19 March 2006

Favourite Firefox Extensions

One of the best features of Firefox undoubtedly is its customisability. Of course, there's a whole range of themes out there which can change the looks completely (and I do have many of them installed), but those are just, well, looks. More importantly are the extensions that are available freely, and they add features from security to interface to functionality. Here are a few of my favourites:

It generally blocks all Java Script, allowing them to run only if I permits them. I can either grant a site "permanent allowance" (for sites that can be trusted) to "temporary allowance" (only valid for that Firefox session). It is suppose to enhance security, but I find it better in speeding up searches, since sometimes Google searches bring up sites with lots of Java applets. It is also good against those sites that play music (Flash based) when you enter them, which is a real nuisance if you already have music drumming off your computer.

This blocks many advertisement banners on a site (not a good news for sites that depend on ads to keep them alive). Even if it fails to recognise an ad banner, I can always add that banner into the "to block" items, so next time it will block it. This is a good extension for those sites cluttered with advertisements or if you have a slow connection.

Tab Mix Plus
This one improves the most lacking feature of IE - tabs. I can do things such as change the order of the tabs or set it such that those links which open up a new browser window now open in a new tab. It also allows the locking of tabs (clicking on a link will open it in a new tab) and protection of tabs (prevent it from closing). It can also save up to a number of closed tabs, so I can reopen them if I accidentally close them. Quite a nice feature too is the duplication of a tab, which creates a new tab which has the same history as the old one. This is brilliant on sites that are not tabs-friendly, e.g. Hotmail (I wonder why...).

All-In-One Sidebar
It creates a sidebar (similar to the bookmarks) which houses almost every feature of Firefox - extensions, themes, download manager, bookmarks etc.. So instead of a new mini-window popping up everytime I open the extensions page, it opens up neatly in the sidebar. This extension, however, takes a while to set it to my preference and getting used to.

Download Statusbar
One of the more irritating features I find about Firefox is the constant appearance of the Download Manager whenever I download files (I can turn it off, but I want to know the progress sometimes). Even if you use the All-In-One Sidebar above, the sidebar will still open when you download something. This is when Download Statusbar comes in handy. What it does is to generate a small icon in the status bar at the bottom of the browser whenever downloading is in progress, indicating the percentage completion and a few other details. This extension works with All-In-One Sidebar.

Colorful Tabs
Okay, this adds no special functions to Firefox; it's feature is purely cosmetic. But it does add some colour, literally, into your browsing experience. All the tabs now has colour (yeah, that simple). It gives a nice, fresh look to the browser (though I think I might get sick of it in due time). Nonetheless, it's less than 10 kB, so why not try it out?

That's six of my favourites. And mind you, there are a lot more out there. For example, the most popular extension available is FlashGot, which allows the saving/opening of selected links in just a few clicks. (But if you want Download Statusbar, I think it is incompatible with FlashGot though.)

If you have Firefox but don't know where to get extensions, just head for Mozilla's website and click on the "Extensions" tab right at the top.

If you have any extensions that you'd like to share, feel free to drop a message in the comments or the tag-board.

On a side note, the Firefox theme I'm using now is LittleFox. As its name implies, all the icons are quite small, so it looks very neat and compact. Looks like its gonna stay for quite some time!


Currytan said...

1st of all, i wana thank you for sharing these amazing extension! Cos i am rather lazy to search ard for good extension.

I must say that the "Tab Mix Plus" extension is superb! Totally amazing! Now i am more in love with firefox. Haha mayb i should go do some extension shopping some day. =)


Pandemonium said...

I agree too that Tab Mix Plus is brilliant... its features are what I've been wanting to have on Firefox.

Actually, prior to discovering Tab Mix Plus, I had two extensions in its place - Duplicate Tab and Tabbrowser Preference - which do the same job as Tab Mix Plus. But that's two doing the job of one.