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Best of the Web Development Add-ons

Most Popular Firefox Web Development Tools

One thing is for sure, with the correctly equipped Firefox browser, you too can become a better web designer or developer. How so? Well, Firefox has some really great tools for both of these jobs. Finding the one that doe the best job, is another job all on it’s own.

Firefox has a lot of web development add-ons you can use, however these are the best of the best at what they do.

  • Console² – Console² (pronounced Console Squared or Console Two) replaces the JavaScript Console with what could be the next generation Error Console. From v0.5 includes the Console Filter extension previously available separately from the Console² website.
  • User Agent Switcher – The User Agent Switcher extension adds a menu and a toolbar button to switch the user agent of the browser.
  • Firebug – Firebug integrates with Firefox to put a wealth of development tools at your fingertips while you browse. You can edit, debug, and monitor CSS, HTML, and JavaScript live in any web page.
  • MeasureIt – Draw out a ruler to get the pixel width and height of any elements on a webpage.
  • FoxyProxy – FoxyProxy is an advanced proxy management tool that completely replaces Firefox’s limited proxying capabilities. It offers more features than SwitchProxy, ProxyButton, QuickProxy, xyzproxy, ProxyTex, TorButton, etc.
  • FirePHP – FirePHP enables you to log to your Firebug Console using a simple PHP method call. You must have Firebug installed and the “Net” panel enabled to use this extension.
  • ColorZilla – Advanced Eyedropper, ColorPicker, Page Zoomer and other colorful goodies. Perfect color picker tool for Firefox.
  • Stylish – Perfect for testing those tiny CSS tweaks, you can also restyle the rest of the web too with this unique user styles manager.
  • View Source Chart – Graphically displays HTML tag boundaries, nesting tag orders, structure and hierarchy. In other words, it makes it all pretty looking.
  • Web Developer – The Web Developer extension adds a menu and a toolbar with various web developer tools.

Disagree or have your own suggestion for the perfect web designer or web development add-on that should be on this list? Drop in a comment and let us know. We’d love to hear your feedback!

Instant Google Shortcuts with GButts

Do you use a lot of Google services?  The Firefox add-on, GButts, will help you get quick and easy access to any Google service you want, next to your address bar or anywhere else you might need it.

Here are all the Google services you can quickly show or hide via the extension.

Add a Google Service Button, Anywhere!

You can customize how much space you want to save with the options across the bottom (by making the menu a toolbar or a drop down menu).  You also have the option of a horizontal or vertical menu.  You can then right-click on your toolbar, go to “Customize” and then drag and drop the GButts Toolbar you created on to your toolbar layout – anywhere you might need it.

If you are a heavy Google user – the GButts add-on should be right up your alley.

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.

Tweak up the Bookmarks Bar in Firefox

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Tired of the way your Firefox bookmarks toolbar looks?  Here are some easy tweaks you can make, as long as you have the Stylish add-on installed.

Gradient Background for the Bookmarks Bar

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Hide the Bookmarks Toolbar, Forever!

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Hide only the Folder Icons on the Bookmarks Toolbar

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Hide ALL Icons on the Bookmarks Toolbar

hide-icons

Auto-Hide the Bookmarks Toolbar

auto-hide

Icons Only (text on hover) via the Bookmarks Toolbar)

show-on-hover

Save on Space! Compress Bookmarks Toolbar Items

save-space

To make use of any of these changes, go download and check out the Stylish extension for Firefox.  It makes customization a pretty easy task, if you can find some jewels like the links above or you know a little CSS.

Smart Bookmarks Bar

Running out of room in your bookmarks toolbar?  You could do some spring cleaning – but winter is quickly coming upon us.  Next idea?  Well the Smart Bookmarks Bar add-on for Firefox promises to simplify your cluttered bookmark rat’s nest.

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It shrinks your bookmarks down to only the favicons.  So what?  Well, the magic happens when you hover over one of the bookmarks.  Bookmark names will be displayed when you mouse over them.  Pretty nifty, right?

You can pick up the Smart Bookmarks Bar on the Firefox Add-ons web site.

The Super Essential Ultimate Unofficial MySpace Toolbar

1 How is that for a Firefox add-on name?  Alright, truth be told I might have added a little to it.  The toolbar’s name is really just the Ultimate MySpace Toolbar.  I think my name has a little more flare though.  This MySpace toolbar offers a lot of nice features including:

  • Easily navigate MySpace from anywhere on the web
  • Stay connected to MySpace.com with persistent login
  • Receive notifications with updating messages
  • Clean up messy profile pages with the “Simplify” button
  • Make your profile look good with My Space or Yours.net custom layouts
  • Navigate everything on your MySpace profile and other users MySpace profiles with dual menu controls
    Ok, so where is the catch?  This MySpace toolbar is brought to you by the same people who developed Me.dium.  You get to merge two of the Web’s darlings, MySpace and Me.dium… kind of.  The MySpace toolbar comes with Me.dium’s Social Search, which they describe as “the world’s first crowd-powered search engine”. 
    It will help you keep your finger on the pulse of the entire internet with search results generated by what the crowds are surfing right now!  Just be careful for those oddball Firefox loving freaks out there on MySpace.  

Digg’s Firefox 3 Extension

It has been a long time since I spend a lot of quality time with Digg.com, but I know a lot of you might be excited to see they released a new toolbar for Firefox 3.  You can divide things into two major features, the new notifications and the toolbar itself.

Here are Digg’s official descriptions of these two new key features:

Notifications: No matter where you are on the web, you can discover popular Digg stories and stay up to date on what your friends are Digging, submitting and commenting. These notifications are fully customizable. Within your preferences you can track different categories and media types, and turn notifications on or off.

Digg Toolbar: Displays Digg counts & comments as you browse around the web. You can also Digg and submit stories directly from the toolbar, which is collapsible to save space. Note that the toolbar respects user privacy by passing only hashed URLs to Digg to check if they’ve already been submitted.

Overall I’d say it was a lot more unique than I was expecting, so if you spend a lot of your day going back and forth on Digg, this toolbar is for you.  You can download the new add-on on Digg.com.

Remove the Toolbar Notes in Firefox 3

More of a pain than a savior, the toolbar the toolbar tip floating boxes of help and information in Firefox tend to hurt me more than help me.  Yes, I know the reload button allows me to reload the current page, I got it!

remove-helpIf you want to disable this feature, follow these steps:

Step 1: In your address bar, type in about:config

Step 2: If given a warning, tell Firefox you promise to be nice.  Now type this into your Filter search box at the top:

browser.chrome.toolbar_tips

Step 3: Now only one result should be showing up.  Right-click where it says “browser.chrome.toolbar_tips” and select “Toggle”.  You want to turn this from True to False.  (If you want them back, just toggle it again to turn this feature back on).  Now you can go ahead and get back to your browsing.

There you have it, no more annoying popup tips coming your way getting in the way of your browser thanks to our good ol’ buddy, about:config.

Browse Through Only the Images

Wish to access only the images on a page and none of the clutter – like those annoying big words, style and layout? For those out there who want the images and the images only the Browse Images add-on should get the job done.

Once installed you can browse all linked images of a page one after another or all at once.

The Browse Images add-on at Work!

On the positive side of things, Browse Images does make it rather easy to browse through multiple images when a web site might not make the job all that fun to do (thanks to bad design or bad organization of the links. On the negative side, I really could do without having yet another toolbar in Firefox. I think a lot of this functionality could have been kept in a statusbar icon.