Friday, March 30, 2007

Firefox extensions to install first

It happens to all of us sooner or later. My Firefox profile could not bear my continuous abuse and committed suicide without even writing a note. This event, albeit unfortunate, was not unforeseen. I knew, that if I keep switching back and forth between Firefox 1.x and 2.x, install and remove all sorts of suspicious extensions and tinker with about:config settings, I will eventually be punished. So, I assessed the situation and figured that if I am careful I will not lose anything important. I have backed up my corrupted profile, started and shutdown Firefox to create a new one, copied my bookmarks, stored passwords and saved sessions and called it a day. Once I started Firefox again though it still didn't look friendly, so I started adding extensions. Here is my list ordered by importance.

What did I install:
  • Tab Mix Plus - Is only the best tab manager extension I have seen so far. It makes tab switching behave in a logical manner (like windows on alt-tab and not in a dumb loop) it adds a lot of useful tab related functions such as lock tab or duplicate tab. Locking is a way to make sure that wherever you click this tab stays on the same page and links are opened in new tabs, this is highly useful for browsing lists of things, be that google search results, bookmarks or listings. Also Tab MIx Plus replaces the built-in Firefox two feature of crash recovery and turns it into a complete session management. You can save and restore multiple sessions including closed tabs and windows (oh, did I mention that you can undo tab close with Tab Mix Plus?) and other information.
  • Adblock Plus and Adblock Filterset.G Updater - Unless you are a masochist and enjoy intrusive advertising you need these extensions. Yes, you really do. This extension effectively bloxk most forms of banners, flash ads, popups (even the ones built-in popup blocker doesn't catch) etc. The updater will download current set of patterns, so you don't have to train the blocker yourself and will keep it updated.
  • firefox extension - A very convenient way to keep your bookmarks online. Includes a "Bookmark This" button that will open a new window allowing you to tag, describe and save current page.
  • Deepest Sender - There are a few blogging extensions out there that allow you to post blog entries in a comfortable (or not so comfortable in some cases) way. I have chosen Deepest Sender as my personal favorite. It supports all the major blog engines (in my case Live Journal, Blogger and WordPress), allows for simple formating, allows direct source editing and has a simple preview. I guess I would prefer a few more WordPress specific options, but I have yet to find a better blogging solution.
  • Colorful Tabs - All this extension does is paint your tabs carious semi-random colors (the colors cannot be assigned, but it will make sure that no two neighboring tabs are the same color) and slightly fades away tabs which are out of focus. You cannot imagine without trying just how much easier it is to navigate multiple tabs with this extension. Albeit your tab bar starts to look much less officious.
  • GreaseMonkey - a generic extension allowing you to execute custom JavaScript scripts on pages you choose. Using these scripts you can enhance usability of popular sites, add missing features, change look and feel etc. Pre-made scripts can be downloaded from UserScripts.Org site.
  • Web Developer and FireBug - The first one is the web developer's multi-tool. It is a tool bar that includes all features that you could possibly want when testing the web site you are working on. Cache disabling, headers, authentication, security and other information, window resizes for different resolution simulation, element outlines etc. etc. etc. And where Web Developer leaves off, FireBug comes in. Normally hiding in the status bar icon FireBug will tell you exact lines in CSS that affect particular tag, tag that corresponds to particular element, how long it took to load and render any of the page requirements, what scripts have been loaded and much, much more.
There are several extensions I didn't install because I personally didn't find them useful, but which should still be mentioned.

What I didn't install:

  • Sage - is the most popular RSS reader extension. I do not use it, because I don't like side bars and I am quite happy with my external RSS reader which happens to be Liferea
  • All-in-One Sidebar - is a great tool for people who use side bar a lot. It integrates downloads, extensions, source view and other features into the side bar and allows for custom side bar panels.
  • ScribeFire - is another popular blogger extension. It even supports some WordPress features better than Deepest Sender, but the interface is a little cumbersome and the Live Journal support is very buggy.
So, at this my browser is ready for action again. I will be back soon with Firefox extensions for web site testing.


  1. What UserScripts do you use?

  2. At this moment, I have the following scripts installed:
    prettifier for,
    ad remover for,
    info window for and
    rss panel for any site with an RSS feed.

  3. [...] I have written about various useful extensions for Firefox. Recently I have tested quite a few extensions that didn’t make my “install [...]