Announcing Enhanced Steam End of Life

Background

The Enhanced Steam project started during the Winter Sale of 2012 as a way for me to help manage my own personal growing library of Steam games.  Its first feature was to simply highlight games on the Steam store that I already owned, because at the time the only way to know this was to open the game’s store page and wait for it to load.  It was designed to help save time when looking for deals, and it grew into a project that spanned thousands of lines of code, hundreds of features, and was translated into 26 languages.

One of my most proud accomplishments is that Enhanced Steam has had such a huge outpouring of support from fans – including those who were veterans of the gaming industry.  The software has been downloaded by over six million people, all of which placed an unprecedented amount of trust in me to keep their Steam accounts safe and secure.  In almost six years of administering Enhanced Steam, I have received countless offers from others to purchase distribution rights so that the new owners could sneak in advertising code or worse types of monetization and I have turned down every offer.  Unfortunately, this means that Enhanced Steam has never turned a profit.  The API servers have been able to stay online thanks to generous user donations and the monthly support from our Patreon pledges.

Recently, Valve has started paying attention to and has been updating the Steam storefront with regular new features and updates based on user feedback.  Some of these features they’ve re-engineered based on popular Enhanced Steam features: highlighting games, displaying account totals, adding games to your cart from the wishlist, showing your wallet balance on every page, an empty cart button, and many more.  In fact, Enhanced Steam 1.0’s original set of features from 2012 have been completely adopted by Valve and are now available for all Steam users to enjoy.

For the past year I’ve been working two jobs to support my family, and have still tried to devote time to updating Enhanced Steam and keeping the API servers operational.  Unfortunately with Valve’s recent dedication to updating their store features, this means I would need to devote much more time to the project than I am able.  There are features that need to be re-engineered and bugs introduced by Valve’s changes, and I simply don’t have the time I would like to dedicate to effectively fill the gap that continues to widen.

With all of these factors, I am today announcing Enhanced Steam’s End of Life.

 

What does this mean?

First of all, Enhanced Steam’s client code is open source, and can be forked by any interested party going forward.  There are many features of Enhanced Steam that will simply continue working: things like calculating market totals, interface tweaks such as homepage customization, 3rd party DRM warnings, and more.  Caveat being these things will continue to function normally assuming Valve doesn’t make significant changes to the pages these features are running on.

Shortly I’ll be releasing Enhanced Steam version 9.9 which will include changes that have been worked on over the past few months.  It will contain bugs that will go unpatched, and will also include a link to this announcement.  This will be the last official full release of Enhanced Steam.

The Enhanced Steam API servers will be discontinued on January 31st, 2019.  Shortly before that happens, the server-side code (minus sensitive information such as API keys) will be released as open-source on Github.  At that time, the Patreon campaign that supports Enhanced Steam will be taken down.

Also shortly before the January 31st deadline, a “stripped down” version of the client that performs only local (non-server) functions will be pushed out to Google Chrome and Firefox users that have installed the extension from those official repositories so that they can continue to function without getting server-related errors.  Unfortunately this means they will also loose a substantial amount of functionality.  Over the next six months, I will be reaching out to our 3rd party data providers to help ease this transition.

This will allow everyone to continue to enjoy Enhanced Steam through the end of this year’s Winter Sale and will also mark six years that the project has been active.

 

Final Thoughts

Again – I’ve been completely blown away by the support of Enhanced Steam’s users over the years.  This isn’t a plea for people to donate more money or a push to get more Patreon subscribers, I simply don’t have the time to properly devote to the project any longer.  I would prefer to do things this way rather than to sell out to a corporation who would try to exploit its users for a profit.

In the future, I would suggest users be overly-cautious of Enhanced Steam alternatives that will inevitably pop up – other similar extensions already have code that could hugely compromise it’s users Steam account security or general browser privacy.  Be careful of which extensions you run, and make sure they’re from sources you trust to safeguard your information.

Finally, a special thanks to Valve and the wonderful people I’ve met there over the years thanks to Enhanced Steam.  Thank you again to Enhanced Steam’s users for the trust you have placed in me and your notes of encouragement and donations over these past almost 6 years.

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New Google Chrome Permissions, Explained

Several people have emailed me asking about the new permissions dialog that Google is presenting to users after updating to the latest (9.3) version of Enhanced Steam.  I thought it might be best to go over that in detail here so that I can simply link them back to this article which will explain in as much detail as I can about what happened, why it happened, and how it affects you as a user.  My goal with Enhanced Steam is always to be 100% transparent to users about what the extension does, and rest assured knowing that Enhanced Steam is still open source and freely available.

