We adore this delightful lil Chrome extension built by a Philly tech expat - Technical.ly Philly

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Jan. 23, 2017 10:22 am

We adore this delightful lil Chrome extension built by a Philly tech expat

A cat in every tab! Meet Leslie Zacharkow's Tabby Cat.

Why, hello.

(Screenshot)

If you have open browser tab anxiety (to steal a term from Technical.ly DC lead reporter Tajha Chappellet-Lanier), well, do we have the cure for you! Tabby Cat by Leslie Zacharkow.

It’s a Chrome extension that shows you a friendly little cat every time you open a new tab.

Get it here

Zacharkow, a designer who left Philly for the Bay Area in the fall of 2015, said it all started because she wanted to learn how to build a Chrome extension.

“At the time, I was interested in programming randomness into my work, and I realized that new tabs are a perfect medium for that because you can generate something random every time you open a new tab,” she wrote via email.

She continued:

My first thought was to play with faces, so I made an extension that generates a random face with a random background color that blinks and looks around and changes expressions.  … Then that night I thought about how freakin’ cute it would be to randomly generate my favorite thing in the world… CATS! I thought of the name Tabby Cat and decided I had to make it.

It has become a fan favorite:

Screen Shot 2017-01-19 at 2.46.08 PM

Some of Tabby Cat’s reviews. (Screenshot)

Here are some tips from Zacharkow on side projects:

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Another factor that I try to balance is what I’ll learn from building a new feature, which I think this is really important for every side project. For example, when I opened up the snapshot feature, I opened up the need for cross-browser compatibility and I had to refactor the whole extension. The beauty of Chrome extensions is that you only deal with one browser and one media (desktop), but I’d thrown that out the window. Although it cost me a ton of time, I’m really proud that I did that because I proved to myself that I could do it.

I don’t consider myself a developer first, but this project has given me a lot more confidence in my dev chops. It has also helped me develop an illustration style that I LOVE working in.

The former URBN and Squareknot staffer says she’s already working on a puppy version.

P.S.: Zacharkow closed with this, which we think is a bit of shade on the West Coast: “Out here, everyone takes their careers very seriously, so it makes me really happy to see them let their guard down to Tabby Cat.”

Which makes us wonder, hey Leslie, when ya coming back?

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Juliana Reyes

Juliana Reyes became Technical.ly's associate editor after reporting on the Philadelphia tech scene for four years. She's co-president of the Asian American Journalists Association Philadelphia chapter and a two-time Philadelphia News Award winner for "Community Reporting of the Year." The Bryn Mawr College grad lives in West Philly, likes her food spicy and wears jumpsuits often.

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