Inspiration

Have you ever asked the question, "How did I get here?" It's common place to use the computer to work on a homework assignment and then end up watching a video on how JFK's brain went mysteriously missing after his assassination. As I said, "How did I get there?"

What it does

The web browser stores your history. But, it doesn't determine how one website leads you to another. HistoryTree takes your history and puts it together like a puzzle so that you can determine how you got from one place to another.

How I built it

HistoryTree was built as an extension for the Google Chrome web browser. For development, I used: Chrome API, HTML, JS, JQuery, and CSS.

Challenges I ran into

Chrome extensions allow you to programmatically access data that you wouldn't normally be able to access with a web app. For example, you can access the browser history and all of the url's that the user has recently visited. However, chrome no longer allows developers to easily cross-reference referringVisitId's with visitId's for website visits. For security reasons, they wanted to make it difficult for an extension to track a user's online behavior. However, I believe that helping the end-user determine how they got from one place to another is a worthy cause so I applied a "secret" technique involving joining data to put together an estimate on which website led to another.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

I am proud that I could piece together one's search history to help answer the question, "How did I get from one website to another?"

What I learned

I learned so many things: (1) How to make a chrome extension, (2) browser security policies, and (3) most importantly how to piece together once's browser history to answer a practical question.

What's next for History Tree

Release it for beta testing, get feedback and make revisions to improve user experience. Then, release on the Chrome Store.

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