What happened

After updating to Enhanced Steam 9.3 in Google Chrome, users were presented with the following dialog box that (admittedly) looks kinda scary:

The “it can now” section in particular seems a bit overwhelming because it implies that Enhanced Steam couldn’t already do most of these things, which prompts users to ask “Why does it suddenly need permission to…?”  The truth is, Enhanced Steam has had the same “Read and change your data on all steampowered.com and steamcommunity.com sites” since version 2.3 released in March of 2013.  The extension needs this permission or it wouldn’t be able to actually do anything .  In order to enhance Steam, Enhanced Steam needs to be able to alter pages on Steam.  The new site added that is prompting the permissions change is store.steampowered.com, but if you think about it logically – this is already part of “all steampowered.com sites”, so what gives?

Why it happened

We made a change that fixed an issue where some CSS code was being applied erroneously to store pages that was meant to only execute on the homepage of Steam.  I thought (incorrectly, it turns out) that a new pattern match to store.steampowered.com – the Steam home page – would fall under the existing manifest permissions that already grant the extension access to all steampowered.com pages.  However, because of this change Google flagged the extension as having “new permissions” and responded accordingly by disclosing that information to users and asking them if they wanted to continue using Enhanced Steam.  Typically this is a good thing for Google to do because there are some unscrupulous extension vendors out there who try to pull these changes over on users in order to do nefarious things with the new permissions they give themselves.  Because people have to ruin things for the rest of us, Google has to make this window look as imposing as possible and give users and easy way to opt-out of using the extension.  Because this looks imposing and because everyone’s heard horror stories about extensions wrecking havoc, this permissions warning might seem more scary than it actually is.  Google is erring on the side of caution here, and that’s not really a bad thing.

One complaint I have with Google is that, as a developer, there was no additional information or warning dialog presented to me when I uploaded this version.  No “Your extension permissions have changed, are you sure you want to proceed?” message.  I wasn’t aware of this change until I updated the extension myself from Google.  If I were given a heads-up on this, I could have investigated the issue and corrected it before inconveniencing users or having them think that some foul plot was underway.  Google also has no roll back functionality for developers, and even uploading a new version that fixes this mistake would not have prevented users from seeing this dialog.  I will open a support ticket with Google to see if this process could be updated so that hopefully this doesn’t happen again by mistake.

How it affects you, the user

Enhanced Steam still has the same permissions it did in version 9.2 (and 2.3) so nothing has really changed for users.  Enhanced Steam still has the ability to alter what you see on the Steam website, as that’s more or less what it’s for.  If you really feel strongly about not updating the extension, I would invite you to download version 9.2 from Github and continue using that if you were happy with it.

tl;dr

Enhanced Steam made an innocent change that Google over-reacted to.  Nothing has really changed, and everything is fine.

 

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Enhanced Steam 9.3 Released

Enhanced Steam has been updated to version 9.3. This release includes the following new features and bug fixes:

  • Added the ability to sort wishlists by review scores, which will display the highest rated items first
  • Added some behind the scenes updates to OpenCritic reviews, should now display correctly on all pages
  • Added DRM warnings, price history information, and SteamDB links to bundle pages
  • Updated SteamRep section on profile pages to use updated API and safer code
  • Updated market code so that an items lowest price is shown on subsequent pages
  • Updated stores used in price comparisons (removed 6 legacy stores, added 4 new stores)
  • Fixed a bug where Steam Card Exchange links would not display properly on store pages
  • Fixed a bug where the Ukraine region had an incorrect ISO code
  • Fixed a bug where SteamDB links were not correctly formed on some pages
  • Removed market section totals as they conflicted with new market page updates

This update is available for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. Chrome users should see the extension update itself automatically within the next 60 minutes. Firefox users will update on their browser’s regular update schedule, or by selecting “Check for updates” on their addons screen.

Firefox users can enjoy full functionality now with the exception of “quick sell” and “instant sell” buttons in your inventory, which appears to be a complex browser-specific bug revolving around the way Enhanced Steam handles market data.

An updated beta version of Enhanced Steam for Microsoft Edge is currently in the works.

As always, please let me know if you encounter any issues with this release.

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Enhanced Steam 9.2 Released

Enhanced Steam has been updated to version 9.2. This release includes the following new features and bug fixes:

  • Added Steam review rating scores to users wishlists
  • Added OpenCritic.com reviews to store pages
  • Added a button to toggle live market updates for popular items on or off
  • Added a confirmation dialog when emptying your shopping cart
  • Add to Cart buttons will now display on larger wishlists
  • Added a “View badge progress” button to booster packs in inventory and on trading cards in market
  • Added an option for viewing user’s wishlist data on their profile
  • Fixed a bug that caused other users inventory to not load price information under some circumstances
  • Updated age gate bypass to work with additional new age gate types
  • Fixed Steam store main menu dropdowns not being hidden on mouse out
  • Fixed issues on homepage when hiding the sidebar at some zoom levels and lower resolutions
  • Improved performance on store pages for users with large purchase histories
  • Fixed a bug where emoticons weren’t correctly highlighted as owned on market pages
  • Fixed a bug in custom holiday profile themes that effected legitimate users of that theme
  • Fixed a bug where filtering a wishlist to items with coupons wouldn’t work correctly
  • Fixed a bug that caused DLC selection on store pages not to work correctly
  • Fixed a bug that caused Early Access and coupon headers to not display correctly on the store

This update would not have been possible without the help of Gojira! Thanks again for all the help!

