1 Feb 2007

My favourite Firefox add-ons

You'll forgive me, I hope, if I digress for a moment. I've been a dedicated user of Firefox since it was announced in 2004, and I rarely look back even now that IE 7 has copied some of the best bits. After some cajoling, even the most luddite of our editors have made the shift.

One of the great things about Firefox is that anyone can write their own add-ons for Firefox. If you can think of something that you wish Firefox could do, the chances are that somebody will already have come up with the solution. At the risk of losing you, here are my favourite Firefox add-ons:

Search engines - almost any site you care to mention has one, and if it doesn't you can write one yourself (see my previous post). Matt Cockerill, our publisher, has written a few: two internal ones to search our manuscript and user databases, one to search our published articles, and one for Google Scholar.

Tab Mix Plus. Enhances your tabbed browsing. So useful that Firefox 2.0 included some of its best functions, but it is still great.

Context Search. Highlight text, right-click, chose any of your search plugins from a drop-down list, and a search is launched in a new tab for that text. Simple, but inspired.

SmartSearch. Much like Context Search, except that it uses Quick Searches instead of search plugins. The beauty of this is that Quick Searches are much quicker and easier to write that search plugins - simply get the URL of a search result, and replace the search term with %s.

Greasemonkey. I learned about Greasemonkey from Mark Wilkinson's iHOPerator article. This allow users to create and install scripts to adapt any website.

Digger, Go Up and Link Widgets. Want to go to the home page of the site, but can't see where to click? Here's your answer. These three add-ons allow easy navigation back up and around the directory structure of a website, at the click of a button.

Universal Print. Forget clicking Print for every tab you've got open - just use Universal Print to print all your open tabs at once!

Sage blog reader. "It's got a lot of what you need and not much of what you don't".

Adblock Plus. No more annoying adverts.

Flashblock. With this installed, Flash animations only appear if you click on them.

Cooliris Previews. This gives you the option to hover over a link, and see a pop-up window of what lies beyond. Move the mouse away, and the preview closes.

Download Statusbar. See and manage all your downloads at the bottom of the window - the annoying download window is no more!

Blogger Web Comments. Click a little speech bubble icon in the right-hand corner of the window, and up pops what the blogosphere thinks of the page you're looking at. You can even leave it open all the time showing the most recent comment or comments.

IE Tab. Opens a session of IE in a Firefox tab.

British English Dictionary. Useful for me most of the time, but our website content and Research Highlights are supposed to be in US English, which addles my poor little brain.

Littlefox theme. You can pack more onto the screen.

CuteMenus. It just makes your menus look better.

No comments: