I’ve mentioned Firefox many times on Practical Hacks, and have urged readers who are still using IE to make the switch. What’s the big deal about Firefox? Simple: it’s fast, reliable and extremely functional – in part due to the variety of terrific Add-ons which are available.
Add-ons are small extensions which increase and expand Firefox’s functionality. They range from tools which help you research topics, manage lists and calendars, engage in social networking, speed logging on to sites… as there are over 5,000 Add-ons available, the range of functionality is impressive.
That said, here’s a quick list of several Firefox Add-ons that I’ve found indispensable (all are compatible with Firefox 3.5). In each case, click on the Add-on’s logo to visit its home page:
AutoPager speeds reviewing web pages which extend for several pages. The best examples? Google search results. StumbleUpon reviews from your friends on StumbleUpon. Digg pages. The New York Times. The list is impressive, and is added to each day.
Uses can create new AutoPager rules when they come across sites that could benefit from AutoPager’s features; doing so is fairly easy, and in this way users expand the capabilities of the Add-on.
Here’s a simple (non-narrated) ~15 second screen capture of AutoPager in action (scrolling through Google search results):
Ever come across an article or a site you’d like to return to at some point in the future, but don’t want to clutter up your bookmarks with it? Click on a checkmark adjacent to your address bar when visiting such a web page, and it’s saved so you can, ahem, read it later – thanks to this Add-On.
I’ve mentioned RoboForm, the password manager I use, on these pages in the past. RoboForm is fantastic – enter a Master Password and then all you need do is select the site you want to log onto, and you’re automatically directed to the site and your user name and password are entered automatically. It’s secure and it works great, except…
…the merry pranksters at a few sites I visit – my local bank, Vanguard.com, and a few others – have beefed up security and these sites require you to visit a couple of different screens to log on. Enter your user name on one, then enter your password on another. This messes up RoboForm.
iMacros is what its name implies: this Add-on enables you to create simple macros and save (or even bookmark) them. In practice, all you need to do is go to the site in question, hit the iMacros icon in your browser, hit the “Record” button, and then go through the screens and keystrokes needed to visit the site. When done, hit stop, “Save,” and if you want, bookmark in order to add the macro to your bookmarks. Full security is available.
You can use iMacros to save any similar multi-step process you do on the web, cutting down the amount of time you need each day. It’s simple, reasonably intuitive, and works great. Did I mention that all Firefox Add-ons are free?
Providing you a better idea of which results are likely to suit your needs, GooglePreview inserts an image preview and popularity rankings to your Google search results (click for a close-up view):
Ubiquity is an amazing time saver as it allows the use of dynamic commands. A couple of simple examples: launch Ubiquity (requires hitting 2 keys), type “Wiki” and the subject you’re interested in, and a number of corresponding links (with previews) pop up; type “You” and subject matter, and several YouTube video options are presented; “weather” and a city name or zip code:
Ubiquity is quite powerful; you can read about it in this Practical Hacks post: Ubiquity – experimental Firefox extension which adds remarkable functionality and speed to browsing!
Capture Fox is a simple extension which enables you to do simple screencasts. With the screencast function, you can record your voice.
Similarly, Screengrab enables you to grab an image of your entire screen, a selection, or a frame. It’s simple and very fast. The advantage of Screengrab is that it “remembers” the folder you’ve most recently saved images in – unlike some similar Add-ons.
This is a partial list of the Firefox Add-ons that I use, but these are the best in terms of saving me time each day. If you use other Add-ons that you feel are indispensable, please mention them by commenting.
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- Aww fer chrissakes, they updated Firefox!
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- Ubiquity: Experimental Firefox extension which adds remarkable functionality & speed to browsing!
- Firefox, IE users: jump to any site’s home page in an instant!