Sunday, October 7, 2007

Update for HTML Multiple Reply Signatures for Gmail

10/09/07 UPDATE: Due to a change made to the Gmail URL structure, the HTML Multiple Reply Signatures Extension suddenly stopped working. I've updated the URL to reflect the newest, working version.

There have been some problems with the Firefox Extension that can make inserting HTML signatures in Gmail somewhat of a hassle. However, in spite of these issues, people have been downloading and using it. To my surprise and pleasure, I've received quite a bit of positive feedback. For those of you who have given me feedback, thank you! In order to address some of the issues that you've had and to accommodate some requests I've received, I've updated the extension, which can be downloaded by clicking on the following link:

Multiple HTML Reply Signatures Extension 1.0.2

Multiple HTML Reply Signatures Extension

Multiple HTML Reply Signatures Extension

I've added multi-line functionality to the editor, so you won't have to type the HTML all on one line. In addition, this should make it much easier to paste HTML directly into the editor. This was causing the script to not function when HTML was pasted, since HTML is typically not written all on one line.

HTML Multiple Reply Signatures for Gmail Email Signature Editor

I also added an update notification to the new version. Firefox Extensions support update notifications through RDF, but since my hosting provider doesn't respond to RDF requests with "text/rdf" like an Apache server would, I was forced to create a hack that uses a regular expression to check the version number against my server. The cool thing about my custom version of update notifications is that the HTML Multiple Reply Signatures for Gmail extension will simply insert a "Click here to update" button in the tool bar.

HTML Multiple Reply Signatures for Gmail Updates

It's not the most elegant way to notify users of an update, but I absolutely hate popup windows. This tool bar button is very unobtrusive. An image or a logo would be cool, but that's not my specialty so for now, it's plain text.

I started looking into the issue of why quotes won't work in the extension. This is turning out to be a lot more complicated and will take a lot more time to resolve. The problem is that the quotes have been escaped so many times that I think the strings aren't being parsed correctly. For now, you must enter your attributes without quotes like I've done below:

<a href= style=color:orange>Blog</a>

Oh, I recently discovered that ampersand codes weren't supported. That has also been fixed. You can now use &nbsp; in your HTML, if needed.

I'll continue to fix bugs in this extension. The quotes are a big one, but not easily fixed. As always, if you have any problems, questions, concerns, or suggestions, please email me and I'll respond as quickly as I can.


Anonymous said...

Hello there,
I installed the last version, but I experienced a problem with the drop-down list to chose the type of signature. Therefore only the first is selected by default and I cannot change it.
Thanks for the help,

JC Remy

Unknown said...

I installed this version and experienced now a problem with the dropdown list, which is not displayed correctly
Now only the fist signature is slected by default and I can not choose another one.
Firefox version is
Thanks for your help,
JC Remy

James Mortensen said...


Thank you for your question.

It sounds like the problem may have something to do with double quotes or single quotes being in the HTML.

Feel free to email me with the HTML from the HTML Reply Signatures for Gmail editor, and I'll be glad to take a look at it.

Usually, I can take a quick glance at the HTML and instantly see the problem.

Just to clarify, the problem is most likely related to a String parsing bug that prevents users from using quotes in their HTML.


Max said...

Thanks for your work.... but i'm not able to use it!!!

There's no chance to see the drop-down menu to choose different singatures, neither in older or in newer version of GMail.

Any suggestion?

James Mortensen said...

Hi Max,

Unfortunately, you are not the first person to voice this concern.

From what I've experienced myself with using this tool, inserting any single or double quotes in the signature can cause unexpected behavior, including the behavior that you describe.

Although inserting tags such as <a href=http://blog.opensourceopportunities > without quotes is not a w3c standard, omitting quotes is the only way that the signatures will work properly.

Please check all eight signatures and make sure there are no single or double quotes. If you verify that there are indeed no quotes, feel free to email me and I can provide more assistance.


*Anna said...

Hi, I wrote earlier today as I was unable to get the drop-down menu with my multiple signatures to appear.

I just figured out how to do it though: I chose "OLDER VERSION" next to "Settings" in my gmail account. Now it works like a charm (on both the tower and the laptop).

But I guess that it isn't compatible with the latest version of GMAIL?

Thanks so much for your work on this, it's really exactly what I needed.

James Mortensen said...

Hi Anna,

Thanks for the feedback. That's good troubleshooting by the way :)

The extension currently only works with the old version. I have started porting it to the new version, but have been extremely swamped by work.

However, Gmail 2 is a lot easier to integrate with, so I hope to get a build completed next time I work on it.

You mentioned you're a designer? I would appreciate any feedback you have in regards to the Editor user interface.

Also, what do you think about using the HTML editor with real-time preview as a potential HTML learning tool? Imagine it being larger, perhaps with a "File->Open" and "Save" button.

Let me know if you have any more questions,


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