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an apology

April 13th, 2011

I left you all hanging. I’m sorry.

A combination of work, family, and my wife re-opening her Etsy shop led to me running out of time to deal with hacks. Added to that, Etsy’s rapid pace of development made maintaining the hacks difficult (this is a good thing, really - Etsy’s been pumping out new features at a rate of knots lately). Also, many “hack” features are now actually real features on the site, which is wonderful.

I need to go through the hacks, prune the ones that are now irrelevant, and work out what to do with the ones that still have value. This won’t happen immediately, for all the reasons I listed above, but I felt I needed to resurface and at least let you all know what was going on.

some notes on getting broken hacks working again

May 5th, 2010

First, an apology: Recently lots of hacks have been broken, as a result of the massive changes happening to the Your Etsy area of the site. I’ve fixed a bunch of them, but there are still some that are gone. I’m working on them when I can, but unfortunately hacks have a habit of getting broken right when I have no time to work on them. I also have an almost overwhelming number of emails to reply to.

Some of you have reported that some of the “fixed” hacks haven’t been working for you. There are a few things you can try:

make sure you have the latest version

Greasemonkey has a terrible habit of using browser-cached versions of the scripts when you tell it to install. This can often lead to you installing the last version you installed, rather than the latest one.

The simplest thing to do is to clear your cache before upgrading. However, if you really want to avoid all doubt, scroll down on the hack’s page to the “release history” section - each link in there links to a specific version of the hack, and clicking it will install that version. So, find the very latest version, and install that one.

clear the decks

Sometimes when hacks break, they break your stored data. Upgrading doesn’t always fix that broken data. I’m referring specifically to Sold Orders Plus here, which I know a lot of people have had trouble with lately. What you can do in this case is clear out all the data, and start over. It’s not 100% guaranteed, but worth a try if you’ve verified you’re on the latest version and it’s still not behaving.

(Note that doing the following steps with the Forum Wrangler hack will make it forget all your forum-browsing history, and it won’t easily get that back. I don’t think it’s necessary to do it for Forum Wrangler, and just want to make that really, really clear.)

So, to go for the “clear the decks” approach:

  1. In Firefox, go to Tools > Greasemonkey > Manage User Scripts
  2. Select the hack (typically Sold Orders Plus) in the column on the left side of the box that pops up.
  3. Check the “Also uninstall associated preferences” checkbox down at the bottom.
  4. Click the “Uninstall” button.
  5. Go back to the hack page and click the install button (paying attention to the notes on cached versions above) and install the hack.
  6. Do whatever hack setup steps you need to do (according to the hack’s page).

For Sold Orders Plus, those steps are:

  1. Go to
  2. Go to Tools > Greasemonkey > User Script Commands > Import all sales data
  3. Wait, patiently. Sometimes Firefox will pop up an “unresponsive script” box while importing. The script isn’t unresponsive, just really busy. Click “continue” and let it do its work.

That should be it. See for more details, screenshots, etc.

quitting my day job

August 6th, 2009

I’m very excited to be able to announce that I will shortly be quitting my day job and, er, getting a new day job - at Etsy.

I’m being hired as a QA Engineer, responsible for testing the site and any new features as they come along. I’m not being hired as a front-end developer - Etsy already has a very talented pool of developers. I’m not going to be parachuting in, waving a magic wand, and adding Etsyhacks features to the site. I know Etsy see the value of the features the hacks provide, and hopefully I’ll be part of getting some of them integrated into the site in due course, but only as and when it makes sense within Etsy’s existing development plan.

Meanwhile, Etsyhacks will continue to exist for as long as it provides a useful service, although the pace of development is likely to slow while I get to grips with my new job.

Thank you all for making Etsyhacks the success it has been so far. Your support and encouragement has been wonderful, and I appreciate it very much. I look forward to being able to contribute even more to your Etsy experience as I embark on this new phase of my career.

new instant messaging accounts

January 27th, 2009

I’ve just added some new “etsyhacks” instant messaging account. You can now talk to me as “etsyhacks” on Google, Yahoo, and AIM, “ian at etsyhacks dot com” on MSN, and “376144688″ on ICQ.

new hack: renew listing

January 21st, 2009

Another much-requested hack - renew listing. This one lets you renew an item directly from its View Listing page.

