Favourite Mozilla and Firefox extensions

One of the things that make Mozilla and Firefox so great is the number of excellent extensions that are available for them. Some extensions are of great help to web developers, while others can help improve anybody’s everyday browsing experience.

There are so many extensions available it may be hard to know where to start. Every now and then I take a look at what’s available and try out anything that looks interesting. I’ll let you know which extensions are my favourites if you tell me yours.

Adblock
This is pretty much a must have if you’re going to visit any of the major newspaper sites, especially some of the Swedish ones (check out Aftonbladet for an example). Yes, I have ads on my own site, but they are text ads, which I myself find quite bearable on other sites. Blinking, animated, bandwidth-sucking Flash banners and movies, however, is something I do not want in my browser.
DictionarySearch
Looks up highlighted text in an online dictionary.
Fangs
Designed to emulate the output of the Jaws screen reader, this is a good way to do a first accessibility check. It only works in Firefox, which is slightly annoying since I tend to switch between Mozilla and Firefox, depending on my mood.
Google PageRank status
Want to know the Google PageRank of a page? This checks and displays it for all pages you visit.
Tabbrowser Preferences
Don’t like sites that insist on opening links in new windows? Me neither. This extension prevents that, and lets you decide whether links should be opened in a new tab or in the current tab (my preference).
TargetAlert
This extension makes you aware of any links that target other files than HTML documents by displaying an icon next to them. Excellent for avoiding accidentally opening PDF documents, email links, and others.
User Agent Switcher
For those cases where you need to access a site that discriminates people using real browsers, this will let you fool the server into thinking that you are using Internet Explorer for Windows. Yes, user switching is evil, but sometimes necessary, though to a much lesser extent now than a couple of years ago. If you use this, remember to switch back to the default UA string when you leave the offending site. It’s very important to get as many non-IE hits as possible in server logs.
Web Developer Extension
This extension is absolutely indispensable. I use it all the time. Validation, disabling CSS, JavaScript or Cookies, outlining elements, you name it, it’s in there, and only a configurable keystroke away. No web developer should be without this.

Those are my current favourite extensions for Mozilla/Firefox. You got any others to recommend?

Posted on January 13, 2005 in Browsers

Comments

  1. I often use IE View when some half-witted web designer has made something that won’t work in Firefox.

  2. I have recently started to use Sage 1.3 feed reader. It seems to work fast and suits my basic needs. Let’s see how it turns out.

  3. Besides some of those you posted, I also use BugMeNot to bypass compulsory web registration on sites like NY Times, and Slogger to save sites locally if I wanna browse offline (so I can read blog posts and stuff on the plane, bus, whatever).

  4. You can’t forget Gmail Notifier. I also want to second Simon, because I also use ieview a lot for testing my designs in IE. Focus Last Selected Tab is also pretty good, but it’s not really a must-have in my humble opinion.

  5. Bookmarks Synchronizer is an essential one for me. It keeps my bookmarks synched up on several computers at home and at the office via FTP. I like Mouse Gestures too - I really only use the gestures for Back, Forward, and new tab.

  6. January 13, 2005 by Roger Johansson (Author comment)

    Wow. I see that I’ve managed to miss a few extensions ;)

    IE View is out of bounds for me (Mac user), and I have resisted the temptation to give Gmail a try. We’ll see how long that lasts.

    I’ve heard of Sage, but being pretty happy with NetnewsWire Lite I haven’t checked it out. I will now.

    I didn’t know about the BugMeNot extension. I’ve been using a favelet instead.

    Gonna have to check out the others too.

  7. And then there’s SpellBound, which allows you to spellcheck any form text field in Firefox. A must for bloggers, for instance.

  8. LiveHTTPHeaders is great for checking cachability and making sure the right MIME types are being sent. I also love ColorZilla. Great for grabbing colors off the web.

  9. I discovered IEView only recently, but it’s quite useful. Yet the Firefox extensions I use most are the Gmail Notifier, the definitely indispensable Web Developer Extension, Linky, Tabbrowser Preferences combined with Tab X, Weatherfox, and Adblock, which I also use to block text ads.

    Unfortunately BugMeNot seems to have stopped working after I did the last upgrade. I like the sound of that Fangs extension, which I hadn’t heard of before. Definitely going to check that one out now.

  10. I second the Web Developer extension. It is so useful both when I am navigating the web and when working on my own sites.

    If you use BlogLines, you can download a plugin for different browsers, including Firefox, that notifies you when there are new entries for your list of blogs.

  11. There are several that I use that are already on the list, but some other favs are the Bloglines notifier, FoxyTunes, and all of the fun search extensions like PHP documentation, and Bible search.

