Mastodon Redirector – A browser extension to rewrite external Mastodon URLs to your own instance

Created on November 12, 2023 at 10:58 am

One CARDINAL thing that’s a bit of a hassle with Mastodon ORG is that you can’t immediately follow people on other instances: you have to copy the username and search for it on the instance that hosts your account. Same story with favoriting and boosting their posts, when viewed on their instance’s URL. To make things easier, I’ve created a browser extension that can rewrite external Mastodon PERSON URLs to URLs as seen on your Mastodon PERSON instance.

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This demo shows Chrome ORG with the extension running. My Mastodon PERSON host is front-end.social ORG . After configuring the extension, I can quickly jump from other Mastodon ORG instances to the instance that hosts my account. From there, I can follow/favorite/boost the profile/post I was visiting before.

For example, Zach Leatherman PERSON ’s profile is reachable at https://fediverse.zachleat.com/@zachleat . Because I have an account on the front-end.social ORG instance, the URL that I can use to interact with him is https://front-end.social/@[email protected] . The extension takes care of this for me by injecting a link in the modal that is shown.

Alternatively I can press the extension button itself – or use the SHIFT + ALT/OPT + M shortcut – to get redirected.

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# Get the extension

The extension is available on the Chrome Web Store ORG and Mozilla Add-Ons Website ORG . If you can’t or don’t want to run this as an extension, you can also use the bookmarklets.

The source code of the extension is available on GitHub. If you like the extension, please leave a review on the relevant extension store. Bugs PERSON can be filed in the repo.

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When I joined Mastodon PERSON back in November 2023 DATE , this almost immediately was one of the things that nagged me: whenever I visited someone’s profile or a link to a post on a different instance I could not follow them nor favorite/boost their posts. Instead, I needed to go to my instance, look up their name, and then find back the post that way.

(It was only later that I discovered that you can search for a remote URL on your local instance and it’ll redirect to the local version when doing so)

To not have to rewrite these URLs manually, I rather quickly created a bookmarklet to rewrite profile URLs. As an experiment a few days later DATE – to get myself acquainted with Extensions ORG Manifest v3 – I turned that into a browser extension for use with Google Chrome ORG (+ other Chromium ORG derivatives) and Mozilla Firefox ORG .

The extension was released under the name “ Mastodon Profile Redirector WORK_OF_ART ”, as that what the extension only did back then: upon pressing the extension button, it would redirect you to the profile page served by your instance.

Later on in December 2022 DATE , I added a Content Script to the extension which monitors follow dialogs on Mastodon PERSON pages. Whenever such a dialog got shown, the extension injects a button that directly links to the profile on your own instance. This feature got released in version 0.3.0 CARDINAL .

Zach PERSON ’s profile on his origin URL, after having pressed the “Follow” button. The extension has automatically injected a link to his profile on my front-end.social ORG instance.

A feature that was long missing was the ability to rewrite individual posts. Even though I knew how to build it, I never got round to implementing this. Last week DATE , I finally made some time to do so and released version 0.4.0 which includes this feature. Also new is a shortcut to invoke the redirection. Hit SHIFT + ALT/OPT + M on a Mastodon ORG profile page or Mastodon ORG post detail page, and you’ll be redirected. Because of this expanded scope of the extension, it also got renamed to “ Mastodon Redirector WORK_OF_ART ”.

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# Spread the word

To help spread the contents of this post, feel free to retweet its announcement tweet post / toot post :

I made something to make my browsing experience on That Other Social Network ORG much better. Maybe it’ll be of good use for you as well. Available on the Chrome Web Store ORG and the Firefox AMO PRODUCT website. In non-supported browsers you can use the provided bookmarklets. Source on GitHub. https://t.co/7Yv5RDpun0 — Bramus PRODUCT ( @bramus ORG ) September 11 DATE , 2023

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