Recommended Firefox Extensions

I came across this post on Mecworks’ BLOG, and found it very interesting. I already used a couple of these extensions, but the rest are worht checking out. Thanks Marc!

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Firefox is one of the best, if not the the best web browsers available today. It’s a poster child for the OpenSource movement and a tribute to the fact that there will alway be more talented engineers outside an organization than in. Thoes engineers program because they enjoy it and find OpenSource projects outside of their work environment to fill their creative need.

One of the best features of Firefox is it’s ability to be extended via plugins and extensions. Plugins for the Firefox web browser provide viewing of enhanced content such as graphics and video formats, while extensions add to the usability and functionality of the browser itself.

As I’ve used Firefox over the last couple years or so, I have found a few extensions that really make my browser a powerfull tool for me and may do the same for you.

  • Web Developer
    Adds a menu and a toolbar with various web developer tools.
  • Forecastfox
    Get international weather forecasts from AccuWeather.com, and display it in any toolbar or statusbar with this highly customizable and unobtrusive extension.
  • Tabbrowser Preferences
    Enables enhanced control for some aspects of tabbed browsing.
  • RiteOfTongue
    Right-click on a typed word inside a web form on any webpage to get a suggested spelling for that word. Then select the word from the popup menu to change it. The words are obtained in real-time over the Internet using Yahoo!’s Spelling Suggestion service. This is a life saver if you spell as good as I do 8^)
  • Greasemonkey
    Allows you to customize the way a webpage displays using small bits of JavaScript. Hundreds of scripts, for a wide variety of pouplar sites, are already available in the Greasemonkey script repository at http://dunck.us/collab/GreaseMonkeyUserScripts. You can write your own scripts too.
  • Dict
    Extension for defining words in a Web page

The most promising and flexible extension is Greasemonkey. GM allows you to change the way you interact with sites by changing/adding/removing/disabling/etc. Javascript, CSS, form data and other aspects associated with the site. There are several GM scripts available for secific sites as well as some generic scritps. You can obtain new scripts at the dunck.us site. There are also several GM resources on the web including the mozdev site and a complete online book by Mark Pilgrim’s about using and developing user scripts for Greasemonkey called “Dive into Greasemonkey“.

Here’s a short exerpt from section 1.1 of Dive into Greasemonkey:

Greasemonkey is a Firefox extension that allows you to write scripts that alter the web pages you visit. You can use it to make a web site more readable or more usable. You can fix rendering bugs that the site owner can’t be bothered to fix themselves. You can alter pages so they work better with assistive technologies that speak a web page out loud or convert it to Braille. You can even automatically retrieve data from other sites to make two sites more interconnected.

Greasemonkey by itself does none of these things. In fact, after you install it, you won’t notice any change at all… until you start installing what are called “user scripts”. A user script is just a chunk of Javascript code, with some additional information that tells Greasemonkey where and when it should be run. Each user script can target a specific page, a specific site, or a group of sites. A user script can do anything you can do in Javascript. In fact, it can do even more than that, because Greasemonkey provides special functions that are only available to user scripts.

From my breif look at DiGM, it looks like a great resource and I expect to spend some time diving into it’s pages. Hopefully, you will either find the Firefox extensions I listed above helpful or find some of the several other browser extensions beneficial to you.

The link for the main repository of Firefox plugins can be found at https://addons.mozilla.org/extensions/

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