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My Firefox Extensions

Posted 2007-01-22 Tags: None

One thing that interests me among the techgnoscenti is who installs which Firefox extension and why they do so. Firefox is a great browser out of the box, but once you start adding on your extensions, it really becomes all about you. If you think it's beyond you to install an extension, let me tell you - you're absolutely wrong. If you can get here to this site, you can certainly customize your firefox. Just mozy on over to addons.mozilla.org and look for something that you'd like to do. I, for instance, just installed an EXIF information viewer for photographs that I look at online... and don't be surprised if that doesn't mean anything to you. The point is it means something to me.

Here's what I have installed and why:

All-in-One Sidebar: Like Opera? This extension makes your sidebar a little more like Opera's. If that means nothing for you, how about this; do you like having your browser open lots of little windows for downloads, themes and extensions? Get them opening in one place, with easy access at any time.

ColorZilla: I'll try not to mention the spelling of "Colour" (um, oops). If you want to know what value a colour has on any website, install this extension, click the colur eye-dropper and find out.

Firebug: debugging websites made easy. Almost a necessity for anyone who does web development.

Fizzle: Actually, Fizzle fizzled for me. I'm going to uninstall it. It's an RSS / Atom feed reader and, though good in theory, is buggy in practice. I think the guy who wrote it should probably download Firebug...

ForecastFox: If you're stuck in cubicleland and you don't have a window (or an IM contact with a window) then this is really helpful. Keep track of that weather in an unobtrusive way - right at the bottom of your browser.

ExIF Viewer and FxIF: Both extensions let you view EXIF information (information that resides in pictures taken by digital cameras) in different ways. FxIF appends the information to the "properties" window but has limited EXIF information, and ExIF viewer opens an entirely different viewer (with poor UI) but has all the EXIF info you could possibly want.

Gmail Notifier: I don't think I need to go into much detail here - I need to know when I have mail, and I use gmail. Hence the notifier. If you don't use gmail, I'm sure that's a bad idea.

Greasemonkey: Not for n00bs - this lets you customize websites with scripts so that your entire web experience is more to your liking. Works well with another extension called Platypus, a WYSIWYG editor that let's you customize websites and save your customizations to Greasemonkey scripts.

Image Zoom: increase or decrease image sizes on websites. Good for many things, including getting rid of obnoxious images on websites.

Long Titles: by default, Firefox truncates titles (the little bit that pops up when you hover over a picture). This extension will show the full title.

MeasureIt: another useful extension for web developers. Just how far is it from that div to this div? How big is my font? How wide is that column? Well... MeasureIt!

Menu Editor: after installing a boatload of extensions, you might find a bit of bloat in your menus. Menu Editor lets you edit what you find in menus, but it's not just the window menu - it lets you edit context menus as well.

PDF Download: so here's something I hate; PDFs for content. Most of the time, a PDF is the wrong format for your information. They are also notoriously buggy for browsers. You can get around that with PDF Download, which gives you the option to just download the PDFs and open them later. It's very useful, and would be even more useful if people used PDFs properly (downloadable forms - that's pretty much it).

ShowIP: again, for web developers, this is a great tool. More than once I have figured out the cause of a problem by using this extension. This tells you the IP address of the page that you're looking at, which may give you an inkling of why the information you're changing isn't updating properly (you're on the wrong server!).

And la piece de resistance Web Developer: If you're a web developer, and you don't have this extension, then you are not a web developer. And no, I don't think I'm overstating my case.

So there you have it - these are my must haves, the extensions that I install first when I install firefox. Until I get those up and running, I start feeling twitchy and incomplete, like a part of me left and hasn't yet returned.

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