How to ensure that your extensions work on Firefox 3.0

Here are the steps that I found useful to port my extensions from Firefox 2.0 to 3.0:

  • Step 1: Just start Firefox and allow it to update the extensions. You could go to: Tools -> Add-ons -> Extensions -> Find updates.
    This should update many of the extensions. Restart Firefox.
  • Step 2: For those extensions where the auto-update has not functioned properly, you might want to manually see if an update is available. This is because for some extensions, the auto-update may not recognize that a new version is available.
    • Uninstall the older version and restart Firefox.
    • Search for the addons here and add them.
  • Step 3: Install the MR Tech Toolkit extension.
  • Step 4: For those extensions that have still not been updated and you need desperately, just see if the option 'Make compatible' from MR Tech. This option is available when you right click an extension in the Extension tab. If the compatibility range is upto some older version of 3.0 (for example 3.0b5) then this might work.
  • Step 5: Look for updates at a higher frequency over the next few days. Developers will be forced to ensure that their extension works in new version of Firefox so you can expect an update soon.

Screen real estate optimization in Firefox

So here is a collection of hacks that I have made in my Firefox browser to optimize the usage of real estate and still have control over my browser

  • Install the TinyMenu extension to replace your menu with a single menu item.
  • Now that you have space in your main menu-bar, move all your navigation toolbar items to the main menu-bar and then hide the navigation bar. Also hide the toolbar. You can do this by right-clicking on one of the toolbars and unchecking all of them!
  • Right click the Main menu bar, choose Customize. Remove the Home and other icons that you hardly use.
  • Remove the 'Go' button next to the address bar, remove the magnifying glass, remove Back/Forward/Reload/Stop buttons when disabled as shown here.
  • Install the Searchbar Autosizer extension to make your search bar extremely small and then to expand when you type characters in the search box.
  • Auto-hide the tab bar.
  • Use Fuller screen to remove the menu-bar and status bar when not required!
  • Preview your tabs and search for one using Firefox Showcase extension.
  • Clean up your menu's using Menu editor extension.
  • Keyboar shortcuts are extremely important to increase your productivity. Reconfigure your shortcuts using Keyconfig extension.
  • Also you can add these new key combinations in Keyconfig to cycle through your tabs:

Move one tab left (Ctrl+Left)

if(gBrowser.mTabContainer.selectedIndex == 0)
gBrowser.mTabContainer.selectedIndex = gBrowser.mTabContainer.childNodes.length - 1;
else
gBrowser.mTabContainer.advanceSelectedTab(-1);

Move one tab right (Ctrl+Right)

if(gBrowser.mTabContainer.selectedIndex == gBrowser.mTabContainer.childNodes.length - 1)
gBrowser.mTabContainer.selectedIndex = 0;
else
gBrowser.mTabContainer.advanceSelectedTab(1);

And once you do this, you will definitely want to take backup of your profile. Use FEBE and you are done!

Firefox extensions – my picks II (a web developer’s heaven)

Are you into development of scripts using JS and DOM? Do you do AJAXian scripting (using XMLHttp etc)? Then you might have realized the pain of not being able to debug them when faced with problems. A set of 'alert's is not always elegant.

So here's what you do:
1. First things first : Use Firefox
2. Install these extensions.

* Venkman Javascript Debugger : https://addons.mozilla.org/extensions/moreinfo.php?id=216&application=firefox
If you start using this, you will forget that you are using a browser. You will see how the browser is changing into something like an IDE. More about it here.

* Firebug : https://addons.mozilla.org/extensions/moreinfo.php?id=1843&application=firefox
This extension shows you errors that occur during rendering of a page. Click on the line no and it will transfer you to the appropriate line in the appropriate file. Not just this, you can also use this to inspect different values of the HTML DOM, by just clicking inspect element and then clicking the item that you want to inspect and find request/responses of XMLHttp Requests.

* Hypertext DOM browser : https://addons.mozilla.org/extensions/moreinfo.php?id=1584&application=firefox
Yet another cool extension that helps you view the DOM values. This is more 'navigable' than the one that Firebug provides. It also has an evaluator, which helps you to navigate to the appropriate node and then start inspecting the values.