  12. Furthermore, Firefox can become a FTP client for light use thanks to fireFTP

  13. January 13, 2005 by Jeff J. Snider

    My two favorites (besides Web Developer, which I don’t know how I ever lived without) are FoxyTunes and ColorZilla. FoxyTunes is nice because it allows you to control your music from your browser, so you don’t have to switch back and forth. I use iTunes on Windows, so this extension allows me to set iTunes to minimize to the system tray instead of the taskbar, which saves me room down there. And ColorZilla is wonderful, because it means no more screenshot -> Photoshop when I want to play with color schemes I find on the web.

  14. One not mentioned yet is the excellent Copy URL 1.3

  15. January 13, 2005 by daveeee

    Firefox kicks so much a$$. And the extensions really make it so much more than other browsers.

    I use these:

    Adblock Tabbrowser Preferences Linkification Chromedit LiveLines WebmailCompose Super DragAndGo Bloglines Toolkit SmoothWheel Add Bookmark Here All-in-One-Gestures BugMeNot Gmail Noticier Web Developer Bookmarks Synchronizer EditCSS URI id Translation Panel Tabbrowser Extensions

    Can live with them; can’t without them. I’ve, unfortunately, had to reinstall xp 3 times in so many months, and after my AV and firewall, firefox plus all these are next on the list.

    /me nods to Jeff J. Snider for reminding him to re-install ColorZilla; thanks!

    Great site, great work, great thoughts.

    FB

  16. I use ieview, Web Developer (a must!), FoxyTunes, Image Zoom, FoxyVoice, BugMeNot 0.6, TweakNetwork, and DictionarySearch.

    I had to reinstall BugMeNot to get it to work with the latest version of Firefox. It used to be part of the extentions you could get at the Firefox extensions site, but for some reason they took it off. You can get it at http://extensions.roachfiend.com/index.php.

  17. January 14, 2005 by Erik Johansson

    Yes web Developer is essential, and I use a lot of the others mentioned here too. One more useful extension is Translate.

    There is a website called the extensions mirror that actually has a lot of extensions in later versions than the mozilla addons site. Like Web Developer 0.9.2 compared to 0.8 and Translate 0.6.0.6 compared to 0.6.0.1 on the mozilla site.

  18. January 14, 2005 by David

    Firefox has become one of my most used applications thanks to the functionality of extensions. My essentials are Tabbrowser Extensions, Adblock, Mozilla Calendar, Quicknote, FireFTP, Googlebar, Bookmark Backup, BugMeNot, and Sage 1.3, ImageZoom, and User Agent Switcher, along with about 25 others. I’ve converted two of my co-workers to Firefox after showing them the extensions that are available (and the other features built-in to Firefox).

  19. January 14, 2005 by Jeff J. Snider

    By the way, if you do decide to go with Gmail, let me know, and I will send you an invite. (I assume that as the owner of the board, you can see my email address even though it’s not posted publicly.)

  20. January 14, 2005 by John B

    Bookmark Synchronizer is absolutely essential. I use it to keep my home and work bookmarks synched and backed up. I only have one problem. I wish I could somehow associate certain links with certain locations. For example, I really don’t want sites like Fark.com or JoeCartoon.com in my bookmarks at work, just in case the network naziis come snooping around (doesn’t matter that I don’t ever go to those sites at work). So I keep shortcuts like those, and other decidedly non-work-related links, in a folder on my home computer only.

  21. I also have the mozCC plugin, it’s fairly cool when your checking stuff out on flickr and little CC icons will popup telling you what you can do with images and stuff. As well as alot of the stuff you talked about I also use the google page rank plugin. This site is a 7 by the way, and thats quite good.

  22. After reading about your review on Web Developer Extension I had to download it…

    …What a great tool!

  23. Hi,

    Here are a few I find useful that I haven’t seen mentioned yet:

    01: Context Search - This extention expands the contest’s menu “Web Search For…” to use Mycroft Search Plugins (search highlighted words in Google, Amazon, and etc.).

    02: Add Bookmark Here - This extension adds an option to the bookmarks menu and/or the context menu for bookmark folders that enables you to add a bookmark to that folder.

    03: Paste and Go - This extension lets you paste an URL from the clipboard into the address bar and load it as a single step, either via the adress bar’s context menu or by pressing Ctrl-Shift-V.

    04: BBCode - This extension adds a context menu for easy access to BBCode formating such as in PHBB Forums.

    Best regards,
    M. Wilson

  24. Thanks for the great suggestions. I just installed TargetAlert on your recommendation. How cool!
    I absolutely love the Web Developer extension as well. As for tab tweaking, I much prefer Tabbrowser Extensions over Tabbrowser Preferences.
    Another one of my favorites is ChromEdit, because it gives me quick access to the user profile files.