This update is available for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. Chrome users should see the extension update itself automatically within the next 60 minutes. Firefox users will update on their browser’s regular update schedule, or by selecting “Check for updates” on their addons screen.

Firefox users can enjoy full functionality now with the exception of “quick sell” and “instant sell” buttons in your inventory, which is an issue I’m still investigating.

As always, please let me know if you encounter any issues with this release.

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Enhanced Steam 9.1 Released (Update: 9.1.1)

Enhanced Steam’s newest version 9.1 is available now for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge!  This version includes the following:

  • Added DRM detection for games utilizing Denuvo Antitamper DRM
  • Added home page customization with the ability to hide particular sections
  • Added an option as to whether you would like your wallet balance show in the header of community pages
  • Updated the quick sell and instant sell buttons to use the new inventory data layout Valve created
  • Updated external site icons with higher resolution versions
  • Fixed a bug that caused some “season packs” to incorrectly show a split calculation
  • Fixed a bug where metacritic user scores weren’t displaying correctly with the new layout

Additionally, maintenance release 9.1.1 is available with the following fixes:

  • Updated the advanced inventory controls to work with the new layout, they are now enabled by default
  • Fixed a bug where site icons would display incorrectly on profiles if the display style was set to none
  • Fixed a bug that would sometimes cause quick sell functions to sell items for the wrong amount
  • Fixed a bug that could cause some game’s workshop item list not to load correctly

This has been an… interesting update.  Valve refactored their economy (inventory) scripts, and updated the site layout so the majority of Enhanced Steam’s functionality related to inventory broke.  While I’m happy to fix things like this and try to do it as quickly as possible, this sometimes results in issues like the ones that were fixed by version 9.1.1’s release a few days later.  Additionally, many other sites and other popular Steam inventory-related extensions broke as the result of these changes – which left a lot of Enhanced Steam’s users confused as to which features belong to which extension.  I got a lot of support emails from people wanting me to “fix” functionality that wasn’t part of Enhanced Steam, and some of those people were not very nice about it.

If you emailed me about one of these features and didn’t get a response, that’s why.

Finally, there are still a few outlying issues with Firefox and Edge.  First of all, Firefox (or Valve?) are blocking AJAX requests sent from Enhanced Steam for listing items for sale.  This affects the “Quick Sell”, “Instant Sell”, and “Relist” functions of Enhanced Steam, so unfortunately those were manually disabled in the latest release.  I am continuing to research why this is and whether or not a fix can be put in place for the next release.  Microsoft Edge support is coming along nicely, but there are still some issues with CSS not cascading correctly that results in some icons not being displayed correctly.  I’m also looking into this issue and will hopefully have a fix in place before Edge support becomes official when it’s able to be listed on the Microsoft Store.

In the meantime, I’m busy spinning up new servers for the Winter Sale that should be starting in about 10 days!  Happy holidays!

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Enhanced Steam 9.0 Released

Today marks the release of Enhanced Steam version 9.0! This version includes the following changes:

  • Added an option to hide the “Empty Wishlist” button on users wishlist pages
  • Added additional search filtering options to hide games based on mixed or negative review scores
  • Added a search filter to exclude items over a certain price
  • Added a search filter to exclude user-selectable tags from search results
  • Added a feature that dims unlocked achievement icons on progress pages
  • Adds an “Add Nickname” button to profiles of users you’re not currently friends with
  • Added SteamTrades icon to user’s Steam profile pages
  • Added sort and view options to other user’s badge pages
  • Added market links and pricing information to inventory items with market restrictions
  • Fixed a bug where some homepage elements weren’t highlighted correctly
  • Fixed a bug on workshop items where the media slider could distort images in some cases
  • Fixed a bug where the link filter wouldn’t be disabled properly in modal boxes
  • Fixed a bug that caused the user profile Twitch integration to fail in some circumstances

Once again, I’m really happy with the way the workflows for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge are coming together and that the three browsers can be easily supported going forward. This update only took about 30 minutes to compile from the initial build of Chrome.  Edge support is taking a little longer than I had originally anticipated simply because I don’t always have immediate access to a machine running Windows 10.

Thanks again everyone for your continued support – see you at the Fall Sale!

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Enhanced Steam 8.9 Released

Today marks the release of Enhanced Steam version 8.9!  This version includes the following changes:

  • Added sorting options to the “my sell listing” section of the market home page
  • Updated visual layout of badge page sorting, filtering, and viewing options
  • Fixed a bug where agegate pages would throw an error rather than correctly entering a date
  • Fixed an issue with surprise logos not displaying correctly
  • Fixed a bug with recommendations highlights on storefront
  • Fixed a bug where invalid dynamic store data would be cached incorrectly
  • Fixed a bug that caused items with quotes in their names to not show correct buttons in inventory
  • Fixed a bug that displayed an incorrect wishlist total if some items were not yet available
  • Fixed a bug where some home page elements weren’t highlighted correctly

Note for Firefox users – some features of Enhanced Steam are not yet working with versions of Firefox less than version 50. For example, custom profile backgrounds and Early Access banners aren’t working from steamcommunity.com pages. Most of these features are re-enabled by using Firefox 50 or above, or will be re-enabled at a future date.

I’m really happy with the way the workflows for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge are coming together and that the three browsers can be easily supported going forward. Thank you everyone for your continued support!

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Join Enhanced Steam for Extra Life 2016

Hi everyone, I’ll keep this post brief but I wanted to let everyone know that I’ll be doing another 24-hour Extra Life gaming marathon on November 5th, 2016.

You can read all about it here.

I’ll be gaming for 24 hours straight, and live-streaming my marathon on Twitch. I’m hoping to raise $1,000 for my local children’s hospital and I need your help. Click on the link above to see all the details.

For donations of any amount, you get a cool Extra Life 2016 “Enhanced Steam Supporter” badge for your Steam profile.

Additionally, we’ve teamed up with IsThereAnyDeal.com and GamesPlanet.com to give away tons of games during the live-stream. There are some great games up for grabs such as Doom, Dark Souls III, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Football Manager 2017 and more! Just put your Steam profile link in the note with your donation to be eligible.

Let’s show people that gamers like us can be a force to be reckoned with. Thank you in advance for whatever you can give, and be sure to tune in on November 5th for the live-stream. See you there!

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Microsoft Edge Support

A preliminary version of Enhanced Steam is now available for Microsoft Edge.  You can install it by following the instructions found here:

https://github.com/jshackles/Enhanced_Steam_Edge

This version was built using Microsoft’s new Edge Extension Toolkit application, and a few manual changes I made through testing.  There are a few issues that users may encounter in this release so I’m not yet linking it to the website’s download page until those issues are resolved.  Hopefully I’ll be able to get these issues resolved soon.

I’m also contacting Microsoft to see about having the extension listed in the Microsoft Store, hopefully they have an automated system in place soon for developers to publish extensions there.  Keep an eye on this blog and I’ll update everyone as soon as I know anything on this front.

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Enhanced Steam 8.8 Released

Today marks the release of Enhanced Steam version 8.8!  This version includes the following changes:

  • Added a version update dialog box to display a change log to the user when the extension is updated
  • The feature to automatically send age verification now works with new tag-based verification pages
  • Hovering over the red exclamation mark when a data request fails will show details of that request
  • The Enhanced Steam options can now be accessed directly from the Firefox about:addons page
  • Added an option to enable or disable displaying the game’s purchase date on store pages
  • Added SteamRepCN links to user profiles when browsing in Chinese
  • Added Chinese name to game store page when browsing in Chinese
  • Added an option to see Keylol links and user ratings when browsing in Chinese
  • Added SteamCN language mods to the “Languages” section of store pages when browsing in Chinese
  • Fixed a bug that caused Firefox features not to load after clearing Enhanced Steam’s cache
  • Fixed a bug that caused Enhanced Steam in Firefox not to function on steamcommunity.com pages
  • Fixed a rendering issue in Firefox where the options screen would show a white background
  • Fixed a bug where regional price comparison icons would not display in Firefox
  • Fixed a bug where Firefox would throw a “Not well formed” error when loading localization files
  • Fixed a bug that caused card drop count calculations to be incorrect under certain circumstances

Note for Firefox users – you must manually update by redownloading the extension at http://www.enhancedsteam.com/download/ This version includes auto-update functionality for future releases. Additionally, some features of Enhanced Steam are not yet working with versions of Firefox less than version 50. For example, custom profile backgrounds and Early Access banners aren’t working from steamcommunity.com pages. Most of these features are re-enabled by using Firefox 50 or above, or will be re-enabled at a future date.

This is an exciting release for Firefox users, and should be more exciting in the coming months as Mozilla continues to increase their compatibility with native Chrome extensions.

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