Archive | Add-ons Reviews

Does Devo for Firefox Whip it? Whip it Good?

Now we took a look at Ubiquity, which looks to be the next mashup tool plus launcher for the Firefox browser.  There is another one, and it’s name is Devo.  Here is a little more about Devo from the developers of the Firefox extensions:

Inspired by Enso and Quicksilver, Devo is a command launcher for Firefox. This extension allows you to perform complex actions & searches on webpages, Firefox and other Firefox extensions in just a few keystrokes.

Now we all know when a problem comes along, you must whip it.

devo-for-firefox

It is easy to see why Devo was un the running for the Extend Firefox 3 contest.

Devo does a darn good job at whipping up a nice launching extension for Firefox.  You can pick it up on Firefox’s Addon web site.  It is still an experimental add-on, so you will need to register at mozilla.org or steal a login from bugmenot to pick this addition to Firefox 3 up.

Badges for Favicons

Think of that wasted space in your tab bar.  You know, where the favicon for the web site your visiting rests.  Isn’t there enough room there to fit in a little more information about the web site you are visiting?

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The new Firefox add-on Badges on Favicon takes advantage of that idea very well.  It allows you to put a rounded badge over the tab favicon of some pages.  Where does this come in handy?  Well what if you could see in your tab the number of unread Gmail messages you had?  Or how about if it told you how many new posts were in Google Reader?

Nuggets of Information for Your Tabs

The extension uses little scripts, called badgets. The badgets define both the appearance of the badge (color, position, size of the text, etc.) and how to get the data from the current page. The extension comes with three sample badgets that work with Gmail, iGoogle Reader Gadget and Zenbe. But you can install your own badgets and even create your own for your preferred site.

This add-on was also a runner up in the Extend Firefox 3 contest.  It is still listed as “experimental” so you might need to visit BugMeNot for a user name and password (or sign up on Mozilla.org) to use before trying to download.

HandyTags – Useful Tag Suggestions for Bookmarks

HandyTag As another Extend Firefox 3 contest winner, HandyTag deserves a look.  This add-on for Firefox provides a complete set of the most relevant keywords when you bookmark a page.  Where do these keywords come from?  Many different sources from around the Web.

This comes in handy when you bookmark a page, and your not sure exactly with what words it should be tagged with (or you don’t want to take the time to think it out).  There is no need for straining your brain to think of descriptive tags any longer with this extension.

You can pick HandyTag up on the Firefox Add-ons web site and learn more about HandyTag on the official web site.  It is still sandboxed on Firefox’s web site, so if you need a login to try it out, be sure to checkout these bugmenot username and password combinations.

Drawing Diagrams with Pencil

After winning the Extend Firefox 3 contest, I thought it might be worth checking out Pencil to see what all the buzz was about.  This add-on for Firefox is an open source tool for creating diagrams and GUI prototyping that everybody can use.  As they put it, “With the power of the underlying Mozilla Gecko engine, Pencil turns your excellent Firefox 3 browser into a sketching tool with just a 400-kilobyte installation package”.

Selected-home

Some of the features included are:

  • Built-in stencils for diagraming and prototyping
  • Multi-page document with background page
  • On-screen text editing with rich-text supports
  • PNG rasterizing
  • Undo/redo supports

If your a little lost, or just getting started, they also have a great series of tutorials to help you learn a little more:

Working with Shapes – Brief introductions to Pencil functionalities in dealing with shapes to create diagrams.

Working with Documents – Instructions on how to work with documents, pages and export them into rasterized images.

Working with External Objects – Details on the Pencil supports for external images, rich text contents.

If anything Pencil shows you the power of what Firefox can do, with a little creativity.  You can learn more about the project at the official web site and pickup the extension on the Firefox Add-ons web site.

Ubiquity – Mashing the Web Naturally

ubiquity Now when you hear mashing or mashups of services, you think of wacky combinations like Yahoogle or Microdigg. A web site or service that awkwardly brings two or more services together.  Ubiquity, a new Firefox add-on from Mozilla wants to turn mashing on it’s head.  How?  They are going to take a more natural approach to it.

Ubiquity takes language based instructions and turns them into action, right where you  need them to be.  This video goes a great job at explaining the add-on and showing it in action:


Ubiquity for Firefox from Aza Raskin on Vimeo.

Here are a few more tutorials to get you started:

The initial prototype is a little rough, and not ready for prime time yet.  It does show a lot of promise though, and with a little creativity this type of tool could go a long way.  Ubiquity looks to be another amazing tool to add to the many that have come out of Mozilla Labs.

TraceMonkey

Thanks to a new JavaScript engine (named TraceMonkey) it looks as if Firefox 3.1 is going to be getting a major boost in performance.