  25. My favorites:

    Web developer (Great for web developing)
    Sage (RSS reader in Firefox)
    Fangs (JAWS simulator)
    Foxy voice (Reading the site)
    IE View (Opens the page in IE)
    Spellbound (Check the spelling in any form field)

    All can be read about it here (Hope that is ok with an link to my site)

  26. Adblock, Web Developer and Tabbrowser are my core extensions though I do find it strange the Mozilla team didn’t integrate rearrangeable tabs as default.

  27. In addition to Sage, I’d recommend using LiveLines, which just makes adding feeds to Sage so much easier.

    Also, since I’ve found that Firefox sometimes chokes on Flash, I use Flashblock, which presents a placeholder “button” that you can then click to load and play the movie. It expecially saves my sanity when I come across those sites that run a plethora of giant Flash banner ads.

  28. I use pretty much the same set you guys do, I just found the Target Alert the day before last and it’s really handy. Only one person mentioned ForecastFox (formerly WeatherFox), more of you should really check it out.

    Bloglines users have to have the Bloglines Toolkit and Livelines, the toolkit provides a notifier and a way to add feeds through the context menu. The Livelines extension lets you change the functionality of the Firefox RSS icon. Both really useful.

  29. Just wrote about the same thing on my site the other day…

    The only thing I haven’t seen here that I use is Disable Targets for Downloads which gets rid of the annoying empty popups when downloading files (such as pdfs).

    ChromEdit is one of my new found favorites for editing the user configuration files.

  30. January 14, 2005 by Roger Johansson (Author comment)

    Gee, I never thought I’d get this many responses to this. Extending Mozilla/Firefox sure is popular, and many interesting extensions have been mentioned in these comments. Thanks!

  31. I like IE-view, of course. I think it is extremely funny! It would also be posible to use IE directly without the FF detour.

    You don’t seem to have trackbacks and I don’t dare to write links on your site but I have made fun of you on

    http://www.karlsson.at/perm/perm2.htm#elementq

    ;-)

    Kind regards

    Bengt

  32. January 16, 2005 by Roger Johansson (Author comment)

    Bengt: Sure, if you use Windows and really like using an outdated, sub-standard, insecure excuse for a web browser, go ahead and use IE ;-)

    No trackbacks here, but feel free to add links as long as they don’t classify as spam.

  33. Web Developer and ColorZilla are my two favorite extensions. I don’t know how I managed before Web Developer…

  34. ResizeSearchBox extension :

    “adds a resize thumb to the toolbar which can be used to resize the search box. The resize thumb is added by customizing the toolbar.”

    http://dragtotab.mozdev.org/resizesearchbox/

  35. No one using the checky extension here? It is very useful for validating a lot of stuff (HTML, CSS, RSS, WAI and so on):

    Document validation and analysis Extension for Firefox, Mozilla and Netscape

    Quite useful as well:

    Session Saver

  36. german blog netbib hast started a similiar list, first entry over there is a great extension for downloading/saving webpages (for your private archive): scrapbook

  37. January 17, 2005 by Kenny F

    SmoothWheel: The SmoothWheel extension will scroll the page smoothly with the mouse wheel. SmoothWheel utilizes several smart algorithms for smoothness and adaptive behaviour. http://smoothwheel.mozdev.org/index.html

    Scrolls so smoothly that you can read the text as it is scrolling. I love it!

    Foxytunes rocks! Control your iTunes from the Firefox window. (You are listening to Groove Salad from SomaFM aren’t you!)

  38. January 18, 2005 by Daniel

    As I work with producing pages for mobile telephones I find the WML Browser indespecible. Ohh yeah and no web designer/developer should be without Web Developer.

  39. January 18, 2005 by Daniel

    Sorry forgot to add HTML tidy, WOW this one is sooo good, just click on view source and you have all your errors and warnings right there. Click on clean up page and Presto clean mark up.

  40. I’m quite a big fan of ColorZilla. Its an ace little tool.

  41. January 18, 2005 by Roger Johansson (Author comment)

    To all that have mentioned Foxytunes: it looks very interesting, but I can’t get it to work. Firefox 1.0/Mac OS X/iTunes.

    Checky: Yep, I used that a lot a couple of years ago (in Mozilla), but now I tend to use the Web Developer Extension instead.

    HTML Tidy: is that the extension available from HTML VALIDATOR (based on Tidy)? It looks useful, but I’d have to do some compiling and stuff to get it running on Mac OS X.

    ResizeSearchBox: Excellent. I was thinking of that just the other day.

    SmoothWheel: Neat!

