistics from people. Those statistics are interesting on their own, but they will also inform my decision of how to continue in my M.Sc. thesis, which involves redoing the Back menu to be more useful.

The extension does not send the actual URLs to our server, and it won’t change the way your browse (which would kill the point, actually). There’s an FAQ page here: http://www.cs.yorku.ca/~orner/webstats.html

I’d like as many people as possible to install it, so if anyone can help, I’d appreciate it!

EDIT: OK, ready to go. It’s over 1500 lines of code, but it looks like it’s pretty solid. Took me about two months, 4-5 hours a day, to code. -_-

I’ll be installing it as soon as I can.

Edit: Rawr.

Dun.

I’ll install it as soon as I get a chance. I’m at college right now.

I have a few questions about it and I hope they don’t make me sound like a prick, because I don’t mean them that way. I am sure others have asked them to you before.

  1. What is your aim for this? I am assuming it is for either advertisers or administrators.

  2. Partly based on 1, but do you plan on making it an open source item or a packaged item for possible profit later on? Along with that, I would assume it is not hard to change the code to send the actual sites rather than the random information you have it doing currently. Is that something you are ok with? Would you ever add that as a configurable option for whoever is collecting the stats?

I am just very pro-privacy and am wary of any kind of information gathering especially if it involves advertising unless I can see exactly what is being gathered. The faq explains that well enough, but I’m still curious about possible future changes.

  1. It’s for a Master’s thesis. No company or job involved. Strictly academic.

  2. It’s a one-time deal. It has no use other than this particular study. There are no future changes. It won’t be released in any way, shape, or form.

Done, I hope you find the information useful.

I’ve been needing a reason to use Firefox other than nerds telling me to, so maybe this will do it.

Unfortunately, I’m running 1.5b. But I would suggest, once you’re done, donating the code to the Mozilla team so that they can use it to better their browser perhaps?

I sparingly use Firefox when IE is giving trouble, but I’m willing to switch for a while if it helps you.

Great. :sunglasses:

The current code isn’t anything unbelievable, it just logs very specific things in very specific ways, so there’s a lot of event listening and stuff like that. It’s written entirely in JavaScript. So there isn’t much for Mozilla to benefit from.

As for the rewrite of the history mechanisms, I’ll have it available as a general extension on addons.mozilla.org. Generally these things don’t get put into the main Firefox base, so it’ll probably stay as an extension.

Dumb question: How do I install it?

It’s installed, I don’t use Firefox much though.

Cala: Just download the file (right-click -> Save As), go to File->Open, and select it.

It defaults to opening with Power Archiver?

Cid, I didn’t know you went to York. I go there too. In fact I’m making this post from the MLC lab.

Cala: Open it from within Firefox. I.e. go to File->Open from the Firefox menu, don’t double-click it. The XPI is really just a zip file in fancy clothing, so that’s probably why PowerArchiver opens it.

Lex: Are you in computer science?

You’re really lucky you don’t log URLs

There’d be too much porn from me :frowning:

Cid: I was in my first two years. I switched to IT after the dot com bust and figured I’d need a more versatile degree.

Installed. Good luck with your project, Cid!