Want to create your own Firefox search plugin? The steps on how to do this used to be a lot easier back in the early days of Firefox, but now with the OpenSearch protocol in all modern browsers – the steps are a little more difficult. Have no fear though, because I have found a resource that will make creating your own Firefox search plugin easy again and it takes only a few simple steps.
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Did you know that you could add another toolbar to Firefox without needing to install an add-on? This customization feature is often overlooked and can come in handy if you need some extra space to store your buttons or any other toolbar elements you have added to Firefox.
Although the feature might not get as much love as others, the Live Bookmarks function of Firefox is one to be admired. Live Bookmarks can deliver you the most recent updates to you from any website, right in Firefox. This is done through the magic of RSS (really simple syndication) and the Firefox browser. So how can you set up a Live Bookmark and what exactly are they good for? Let me walk you through the process.
Ever wanted to write your own Firefox extension, but thought the process was too drawn out or difficult to do? Jetpack is looking to use open Web technologies to enhance the browser. The idea here is that if you can make a web page, you will be able to build an add-on for Firefox.
This video does a great job at giving you a basic walk-though of what Jetpack development looks like thus far:
Overall, I am really excited about this! I always love to tweak away at Firefox using tools like Greasemonkey and Stylish (which Jetpack reminds me of, in a sense of being simple ways to extend the browser).
Word of warning, this is an extremely early release of the software, that is still being designed and developed. This version that is out now is pretty much just for the developers and testers who want to start getting their hands dirty.
Grab Jetpack, and play around with it yourself. It might not be for everybody, however should really help to inspire those of us who like to tweak around with our browser to make it work for us.
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?
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?
We have looked at the ten most popular search extensions for Firefox, however we can not overlook the many popular search engines you can add to the Firefox search box.
Most Popular Search Plugins for Firefox *
- YouTube – Find all kinds of cool web videos.
- IMDB – Quickly find that one actor that was in that movie you just saw.
- Wikipedia – The web’s encyclopedia.
- Album-Cover-Art.org – Quickly find album art from your favorite musical artists.
- isoHunt – BT search – Find ISO images quickly using this search plugin.
- Merriam-Webster – It is like the dictionary, but Online! (insert ooh and awe here)
- Live Search – Microsoft’s lovable underdog of a search engine.
- Flickr – Find photos by searching via the image tags.
- Weather Channel – Is that a tornado in your pants, or are you just happy to see me?
- Amazon – Use Amazon’s A9 search to find Amazon products, and anything else on the Web.
Roll Your Own Search Plugin
Want to roll your own search plugin using any web site search box out there. That is an easy task to accomplish with the Add to Search Bar extension. If you want to “do it by hand” you can also create your own plugins with this handy tutorial from the Mozilla Developer Center.
More Search Plugin Databases
Now with those mentioned, you can’t mention the search engine box without mentioning the MyCroft project. There you can find a search engine plugin or search provider that you can quickly add to the Firefox search box.
To check out their most popular search engines, be sure to check out the Top 100 listings.
What tools and plugins do you use to keep your searching in order?
* – Yes,I left Google off the popular plugin list, cause everybody knows about Google.
Got a great idea for a Mozilla-based t-shirt?
Inspired by the Firefox 3 t-shirt design contest, the new Mozilla Community Store gives you the chance to design a shirt for Mozilla anytime you wish. It is time to take that great idea to the public, and Mozilla will help you do it (as long as it is Mozilla related).
Here are a few of my favorites I have seen thus far…
Every shirt they have listed was created by the Mozilla community. Once you find the design you like, you can customize it even further (by selecting the style, color and much more) then order it. Think of it as Firefox add-ons for your body.
If you create any of your own designs – share them with us here. Would love to check ‘em out!
Some time ago, I told you about my favorite tutorial for people wanting to know how to build their own Firefox theme. I am happy to say that the twisted-one himself, TwisterMc has updated his digital class in Firefox design to cover Firefox 3.
There are a few requirements, such as getting your own unique UUID, giving TwisterMc some credit, and coming up with something original – but those are easily done in exchange for the knowledge you will be receiving.
Some of the tutorials covered are:
- Packaging Firefox Themes
- Creating Your Themes’ Identity & Install Files
- Graphics Editing for Firefox Themes
- Custom Firefox Toolbar Buttons
- Customizing Toolbar Backgrounds
- Submitting Your Theme to Mozilla
- Customize Firefox’s Scrollbar
- Changing Fonts & Colors in Firefox Themes
- User Generated Q&A
Check it all out here:
Big thanks to TwisterMc for updating this for all of us to enjoy. Know of anymore theme resources or tutorials out there?
Over at CyberNet they have posted a great guide on how to create your own smart bookmarks. Smart bookmarks are the new feature to Firefox 3 that allow you to bring up your saved links in new, unique and useful ways. For example, you could browse through your most recently bookmarked links, your most recently visited links, and so on.
Check out Create Your Own Smart Bookmarks in Firefox 3!
I got an E-mail the other day from a guy who wanted to know if I knew of a starting spot for people to visit if they were interested in making extensions for Firefox. I had to do some hunting around – but then I found this link via Mozilla’s own Web site:
Extensions are small add-ons that add new functionality to Mozilla applications such as Firefox and Thunderbird. They can add anything from a toolbar button to a completely new feature. They allow the application to be customized to fit the personal needs of each user if they need additional features, while keeping the applications small to download.
There is a lot of good information here to be had. Check it out for yourself, and if you have any more resources please leave a comment and let us all know about them.