Tag Archives | add-ons

Not All Toolbars Are Evil

Toolbars Can Be Good

Having seen the phase of toolbar upon toolbar come our way in this browsing generation, many have been labeled as evil space wasters that must be done away with.  However, I do have to say not ever toolbar out there is evil.  Now I don’t think you should ever become this crazy, but used in the right way they can be handy. 

Look at these handy toolbars you can add to Firefox:

  • Forecastfox – Get international weather forecasts from AccuWeather.com, and display it in any toolbar or statusbar with this highly customizable and unobtrusive extension.
  • Google Toolbar – Ok, I haven’t really used the Google Toolbar in half a decade, however it does still have a few handy things about it.
  • Fire.fm – It gives you access to the extensive music library on Last.fm. Last.fm gives free radio to the US, UK, and Germany, plus subscriber-based service to the rest of the world. Listen to your favorite music and discover new artists in the process.
  • Web Developer Toolbar – The Web Developer extension adds a menu and a toolbar with various web developer tools.

So see – not every toolbar is bad.  Are there any more toolbars you really enjoy?  Don’t be afraid, share with the rest of us in the comments.

Show the Status Bar in Full Screen Mode

See the Status Bar in Full Screen Firefox

Ever needed to see your Firefox status bar when browsing in full screen mode (you can get into full screen mode by hitting the F11 key on your keyboard).  If you answered, “Yes, tell me more!” do I ever have that add-on of your dreams.

Simply called Full Screen Status Bar, this add-on for Firefox shows the status bar in full screen mode.  It is a very simple tweak that should make many full screen web browser users very happy.

Pick it up for yourself, and give it a shot at the Mozilla add-ons web site.

Challenge Issued to Extend Firefox 3.5

Extend Firefox 3.5 Coming back after a one year hiatus, the Extend Firefox contest is ready to make you into the next great Firefox extender?  A personal favorite of mine, the global developer contest for Firefox always brings in a lot of cool, unique and fun extensions for people like me to use and review.  

What are the prizes this time around?  Here are just a few:

  • Development gear, including a brand new 15" MacBook Pro
  • A license for the TextMate IDE by MacroMates
  • A license for the Versions SVN client by Sofa
  • A license for ExpanDrive by ExpanDrive
  • Firefox Ogio Metro Backpack stuffed with t-shirts, stickers, and more

Sure, I got passed up for being a judge again this year, but hey… can’t argue the fact they do have a nice selection of judges to choose from.

Last year’s contest received over 100 add-on submissions, which will be a hard record to beat.  However, with some hard work I think that record can be broken.  Extend Firefox 3.5 is open now and runs through October 2nd, 2009.  Good luck to all that enter!

Firefox Add-on Collector

Firefox's Add-on Collector It would not make any sense to have an add-on collection without having a collector to collect them with.  Alongside the new collections feature on the Firefox Add-ons site – there is an extension to go with it.  The Mozilla Firefox Add-on Collector will help you discover and organize your favorites into easy to manage collections.

How can you access them?  Well, collections that you have marked as favorites in the Collection Dire4ctory will show up in a special section of the Add-ons Manager.  That way, you can stay up to date with each collection.  Also with it installed, each add-on you install can be easily shared with a friend or published to one of your own collections.  So this makes testing and using add-ons for Firefox a much more social experience than it was before.

Go here to download the add-on and get started with your own collection.

If you have posted your own collection for the public to see using the Firefox Add-on Collector, post it in the comments.  Would really love to see what you have all come up with.

Collections of Add-ons

Firefox Collections Along with the new Firefox Add-ons web site, the people at Mozilla also treated us to a new feature called collections.  What are they?  Well, they are a group of related add-ons that are assembled for easy sharing. 

Here are some of my favorites I have found thus far:

  • Web Developer’s Toolbox
    12 add-ons to help you speed up the development process when it comes to web development and managing the ins and outs of your own web site.
  • Downloadsquad Pack
    Soup up your browser with selections from the Downloadsquad.com staff and some of our readers’ favorite add-ons. They’ll help make your browsing safer, more hassle free, and more productive!
  • Traveler’s Pack
    When the travel bug bites, these add-ons make it easy to plan, book and document your trip — without getting lost along the way.

That is just a small sample of what is out there, and who know – I might be working on a Firefox Facts Pack in the near future.  Creating your own pack is easy to do.  All you have to do is login to the addons.mozilla.org web site, and then visit the create a collection page.  From there, you give it a name, description, decide if you want your pack to be public or private, then start naming off your add-ons that will be included. 

What have been your favorite add-on collections, so far?

Firefox Add-ons Site Gets a Makeover

New Firefox Add-on Love!

Today is the day that Firefox’s new add-on site has gone live.  You can check it all out at addons.mozilla.org.  The new look and feel does look nice, and there is a lot to love here.  For example, on the main page you have  rotating list of suggestions based on categories like web development, family, social, travel and more.  Each category on the left-side menu also has a number count – so you can see exactly how many extensions there are.  My favorite new feature might be the listing of recommended, popular, just added and updated extensions all right on the front page.  No more hunting around link to link to find them all. 