Turned out to be a lot simpler than I’d expected - just like Edit This Item, but with a form submission instead of a clickable link.

new bookmarklets: add, delete, and replace tags

January 21st, 2009

A new one for me - some bookmarklets that come before a Greasemonkey version!

These new bookmarklets - add tags, replace tags, and delete tags - help you enter or edit your tags quickly when creating or editing a listing. Fire the bookmark, paste in your tags, hit “OK” and you’re away. Good for those of you who have sets of tags pre-prepared in a text document somewhere and who like to cut-and-paste to create listings. (But see also the new Copy Listing Greasemonkey hack.)

They were an interesting exercise in “JavaScript Golf” (get a functioning script in as few characters as possible) since - due to a limitation in a version of IE 6 - you need to get everything within 488 bytes (actually more like 460 since there’s some standard rubbish that needs to be included).

There will be a Greasemonkey version in due course….

version numbers

January 21st, 2009

My hack version numbers were vexing me. I’d originally started numbering at version 0.1 and then increased the number by 0.1 for each release. Then I started adding 0.1 for a bug fix release, and moved up to the next integer for a new feature.

Between that change of numbering system, and the desire to have some room in the 0.x range for beta releases, I’ve gone through and renumbered all the hacks so they start at 1.0 and work on up. I’ve also altered some version numbers to suit the 0.1=bug/1.0=feature change.

So, the version numbers should now be sane, at the cost of me feeling rather anal-retentive about the whole thing. The only drawback is that the RSS feeds will have a bunch of different links in them, which may well show up as new items in your RSS reader, so if you’re reading the “hack updates” feeds, my apologies.

new hack: copy listing

January 19th, 2009

Something that’s always annoyed me about listing is that it’s not possible to create a new listing based on an existing one. You can relist a sold item and edit the content, but that’s not always possible or desirable, and, well, it’s just a bit ick.

Enter the latest hack - Copy Listing. This takes the data from an existing listing, and then fills in the fields of the new listing as you go.

The one thing it doesn’t do is copy the photos, which vexes me. But the photos are uploaded files, and that’s kind of hard to fake. It’s not impossible, I think, but it’ll take work and time, and I decided it was better to get this code released now than to wait for me to have time to sort out lying to the file upload script.

It seems like it’s an itch that many have needed scratching. Do tell all your friends….

new hack: fast batch feedback

January 13th, 2009

So, I’ve been neglecting my Greasemonkey-using audience, and decided I’d quickly make amends with a short-but-sweet new hack: fast batch feedback.

savor suggested this hack on the forums and I realised it should be fairly easy to do. I can only work with what’s on the page, so I can’t do the “show 100 per page” bit, but the rest wasn’t too difficult to do.

I did originally allow you to set “neutral” or “negative” feedback, but the potential for mis-feedbacking on a grand scale was rather too large to countenance. Plus, if you’re leaving negative or neutral feedback, you really should be thinking about each one….

So, now all you have to do is make enough sales to care!

sales intelligence tools

December 29th, 2008

So, all is quiet on the Greasemonkey and Bookmarklet front right now, because I’m working on “EtsIntelligence“, a site that will provide some sales intelligence (and other) tools for your Etsy shops.

The plan is to start with a search interface for sold orders, a “what else did this buyer buy from me?” search, and order and transaction notes. There will be associated Greasemonkey scripts to integrate it tightly with the Etsy UI, and bookmarklets that will provide more limited integration for non-Greasemonkeying users.

From there, I plan to add number crunching - integrating your Etsy bill, adding sales graphs, that sort of thing. I also have some ideas about buyer profiling that might be interesting.

I’m doing the dull work of setting up basics of the web site - user management, etc. - now, but hope to be beta testing by the end of January.


Questions, comments, and feedback welcomed.

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