Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Get the old Pocket experience on Firefox (38.0.5 and above)

I have been using Pocket ever since it was called Read It Later and I really like it because it allows me to
  1. save web pages that interest me at the click of a button (in the address bar)
  2. assign meaningful custom tags to the saved pages
  3. search the saved pages on the basis of the title, url or tags (or lets me browse the entire list if need be)
  4. sync the saved list across devices

These capabilities are also provided by Firefox bookmarks (with Firefox sync providing the 4th capability), but the usage experience provided by Firefox bookmarks is not as engaging for the following reasons
  1. Pocket provides a much more seamless experience when it comes to all the three capabilities mentioned above. Pocket allows us to perform actions 1 to 3 from the same browser window which we are trying to save. Firefox bookmarks requires us to open the bookmarks window.
  2. Pocket provides a good visual indicator if a page is already in my list ,but this is not super critical for me.
This was going well for me till Firefox decided to integrate Pocket from version 38.0.5 onward. While integration should be beneficial to those who already use Pocket, the implementation was such that it reduced the 'seamless experience' that I seem to like about Pocket. We lost the following capabilities with the integrated experience as compared to what we had earlier
  1. No visual cue if a page is already in the pocket list
  2. No integrated search or browse capability - the capability does exists, but one needs to depend on the pocket web interface for the same - which is less than ideal ui experience for me.
If you are in the same boat as me, and are missing the old interface of Pocket, but at the same time want to have the latest version of Firefox (to avoid any security concerns), then follow the below process to get it working in the latest version of Firefox.


Get Pocket 3.0.6 version


Before you go ahead and download Pocket 3.0.6 extension from the below resources I would recommend you to use one from a computer where you already have it working. That way it is more secure as it was obtained from a trusted source.

from existing Firefox install

On a machine where Pocket is installed and still provides the required seamless experience, follow these steps :
  1. Start Firefox and enter about:support in the address bar.
  2. In the page that opens up, find the 'Show Folder' button next to 'Profile Folder' label. Click this button.
  3. In the folder that opens up, find a folder called 'extensions'
  4.  Within extensions, you will find a folder 'isreaditlater@ideashower.com'. This is the Pocket extension. Copy this folder into a usb drive.
from online locations

Since Pocket is no longer available for download/install in the Firefox addons page, you can get the extension from the below locations. Please use these links at your own risk
  1. Mega.nz 
  2. Softpedia
  3. Reddit
Once you have the xpi file downloaded rename it to zip and extract it into a folder. Rename the folder to isreaditlater@ideashower.com. Copy this folder into a usb drive.

Install Pocket extension on a new Firefox.

On the machine where you have Firefox with the embedded Pocket functionality, but need the interface of the earlier version, follow the steps below
  1. Start Firefox and enter about:support in the address bar.
  2. In the page that opens up, find the 'Show Folder' button next to 'Profile Folder' label. Click this button.
  3. Exit Firefox, ensure that the process is not running any more in task manager.
  4. In the folder that opens up, find a folder called 'extensions'
  5. Copy the folder isreaditlater@ideashower.com you obtained from the above step in this folder.
  6. Start Firefox, it will display a warning that an external program is getting installed, ensure that it is Pocket that is getting installed, and if so select allow.
  7. Once the installation completes, Firefox will restart again.
Post the restart you will notice the familiar Pocket interface is back. Enjoy !!

Note -
  1. I have tested the above approach with an existing version of Pocket (3.0.6.1-signed) that I obtained from my other laptop, but I believe it should also work with the xpi file method I mention above.
  2. The file link for mega.nz is 3.0.6.1-signed version and i compared the files in this link with the ones i had on my machine and they seem identical, so I have some confidence on that file.

10 comments:

  1. Replies
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  2. adress bar icon broken on firefox 50.

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  3. ty very much! Worked like a charm! I don't know how Firefox/Pocket thought the integrated Pocket was better than the original extension. It's really terrible. Happy to have the old one back :)

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  4. When I start firefox the folder disappears from the extensions folder

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