  42. As for Mozilla Firefox Extensions, I cannot live without the JavaScript Debugger

    And the Download Manager Tweak is indispensible: I hate having Firefox spawn more than one window.

    On a side note, many of the extensions you originally listed, and some not, are built into Opera. I have compared Firefox extensions with Opera

    PS! I know you’re probably doing this to prevent comment spam, but I was, on first submitting this presented with a “403 forbidden” message, because I had turned off “Enable Referrer logging” in Opera.

  43. January 18, 2005 by Roger Johansson (Author comment)

    Arve:
    Nice feature comparison. Just to make things clear, I have nothing against Opera. The more good browsers there are, the better :-) I guess I should use Opera for a couple of days to try it out properly.

    And yes, your comment submission problem is caused by one of the anti-span measures I’ve taken. A very effective measure (so far). Since I added that check, not a single spammy comment has been posted. Nothing even gets through to MT blacklist.
    It is unfortunate that it can cause problems for legitimate commenters though. I suppose I should at least write something about it in my commenting guidelines.

  44. Roger, Fangs is working in Mozilla since version 0.70 or so (current release is 0.80). Thank you for mentioning it.

  45. January 18, 2005 by Roger Johansson (Author comment)

    Pete: OK that’s nice. Sorry for not checking thoroughly. I haven’t been able to install Fangs in Mozilla, so I assumed that it wasn’t compatible. I just tried again (with Fangs 0.8), and the Software Installation dialog says “Not a valid install package”. Any idea what’s up with that?

  46. Roger, No problem for me, since Opera keeps form data when going back. I know that this could cause problems for others, though, since some browsers may very well empty the forms when the user clicks back.

    Perhaps using a custom cgi or script that prints out the form data on the error screen would be an idea?

  47. January 18, 2005 by Isaac Lin

    Cookie Button restores to Firefox a very useful capability available in the newer Mozilla releases. It makes it easy to change the cookie settings for the current web page (set to default, reject, accept for session, and accept). In Mozilla this is available from the Tools -> Cookie Manager submenu but without Cookie Button, in Firefox you have to go fiddle with the Privacy options.

  48. This is such a great blog entry that I’m printing it to use as a checklist for future Moz/FF installations!

    I don’t know how I lived without the Web Dev toolbar. Also can’t live without: IE View; Session Saver; Google PR Status; and FoxyTunes.

    Might I suggest a favelet from slayeroffice? Favelet Suite is full of features, I especially love the mouseover DOM inspector: http://slayeroffice.com/?c=/content/tools/suite.html

    Also, a great stand-alone color app is Blaiz Hexcolor: http://www.blaiz.net/HEXCOLOR.HTM

  49. January 25, 2005 by Don Crowley

    sage, webdeveloper toolbar, fireftp are ace. Tab extentions could be great but I don’t get it. The sage extention froze it all. I had to uninstall all three version I had and reinstall 1.0, It works fine now. I also like copy plain text. The reactions here should stand as a monument to all people who took the time to develope this incredible browser

  50. Jumping in late, but can’t resist :) My favorites are…

    StockTicker or AlphaTicker: Shows your favorite stocks in a customized ticker.

    Clone Window: Makes the New Window command clone the current tab’s address and history

    undoclosetab: Allows recently closed tabs to be reopened.

    Nuke Image: Adds a “Remove this image” entry to the right-click context menu. and Nuke Anything: Adds a “Remove this object” entry to the right-click context menu.

    ConQuery: context sensitive webquery extension

    Clusty Toolbar: To obtain encyclopedia information (from Wikipedia), dictionary definitions by selecting a word or phrase and right-clicking

    Text Size Toolbar: Adds text size buttons to the toolbar.

    I think these two extensions should have been a part of the browser:

    Tooltip Enhancer: Show URL as tooltip on mouseover in full screen mode.

    deskCut: Adds desktop shortcut creation to the context-menu.

  51. Thanks for this post, lots of goodies to check out! One that’s not been mentioned is the Link Toolbar, which is a useful way to navigate sites with the relevant tags (though it makes reasonable guesses when these tags are missing).

  52. Oops, that should be “relevant <link> tags”

  53. I still think opera is better than firefox, but maybe i just had a bad experience with firefox. Opera has never let me down.

  54. March 29, 2006 by Emily Eames

    Thanks for being there. I would like to know what to download to enable me to download a web site to view offline. I am making a web site and want to share it freely to be able to read offline. Thank you so much!

    Emily

  55. March 29, 2006 by Roger Johansson (Author comment)

    Emily: I’m not sure if a site downloading extension for Firefox exists. I would be very interested in something similar myself, so if anyone has any tips I’m all ears.

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