Sending & Listening to Messages within Chrome Extension

Chrome extension has different environment to perform different actions. Most common one are content script and background.

Communicating between content script and background / event page involves little bit more work.

Let’s have a quick look at those environments

Content Script

Its just a JavaScript files that run in the in the web pages, much more like the JavaScript that we include/write in our webpage.

It can be used to perform any changes in DOM, displaying toast message, perform AJAX operations, etc

Here’s quick demo of all the things we can do using content script.

However we can’t use all chrome APIs (primarily for security reasons) ?

Because of that to create things like context menu we’ve to use background environment.

Background / Event page

Its where we perform extension specific actions like creating content menu

We can access all the chrome APIs ?

Communicate within Chrome Extension

Here’s are some common scenarios for one-time requests. For long-living connections please refer docs and make appropriate changes :)

We can only send JSON-serializable message

Sending messages from Content Script

<code class="js">// Sending messages from Content Script
const msg = 'Hello from content Script ⚡'
chrome.runtime.sendMessage({ message: msg }, function(response) {
    console.log(response);
});

Listening to messages in Context Script

<code class="js">// Listening to messages in Context Script
chrome.runtime.onMessage.addListener(function(request, sender, sendResponse) {
    console.log(request);
    // Callback
    sendResponse({ message: 'Content script has received that message ⚡' })
})

Sending messages from background / event page

We’ve to make sure that the tab has been loaded.

<code class="js">// Sending messages from background / event page
chrome.tabs.onUpdated.addListener(function(tabId, changeInfo, tab) {
    if (changeInfo.status == 'complete') {
        chrome.tabs.query({ active: true }, function(tabs) {
            const msg = "Hello from background ?";
            chrome.tabs.sendMessage(tabs[0].id, { "message": msg });
        })
    }
});

Listening to messages in background / event page

<code class="js">// Listening to messages page
chrome.runtime.onMessage.addListener(function(request, sender, sendResponse) {
    console.log(request);
    // Callback for that request
    sendResponse({ message: "Background has received that message ?" });
});

Example

I’ve put tougher all those code and created a sample chrome extension for your reference.

Elevator pitch ?

Wondering about the gif used in content script section ?

Well.. Here’s little something about it

Vookmark is the product that I’m working on lately. Its like a Pocket but tailored specifically for watching videos across all major devices ?