Tag Archives | features

Firefox 3.5 Preview – What’s New?

We are about to roll upon that point in the release time frame for Firefox 3.5 where everybody and their grandmother is going to be telling you about all the cool new features that will be in store for you once this newest version of the Firefox browser is released.  To get ahead of the curve, Mozilla’s Mike Beltzner gives a quick preview of what’s new and exciting in Firefox 3.5 in this video tour:

Getting in on the fun, the Lifehacker team has also posted a list of the top 10 Firefox 3.5 features you should check out, if you want to see what is in store for your favorite browser.

Bonus – Also worth mentioning is there is rumors that Firefox 3.5 could be out by June 30th?

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.

Smart Zooming in Firefox

Smart zooming in Firefox

One feature I really love in Firefox, that probably does not get the credit it deserves, is the smart zooming features.  A feature that was new to Firefox 3, this allows you to zoom an entire page to make it larger or smaller.  You may need to make a site larger to make it easier to read, or you might make it smaller to fit within the screen real estate of your smaller monitors (for examples, those people out there who may have netbooks).

There are several ways you can zoom into or out of the page you are on.

Keyboard:

(make the page bigger) Ctrl and the + Key

(make the page smaller) Ctrl and the – Key

Mouse:

(make the page bigger) Hold the Ctrl Key and Scroll Up

(make the page smaller) Hold the Ctrl Key and Scroll Down

Toolbar:

View > Zoom > Zoom In

View > Zoom > Zoom Out

One more zooming trick that Firefox has up its sleeve is the ability to only zoom in on text, leaving graphics their normal sizes.  To do that, go to View > Zoom and select “Zoom Text Only”.  To reset a page’s specific zoom level (large or small), go to View > Zoom > Reset or hit Ctrl and the 0 key.  Firefox will remember which pages you have larger too.  So for example, you could zoom into FirefoxFacts.com, but when you visit WebHostingShow.com, it would still be at its normal size.  Your preferences are remembered for each site you visit.

Turn Xmarks Back into Foxmarks

Xmarks Options While some do not enjoy the most recent enhancements to the classic Foxmarks Firefox add-on, there is a way you can get the new Xmarks to act a ‘bit more like it’s predecessor.

Turn off Smarter Search in Xmarks

The first thing you want to do is go to Tools > Add-ons and then click the options button for Xmarks.  Now, under the “Discovery” Tab you can disable Smarter Search.  In your Google search results, Xmarks will highlight the top three sites based on bookmarking history.  Put your mouse over the special icon to the side of the search results to learn more information such as reviews, and rankings.  If you don’t like it, turn it off.

Turn off Site Info in Xmarks

Next, in that same options window, you can also disable the Site Info, which will turn off the feature in Xmarks that gives you more information about a web site in the location bar.  Once your done disabling things, hit the “OK” button at the bottom of the window.

There you have it, now the new features in Xmarks that some people may not like are turned off, and Xmarks starts to act a lot more like Foxmarks did. 

Tab Mix Plus

Tab Mix Plus It has been a long time since I have taken a look at Tab Mix Plus.  I know a lot of people who use it, and it continues to be one of the most popular Firefox add-ons out there.  So the first question to ask is, what makes it so darn special?

Well, the main goal of Tab Mix Plus is to give Firefox’s tabs more capabilities.  You can quickly duplicate tabs, control the tab focus, you get all kinds of tab clicking options, undo tabs and windows, and that is just scratching the surface. 

It also includes a full-featured session manager with crash recovery that can save and restore combinations of opened tabs and windows.

Tab Mix Plus Options

Need help using one Tab Mix Plus’s features?  They have a handy set of user forums here:

All in all, Tab Mix Plus is still a great addition to the Firefox browser if you need to do “more” with your tabs than the default Firefox install or any other add-ons give you. 

Back to Close

The Back to Close add-on for Firefox adds a simple ergonomic feature to Firefox I am sure a lot of people will enjoy.  When you are browsing via the browser or via a tab, if there is no history to go “back” to via the back button – it displays a “close” button instead.

