Mozilla Firefox Extensions & v1.5
I’ve been a user of the Firefox web browser for some time now. There’s been a lot written in the press about how Firefox is safer over IE, and I believe that to only marginally be true. Firefox is considered safer because it’s got a smaller market value, and there’s fewer attacks on it vs. Internet Explorer. Anyway, I consider it to be a good, solid, fast browser, and what makes it powerful for me are it’s extensions. IE has the ability to extend itself too, but the difference is IE is tied into the operating system, and it’s “extension” method (ActiveX) is a bit more dangerous in terms of attacks.
Firefox’s extensions are a bit more secure (as I understand how it works). There are a boatload of extensions available to do all sorts of things. After using several of them, these are my regulars. Ones I use for some reason or another. I’ve wanted to detail them for awhile now, but haven’t. The other day, Firefox v1.5 final was released, and as such I had to evaluate my extensions again, as v1.5 breaks some of them. Here’s a list of all the extensions I use with Firefox v1.5 and what they do.
These extensions are all working in Firefox v1.5 for me:
Adblock: Should be extension #1 for everyone. Lets you block advertisements.
Webdeveloper: This extension adds a whole mess of tools relevent to doing web development work. Things liek showing tags, css, image stuff.
Google Preview: This one will show you screen captures of the resultant webpages in search results in Google.
Sage: This should probably be on everyone’s installation. It’s an rss feed reader for Firefox. The way it handles rss is incredible, I really love this program. Since I’ve installed it, it’s kept me from actually visiting an awful number of sites with all their different looks and feels. Since you’re reading the news/posts in your rss reader, they all look the same to you.
Signature: This was created to allow you to enter signatures in online messages in areas where they didn’t exist. However, I use it as a form answer program, as well as having it store templates for some repeated pages in other websites I do.
Flashblock: This one will disallow the automatic execution of flash files on webpages. Helps keep a lot of stupid annoying advertisements at bay. Has a whitelist feature (which I’m proud to say they put in at my request). The whitelist is necessary for sites that have flash as part of their main navigational scheme (like mlb.com for instance).
Tabbrowser Preferences: This extension has a lot of features, but I pretty much only use it for one, and that’s to force Firefox to load links that would open another window in another tab.
BookmarksHome: This is one of my lesser used extensions. It will basically make a nice page of all your bookmarks which you can view in your browser.
PDF Download: This is a simple extension. All it does is give you a prompt for what you want to do when you click on a pdf link. It gives you the option of saving the pdf to your hard drive, or just viewing it in your browser.
Customize Google: This extension allows you to have more information on a Google search. It will do autofill when you’re typing in the google box (with approx search result numbers), it will put links to other search engines at the top of the page, and also remove unwanted information (like ads). On image searches, it rewrites the results to link directly to the image, and not that transient results page Google displays by default. If you use Google a lot, you should check this out.
These extensions need an update from the author:
Spoofstick: Spoofstick places something in your browser which always shows you what web server you’re on. Good for detecting phising stuff, as it will always show you were you really are. This one is not compatible with Firefox v1.5. I had to modify the install xpi file to tell it to use Firefox 1.5. A true update is probably needed from the author.
Minimize to Tray: This is another simple one. When you minimize Firefox, it doesn’t leave it in the taskbar, it minimizes it to your system tray. This one does not work with v1.5 at all, and my trick of modifying the xpi file didn’t work either. Currently disabled, waiting on an update from the author.
These extensions don’t work in v1.5 either. I actually had forgotten I had them installed, and didn’t bother updating them.
Whois: Gave you a right click option in Firefox to bring up another window with a whois entry on that particular domain you happen to be on.
Bookmarks Syncronizer: This would let you “backup” your bookmarks file by uploading the file via ftp. I ended up turning it off, because it would try doing that every time I made a change and then quit Firefox. I got tired of waiting for it to do it’s thing before it actually quit the program.
As a seperate note, if you use Internet explorer, search out PopUpCop. When I was an IE person, I swore by it. On the odd time I still use IE, I still have PopUpCop installed. It basically has the features of adblock and flashblock combined, along with a lot of other coolness.
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Joe, I have Firefox at work ever since my IE got attacked by spyware, and since then, I have had no problems. I love it.