Archive | Add-ons Reviews

Split Up Your Browser

Split Browser, the add-on for Firefox, splits up the content area of the browser in as many windows as you like.  Each window you see, also has its own mini browser inside.

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This is a really helpful extension for those people out there that work on multiple pages at the same time and down want to have two Firefox windows open side by side or don’t want to switch between tabs.  There are several ways you can decide to split your window too.

Ways to become more productive by splitting up your browser…

  • Choose the "Split Browser to" menu in the context menu.
  • Choose the "Load in Split Browser" menu in the context menu on link.
  • Click popup-button on top/bottom/left/right edges of the content area.
  • Drop links, bookmarks, etc. to popup-button on top/bottom/left/right edges of the content area while dragging.

too-many-windows There is no limit to the number of windows you can open inside of your browser.  Of course, adding too many might get a little on the silly side.  Click the picture to your right to see an example of the madness that can happen with a few too many windows open.

Another great use for this, would be to view one page normally, and then load up a mobile or sidebar-friendly page and squeeze it down so everything fits in nicely.  You can pick up the Split Browser add-on for Firefox on the Firefox Add-ons web site or learn more about it on the official Split Browser web site.

Quickly Access All the Other Browsers from Firefox

943948800 What are you to do when you need to switch to another internet browser in a hurry?  Sure we all love Firefox, but some of us use maybe two or three other browsers for the Web too.  How can you quickly leap into Safari, Opera, Chrome or even Internet Explorer from Firefox?  Very easily.

1221148333 Open Links in Chrome – As the new kid on the block, it took some hunting to find a good way to switch to Chrome in a hurry.  The Chrome View add-on for Firefox is what you need.  This extension lets you open the page your currently viewing in Firefox, via Google’s new Chrome browser.

ie_logo Open Links in Internet Explorer – Switching from Firefox to Internet Explorer is something we have been doing for some time now.  There are two great add-ons that allow you to do this.  The first is IE View.  This extension gives you the ability to open any page you have open in Firefox, in Internet Explorer.  An even better alternative though is IE Tab.  IE Tab will embed Internet Explorer inside of your Firefox tab, so you don’t really even have to switch browsers.

opera_logo Open Links in Opera – Ah, yes Opera.  The girl at the dance with all the features that nobody uses.  Just in case you might want to hop over to Opera usage for a while, there is OperaView.  This too will give you a new context menu item that will let you open the target link in Opera.  Great for web developers or people who just like to be “different”.  (don’t worry, we won’t tell anybody)

safari_logo Open Links in Safari – Lastly, the new pretty boy on the block (at least for Windows users) before Chrome took the spot, Safari switching can be done with an add-on too.  Safari View (mac) and Safari View (win) get you from Firefox to Apple’s browsing delight very quickly.

Make the Search Box Work (and Resize) for You!

1174761255 I remember one of the early problems with every version of Firefox (until 3 came out) was the fact that you couldn’t edit how long the search box in the right corner should be.  Thankfully, with Firefox 3, now all you have to do is stretch it over to fit your needs.  So why would you need any of the older add-ons like Searchbar Autosizer?

Let me tell you there are still plenty of good reasons to give this Firefox search tool a shot.  Once installed, it shrinks your search box to the smallest size it can.  However, as you type into the search box, it extends itself to the left – so you can see everything you have typed in thus far.

Diving Deeper into the Searchbar Autosizer Options…

You can configure just about every size and resizing option with the add-on, but for those of us who don’t like to get too geeky there are three basic setting to choose from:

  • Size incrementally, to each letter
  • Enlarge Search box on first strike
  • Keep the same width all the time

When you have finished submitting a query, you can also choose to empty the search box (or not), revert to the default search engine (or not), and shrink search box to button if empty (or not).  They also promote the fact that their extension should work with any Firefox theme out there.  After testing with a few, I couldn’t prove them wrong on that point.   If you get stuck, they have a pretty nice FAQ too.

Searchbar Autosizer - Screenshot 1 Searchbar Autosizer - Screenshot 2 Searchbar Autosizer - Screenshot 3

You can pickup this classic Firefox companion at the Firefox Add-ons web site or at the official web site for the extension.

Better Tab Switching with FoxTab

foxtab3 Want a new way to quickly and elegantly switch between tabs in Firefox?  FoxTab is a new experimental add-on for Firefox, and it makes switching between tabs a very unique experience. 

You can view your tabs in a number of different ways:

  • Wall – like a TV store. select the desired tab (“TV screen”) from a wall.
  • Grid – the tabs are aligned on a grid.
  • Row – the tabs arranged in a row.
  • Cycle – rotate between tabs.

Activating it is easy.  Either hit the toolbar button for it, or hold the Ctrl key down and then hit the Tab key.  If you want to keep it front and center, just hit Ctrl + Q.  From the options, you can also set the size of the tab switcher (just in case you don’t like it being full screen). 

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All in all it provides a new visual method for quick tab switching that is both useful and beautiful at the same time.  Currently FoxTab is only for Windows users, and is an experimental add-on.  If you wish to download it, and try it out – you can do so at the Firefox Add-ons site.

Grab Color Palettes in Firefox

icon_big Sitting in the left corner of your status bar, until you are ready for it to jump into action Palette Grabber for Firefox, will grab the color scheme for any site on the web you are viewing.

Here is a little more about the extension from the developer:

Palette Grabber is a Firefox extension for web designers. It adds an “Export color palette” command to your Tools menu; selecting this command will extract a color palette for the current page and export it to a Photoshop/Illustrator color palette file. It’s useful for creating mockups of new designs which share a color palette with an existing design.

The Palette Grabber extension supports Photoshop, Flash, PaintShop Pro, GIMP, Adobe Fireworks, and Mac OS X Color Picker palette formats.  You can pick it up from the official web site at http://www.gusprevas.info/palettegrabber/.

Open Documents Online via Firefox

open-it-online Open IT Online, an add-on for Firefox, delivers you what you want.  Well, it delivers you what you want, if you are one of those people who love all these new Online services such as Zoho’s office applications or Google Docs.  Open IT Online allows you to open your documents and images online without the need of any software to be installed.

Here are some of the extension types it can recognize and handle:

  • Documents (*.doc, *.rtf, *.odt, *.sxw)
  • Spreadsheets (*.xls, *.csv, *.ods, *.sxc)
  • Presentations (*.ppt, *.pps, *.odp, *.sxi)
  • Images (*.jpg, *.gif, *.png)

How do you use it?  Well whenever you face a document with the “Open With” option, it will also give you the option to open it Online.  From there you can choose one of the various Web 2.0 tools to view and edit the document in question.

One last really nice feature is that Open IT Online gives you the ability to also see the file size of the document you are about to view.  This is handy in determining if you want to open the file, or not.

You can pick up the Open IT Online extension from the Firefox Add-ons site or learn more about it at OpenItOnline.com.

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”.

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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.