Here are the benchmarks thus far:

assorted-benchmarks

Be sure to check out Brendan’s Roadmap Updates for more.  Also here are a few handy links from John Resig on the testing:

So the big question is, will Firefox be able to make Firefox 3.1 even faster in the area of JavaScript?  If you have the nightly build of Firefox 3.1 installed, you can turn TraceMonkey on by going to about:config and then toggle the javascript.options.jit.content setting from false to true.  For the rest of us out there though, this is just one more surprise to look forward to once Firefox 3.1 gets rolled out to the public.

For more info, be sure to check out Firefox 3.1 to Get More JavaScript Speed Optimizations – as the CyberNet team had done a good in-depth look into this and has done the best job at making it make sense to everybody.

Text Area Resizer and Mover

1 Isn’t there already a text area resizer add-on for Firefox?  Yes, there is. Text Area Resizer & Mover however adds some more functionality and class to an already great Firefox add-on idea.

To use the add-on, just resize by right-clicking anywhere inside of the text area.  With this, dragging becomes an really easy task and the often sensible site layout remains untouched.  Here is more help on how to use this extension from the author.

Additionally you can move whole text areas to another place. Double click inside of an area and all areas will get unlocked and movable. The repositioned area will stay fixed on the place of your choice even if you are scrolling the page. Double click once more to lock the areas again. The extension’s options allow some manual adjustments (e.g. use context menu item instead of double click or additional key modifiers for mouse gesture users).

You can pickup Text Area Resizer & Mover at the Firefox Add-ons site or the extension’s official home page.

Add Tab Clicking Options

Need a few more options for your Firefox tabs?  Twanno’s Tab Clicking Options extension for Firefox should do the trick.  With the Tab Clicking Options extension it is possible to set various actions to different clicking events on the tab bar or a tab in the Firefox browser.

duplicatetab The events you can assign an action to are:

  • Double clicking
  • Clicking with middle mouse button
  • Left clicking with control-key (or meta-key on Mac) pressed
  • Left clicking with alt-key pressed
  • Left clicking with shift-key pressed
  • And the actions which you can choose from are:

  • Open a new tab
  • Reload the tab
  • Reload all tabs
  • Close tab
  • Close other tabs
  • Close all tabs
  • Duplicate Tab
  • Duplicate Tab in New Window
  • Undo Close Tab (only in Firefox 2.0 beta or with extensions)
  • Bookmark Tab
  • Bookmark All Tabs (not in Firefox 1.0)
  • No Action
  • This is no doubt that Tab Clicking Options makes it easier to work with your tabs in a number of different ways.  Also, because I know somebody will bring it up – Tab Mix Plus will also do a lot of these same things too. So if you want an alternative – there you go.  (via Download Squad)

    Bonus: Via Twanno’s Firefox extensions page you can also pick up his Duplicate Tab add-on for the browser.  It allows you to clone a tab along with its history.

Tagmarks – Better Tagging Through Icons

Tagmarks Want to make tagging your bookmarks as easy as clicking an icon?  Tagmarks, the add-on for Firefox, hopes to do just that.  The idea here is to bring one-click bookmarking in Firefox together with the tagging power of the browser.

With Tagmarks, you have a lot of different icons that popup whenever you hover over the traditional bookmarking star you see in the Firefox 3 address bar.  When you click in each icon, it will add the page to the bookmarks and associate that icon with that page, through the use of tags.

Selecting one icon has the same effect as clicking on the bookmarking star. It will add the page to the bookmark.   The perk here is that it will also apply a tag to the page and always remember and show that icon when you are at that page.  Think of it as a visual tool for you too, to say for example, “oh that is a search magnifying glass, this must be a search site”.

mouseover

Watch the Screencast of Tagmarks in Action!

You can pickup Tagmarks on the Firefox Add-ons site.  It is still sandboxed, so if you need a login to download it, check out this list of user names and passwords you can use.  Also check out the author of the add-on’s web site for more information on how to get the most out of Tagmarks.

Add Sound to Tasks in Firefox

Most Wanted

I have had several requests in the past from people wanting to know if I knew of an extension that would help you add sound effects to tasks in Firefox.

I never did spend too much time on this request because personally I like my browser to be nice and silent.  People with special needs though could use an add-on like this so my search started.  Looking high and low, I found one add-on that promises to do the job, the Noise extension for Firefox.

Here is a little more about the Noise add-on from the developer:

After installed and you have restarted Firefox, sounds should be ready to response events.  You can try open Findbar (Ctrl + F) and find a word, when the find reaching the end of page (when hit F3 to find nexts), you can heard a “beep” sound.

Noise-PrefwindowTo edit the noises and events, go to Add-ons Manager (via Tools > Add-ons Manager) and find Noise.  Enter the Preference Window via the Option command.  More help for using the add-on can be found at the official web site.

The Noise extension is still in the Firefox sandbox, so if you want to use it – you will need to register for a free account on the mozilla.org site.

Extra Tip: Might also try these BugMeNot usernames and passwords if you don’t have the time to register on Mozilla’s site to get access to sandboxed add-ons.