It’s kind of embarrassing to admit this since I like to think of myself as a somewhat tech-savvy guy, but I just switched my default browser to Firefox this week. I haven’t been living in the dark. For the past three years I’ve been using Slimbrowser, a nice Internet Explorer add-on that turns it into a very useful tabbed browser. It’s so good, in fact, that I liked it much better than the default version of Firefox. Rather than spending time customizing Firefox, I stuck with the program that had nearly everything I liked preconfigured.
That finally changed with the introduction of GChat, which makes the tabs in Slimbrowser dance around annoyingly when a new message arrives. So now I’m using Firefox and going a little crazy with the extensions (though not as crazy as this guy). I’ve listed what I have below, but I’m sure I’m missing out on some great ones. Any more suggestions? Leave them in the comments, please.
[Instant update: Now that I think about it, the GChat problem could be fixed by setting the maximum tab length to a low number. Oh well, I still like Firefox.]
Tab Mix Plus — This is the one extension that I couldn’t live without. No Tab Mix, no Firefox. This gives you all sorts of control over how your tabs behave. I was able to duplicate the SlimBrowser behavior with it in just a few minutes, minus the buggy GChat dancing. It also has a session restore, tab close undo, and a few other features.
Colorful Tabs — Completely non-essential, but I like it. Makes all your tabs a different color, making them a little easier to tell apart and beautifying your screen a bit.
Web Developer — I used this a lot when I was redesigning this site last year. Tons of features displaying how a web page hangs together. If you’re designing a site and can’t figure out why some aspect of it isn’t working right, this extension could save you a big headache.
MeasureIt — Another handy one for site design. Draw a box anywhere on a web page and it shows you the length and height in pixels.
Screen Grab! — Nice screen shot extension. Saves either the entire browser window, the visible portion of a web page, or an entire web page as an image.
ConQuery — Puts search options into the context (right click) menu.
No-referrer — Gives the option to open a link in a new tab without sending referrer information. Kind of esoteric, but maybe something you’ll use when you don’t want people to know how obsessively you check your site stats.
FireFTP — Haven’t actually tried this one yet, but looks like a handy browser-based FTP program.
ListZilla — Outputs a list of your Firefox extensions with links to their homepages. Useful as backup and for creating blog entries like this one.
Installing Greasemonkey is probably the next step. That opens up a whole new range of possibilities. If you have some favorite Greasemonkey scripts, feel free to leave those in the comments, too.
[Update 5/5/06: While it’s not a Firefox extension, I should have also mentioned the FoxIt pdf reader. It’s an alternative to Adobe Acrobat reader that’s a lot lighter and faster. If you hate waiting through the Adobe startup process as much as I do, you’ll love this.