Backpack extension for Firefox Jason 30 Nov 2005

25 comments Latest by Ben Mills

If you use Firefox and Backpack, you may want to check out the Backpack Pages Firefox extension that adds a Backpack icon to your Firefox toolbar. A click of the icon reveals all your Backpack pages. Pretty sharp.

25 comments so far (Jump to latest)

Jeremy Flint 30 Nov 05

It should be pointed out that after you install the extension, you have to go to the customize panel for the toolbar and add the icon.

For some reason, it doesn’t place it there automatically like the extension does.

ReinierMeenhorst / 30 Nov 05

Thanks. I didn’t know about this. This morning I was already pleasantly surprised by the extension for Firefox, but this is even better. Although I must say that the icon looks very ‘jagged’ - which doesn’t match the design and functionality of the product it adds to.

Thumbs up for the option to open backpack in unfocused tabs!

Jeremy Flint 30 Nov 05

I agree that the icon looks really bad. Especailly compared to the icons and the other default interface elements.

Looks like they just grabbed the icon off the page and shrunk it.

Maybe 37s can send them a higher quality version to include in the next release of the extension.

Ben Mills 30 Nov 05

I’ve been pestering Jason for an image that I can scale. I had to take the image off the website and shrink it as best I could.

If there are any Photoshop experts that can take the image on the Backpack website and give me clean 32 x 32, 24 x 24 and 16 x 16 png fileds, I’d very much appreciate it. I should mention that they need to have a transparent background.

I’ll work on adding the button directly to the toolbar, but you should only have to do this once. Even when the extension is upgraded, the button should stay put.

If anybody has any feature requests, I’d be happy to hear them.

JF 30 Nov 05

Ben, there’s a hi-res version online:

Ben Mills 30 Nov 05

Thanks Jason. That’s perfect.

Reinier Meenhorst / 30 Nov 05

@Ben: Perphaps you could ask Matt from, he has created a very nice Backpack Dashboard widget and he uses a great quality PNG with transparancy.

As for feature requests: I’d like to see a link to ‘Settings’ and if this is possible ‘Make new Page’

Jeremy Flint 30 Nov 05

Maybe make it possible to set the order of the pages in the dropdown…so that they match the order of the pages in the menu on Backpack.

Ben Mills 30 Nov 05

Jeremy, I’m interested in the problem you’re having with the ordering of the pages in the drop down. I see the same ordering. The only difference between the drop down and the sidebar in Backpack is that the drop down includes the pages not in the sidebar (the Backpack API doesn’t give me a way to determine this) and the drop down includes friends’ pages. I really need to tuck the friends’ pages into a submenu. That’ll be in the next version.

Eric Etheridge 30 Nov 05

Ok, I’m baffled. Installed the extension, but not sure what “go to the customize panel for the toolbar and add the icon” means.

More literal instructions please. Thanks

Ben Mills 30 Nov 05

Eric, after installing the extension, right click on the toolbar and click customize (or go to View —> Toolbar —> Customize…). The window that pops up is the “customize panel”. You should see the Backpack Pages button at the bottom. Drag the button onto the main toolbar and click Done.

Now right click on the button and click options. Enter your Backpack username and API key (the API key can be found on your Account page in Backpack) and click OK.

Now right click on the button and click Refresh List. Within a few seconds the button should become active.

From that point on, the button should be active whenever you open the browser.

Ben Mills 30 Nov 05

I just uploaded a new version of the extension that replaces the jaggedy images with new high quality ones. You can get the new version at

Jason, thanks for supplying the high res image.

Adam James 30 Nov 05


On a semi-related note, are movable tabs a new feature? I remember trying to do it once awhile ago and it wouldn’t.

Jeremy Flint 30 Nov 05

Ben - the pages are in the same order as listed on the sidebar, except that my main page, named “today”, shows up alphabetically in the list, rather than as the first page, which is closer to how it shows up in backpack. Not a big deal.

Adam - movable tabs are a new native feature. it used to require an extension to do that.

Eric Etheridge 30 Nov 05


Many thanks. Got it.

Rahul 01 Dec 05

Isn’t this the same as just having a folder on your bookmarks toolbar with your Backpack pages in it? I’d like to see some added functionality as an ‘extension’ that can’t be replicated with basic toolbar/Firefox functionality.

Ben Mills 01 Dec 05

Jeremy, the Backpack API gives me no way of determining what is your home page. Otherwise, I would put the home page at the top.

Rahul, the idea is that you don’t have to keep a long list of pages synched up with a folder of bookmarks. There’s also some extra functionality coming along. One thing I definitely want to do is add a feature so that users can move list items between pages.

Dave MacEwan 01 Dec 05

When I pick a page, I have to log in, and I end up at the home page. Once I log in, then it will open the desired page. Am I missing something here? If I am already logged in, of course I can go to whatever page I want and I don’t need a fancy Firefox button to do it.

Jeremy Flint 01 Dec 05

Dave - Did you set up your login in the Extension Options?

Ben Mills 01 Dec 05

Check the “Remember me” button when you log in to Backpack. From then on you should be fine.

I can’t actually log you into the Backpack site using the Backpack API. The button basically gives you a way of quickly navigating to your Backpack pages. Backpack still needs you to log in to actually view the page.

Hope this makes sense.

Mike 01 Dec 05

Hi Ben, thanks for putting this together. One request, can the API Key field in the Options be hashed since 37 signals recommends not giving out your API Key?

Ben Mills 01 Dec 05

A lot of people seem to be worried about the API key. Hashing it is a great idea. Hopefully, I’ll do that in the next release. Thanks.

Mark 01 Dec 05

thx! very useful!

Marek Kowalczyk 05 Dec 05

Are you going to develop an analogous Extension for Basecamp? That would be very useful as well…

Ben Mills 06 Dec 05

I’d love to, but there’s no API for Basecamp. I heard rumours that 37 signals were developing an API, but that was a while back and I haven’t seen anything yet.