So, what is your general feeling for the new Firefox add-ons site?  Love it or hate it?  I’ll be sure to be diving into more features from this new site later on – but till then I want to hear what you think about it.

Shareaholic – Share the Best of the Web via Firefox

I have looked at Shareaholic, the super-charged link sharing tool for Firefox, before in the past, however, there have been many new features and renovations since the last time I checked out this power house of a Firefox extension.

I thought it would be worth the effort to re-introduce you to this fine add-on for Firefox.

What is so Special About Shareaholic?

Easy Customization for How to Use Shareaholic The main idea behind Shareaholic, is to be the ultimate add-on for the link sharing addict.  It works with Facebook, Twiter, MySpace, digg, Gmail, StumbleUpon and more; giving you instant access to reach for all your link submitting and sharing needs.

One nice feature new to me, since the last time I checked out this add-on is the ability to customize how the add-on is displayed in Firefox.  You can have it show up in the URL bar, in your context menu, or as a button in the navigation panel.

By far, this is one of the best add-ons to get your hands on if you are a social network junkie, and need any easy way to submit to them all.  With that said though, you can easily customize which social sites are viewable (or not) in the options too. 

Pick the Social Networks You Want/Need to Use

Any Firefox add-on that lets me customize how to use it, so that I can make it suit my own needs even more is a winner in my book.  De-clutter your browser and pick up Shareaholic up on the official web site, Shareaholic.com or via the Firefox Add-ons site.

Get the Best of Firefox on FirefoxFacts.com

New Feature on Firefox Facts

Have you seen the new menu item on FirefoxFacts.com?  I have gone through the four years of archives I’ve posted here to find all of the “best of” Firefox-related posts.  Here is just a small sample of the posts you will find there:

Be sure to check out the new “Best of Firefox” page via FirefoxFacts.com, for a true collection of every best of list I have put out there over the years.

Beginner’s Guide to Greasemonkey

943948800 In a nutshell, Greasemonkey is an add-on for Firefox that allows you to customize a web site’s look and function.  Now you don’t have to be a coder to use it though, because there are already hundreds of scripts out there available for free that you can use to help you do a number of different things.

How Do You Use Greasemonkey?

Once you have installed Greasemonkey, you will see the little monkey’s head come up in your status bar.  From here you can create a new user script of your own or you can edit the ones you have already installed.  You also have the ability to enable and disable scripts or Greasemonkey all together, if you need to.

Where Can I Find Greasemonkey User Scripts?

Finding Greasemonkey scripts is easy.  For that, let me point you in the direction of Userscripts.org. This is a great depository of user scripts people have created to get more out of various web sites.  You can browse through all of the scripts, or search for the web site you want to modify.

Greasefire, another extension for Firefox can also help.  It will let you know in the status bar how many user scripts are available for that specific URL you are visiting. Here are a few more of my favorite Greasemonkey script collections:

How Can I Make My Own User Scripts for Greasemonkey?

Making your own Greasemonkey user scripts might be a ‘bit of a challenge, unless you are an old JavaScript coding pro.  It does take some learning, however there are several resources on the Web that will help you teach yourself.  One of the best is the Dive into Greasemonkey eBook.  Here are a few more resources to help you create your own user script:

Once you have made a successful Greasemonkey userscript, you might even look into creating it into a stand alone Firefox add-on.

If you like the tweak the Web, and make it your own, then Greasemonkey is well worth picking up as a Firefox extension.  The add-on, plus some user scripting can lead to helping you get more out of your favorite web sites, and then share that help with others.  When push comes to shove, isn’t that what the Internet should be all about?

Firefox Profile Files – What Do They Do?

Firefox Profile FilesWhen browsing through your Firefox profile folder, you might see a lot of odd files. Some might make sense, such as your searchplugins folder, however others might seem a little odd.

Here are some of the important files you might seen in your profile folder and what they are used for.

  • search.sqlite and the searchplugins folder – The first file, search.sqlite stores the order that your search engines (for the search box) are sorted. Inside of the searchplugins folder you can find all the extra search engines you have installed.
  • mimeTypes.rdf – your preferences with respect to what Firefox does when it comes across known file types.
  • formhistory.sqlite - this is where information that you have searched for or entered into forms on web sites (think autocomplete) is stored.
  • places.sqlite – this is the file that contains your bookmarks and previously visited web sites.
  • cert8.db – all your security certificate settings and any SSL certificates you have imported are stored here.
  • permissions.sqlite – the file here stores site specific preferences, such as if you allow it to install add-ons, show images, display popups or any special orders you have allowed for that domain.
  • key3.db and signons3.txt – these are the files that store your password information you have saved.
  • persdict.dat – this file will hold your words you have personally put into Firefox’s built in spellchecker.
  • cookies.sqlite – your web site cookies are stored here.

Now, I do know there are more files – however, these are the files that are most important for you to know about, just in case something bad might happen.  Hopefully, this additional documentation will come in handy when troubleshooting your own Firefox issues or problems.