HTML scripting has never been as much fun before!

Firefox extensions – my picks

Recently I have developed a craze for Firefox extensions. Although I knew about the extensibility of Firefox, I was not aware of the different extensions that helped me use the browser JUST the way I wanted to.

I use Firefox 1.5 and although some extensions don't have extensions compatible with this version, some hacks can be done to make 1.0 extension work in 1.5.

Here is the list of extensions that I recommend (alphabetical order):

* Fasterfox 1.0.1: http://fasterfox.mozdev.org/
This extension speeds up the loading of pages.

* FoxyTunes 1.1.5.4: http://www.foxytunes.org/firefox/
Use this extension to control virtually any player from within Firefox.

* Gmail Delete Button 3.3: http://www.arantius.com/article/arantius/gmail+delete+button/
This extension adds a (much expected) Delete button in the Gmail interface.

* IE Tab 1.0.7: http://ietab.mozdev.org/
Open pages that REQUIRE IE from within Firefox at the click of a button.

* Image Zoom 0.2.2: http://imagezoom.yellowgorilla.net/
Helps you zoom in/out images (this feature is otherwise not available in Firefox).

* Live HTTP Headers 0.11: http://livehttpheaders.mozdev.org/
Very useful for HTTP users to find out the exact HTTP headers of all incoming/outgoing requests.

* MR Tech Local Install 4.0: http://www.mrtech.com/extensions/
This has a lot of features, one of them worth mentioning is the Firefox restart option, that can be used to restart Firefox when you install themes/plugins.

* RSS Panel 1.18: http://www.xs4all.nl/~jlpoutre/BoT/Javascript/RSSpanel/
If there is an RSS embedded in a page, this extension displays a panel containing the titles of the RSS feeds and also allows you to open the RSS link.

* ScrapBook 0.18.4: http://amb.vis.ne.jp/mozilla/scrapbook/
Another beauty. This extension makes your Firefox like a grabber.

Other than its use as a grabber, there is another interesting way of using it:
Consider that you want to grab all IEEE papers related to topic XYZ. Usually these papers (the freely available ones) are published in the PDF format. So Google for:

filetype:pdf IEEE XYZ

and then use Scrapbook to grab all PDF's. Voila, all PDF's are now downloaded in a jiffy.

* Scrollbar Anywhere 0.8: http://perso.wanadoo.fr/marc.boullet/ext/extensions-en.html
If you are using a 2 button mouse, then use this extension to scroll the window, by right-clicking in the browsing window and then dragging the mouse.

* SessionSaver .2 0.2.1.030.4: http://adblock.ethereal.net/alchemy.cgi/SessionSaver
My favorite. 🙂 This extension, combined with the MR Tech Restart magically transforms your browsing experience. You can use this extension to restore your session the way you left it. You can also re-open an accidentally closed tab.

* Tab Mix Plus 0.2.5.2: http://tmp.garyr.net
Adds several options to the tabs. PS: Instead of installing different extensions for single tab related features, use this ONE extension for all your TAB needs.

* Viamatic foXpose 0.2: http://viamatic.com/firefox
This extension helps you to see all the open tabs in neat little tiles. You then click on a tile and move to that tab.

* Web Developer 1.0: http://chrispederick.com/work/webdeveloper/
A breeze for web developers. This allows you to work with your Firefox browser to perform various checks – like image properties, form properties and you also get to use it like a dynamic CSS editor (my favorite option).

Some others that are good – this list has those extensions that are really good, but I use them less frequently:

* Answers 1.24: http://www.answers.com
* DownThemAll! 0.9.8.4: http://downthemall.mozdev.org
* FlashGot 0.5.9.99: http://flashgot.net
* Gmail Manager 0.4.1: http://www.longfocus.com/firefox/gmanager
* Super DragAndGo 0.2.4: http://morphis.eu.org/
* Tab Mix Plus 0.2.5.2: http://tmp.garyr.net

And yeah, before I conclude, let me tell you this:

There is an application called MozBackup (http://mozbackup.jasnapaka.com/) that helps you in saving your configuration so that you can restore it in case of crashes, or transfer it to a different system.