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This simple change adds functionality back to the toolbar.  The extension also works with mouse gestures and and by configuring the back button on your mouse (if you have one) to the Alt + Left Arrow keyboard combination.  Users can also decide whether to show the toolbar icon via the options button in the add-on manager.

You can pick up Back to Close on the Firefox Add-ons site or check out more about the development behind it on it’s official web site

Google Toolbar Give us Chrome’s Thumbnails

Want to get Chrome’s thumbnail preview page when you open a new tab in Firefox?

Google has ported one of Chrome’s most popular features to Firefox, the personalized new tab screen.  The only catch is that you have to use the Google Toolbar to get it.  Your new tab page looks exactly like Chrome’s after the install of the Google Toolbar 5 Beta. 

Chrome's New Tab Screen in Firefox

When do you get this fantastic new edition?  This happens when you launch a new tab( hit Ctrl+T, or you double click on the empty space to the right of your tabs).  You can check out all the other features of the Google Toolbar Beta 5 on the official web site:

I stopped using Google Toolbar myself once the search box was added to most browsers.  I mean, why do I need two search boxes in one browser window?  That is a post for another day though.  However if you want to check out this new ported over feature – be sure to pick up the beta off Google’s web site.

Firefox Plans to Turn Web Apps into Desktop Apps

Remember Prism?  It was the Mozilla powered application that let you turn any web page into a desktop application.  Not much has happened since it was released, however many other browsers have started looking in that direction (merging the web and the desktop program list).  So what about Firefox?

Turning Web Apps into Desktop Apps

It appears there are plans to include “Prism-like features” into a future release of Firefox.

The plan thus far is to help users discover when they might want to make a web application into a desktop application.  For example, if you use Google Reader a lot – after so many uses, Firefox may suggest to you, “Would you like to make Google Reader a desktop application?” or “Would you like to add Google Reader to your Quick Launch bar?”.

I like the idea – and I can’t wait to see it happen.  How about you?  (Source: Download Squad)

What Firefox Features Could You Do Without?

firefox features Everybody and their grandmother has done a list of Firefox features you would like to see come to the browser, but what features could you do without?  There is no doubt that fans of Firefox like a light browsing experience, so could Firefox do with a little house cleaning of features not used or loved by many? 

Security Zone Policy Errors – This seems to be more of a problem than most people realize.  From this one blog post, I see people coming in every day having issues with it.  So, should Firefox be relying on Windows security settings for downloading applications and other potentially unsafe files from the Internet?

Descriptions for Bookmarks – Have you ever right-clicked a bookmark, Went down to properties and typed in a description about a page you had saved?  No, I haven’t either – so this might be another Firefox feature ready for the junk yard.  Name, Location, and Keyword is good enough for me.

Now it is your turn, what Firefox feature could you live without?

intensedebate-logo Firefox Facts Bonus!  This morning I installed Intense Debate for FirefoxFacts.com.  I am really excited to see how much better this makes the commenting system here on the web site.  No registration in necessary, but if you do – there are some cool extra features you will get, such as reputation points, comment voting, and tons of other cool things.  (Learn More!)

Private Browsing Makes Debut in Latest Nightly Build

Private Browsing in Firefox 

A of noise has been made about the excitement around private browsing.  Personally, this isn’t the feature I have been waiting for years to see, but it is nice to see Firefox keeping up with the competition and adding this feature in.  With this new mode (coming to Firefox 3.1) your browsing, cookies, temporary files, search, forms, and download history will not be saved.

Best thing about it that I have seen is that they will not interrupt the interface with some big bold “Hey you, you are browsing privately now” graphic.  You just get the simple (Private Browsing) in the title bar.

firefox-private-browsing-2

So are you excited to see private surfing added to Firefox or is this one of those “ehh, I guess it is ok” features for you too? Learn more about it at ehsanakhgari.org