Firefox again

Though I blogged on several occasions in the past that I though Firefox was not quite ready for primetime yet, I have been using it as my default browser for a couple of months now and don't intend to return to IE any time soon. Not that I think Firefox is perfect though, there are still some issues with it that continue to leave me convinced that IE is still the better browser for the average, non technically inclined, user. The main two issues are:

  • While most sites work flawlessly under Firefox, there are still some sites that don't render or operate correctly under Firefox because they've obviously only been tested against IE and may use some IE-only non standard features. You can't expect an average user to realize that the fact that nothing happened when they click somewhere is because of the browser, and that they should temporarily switch to IE for this site.
  • Sometimes Firefox does not come up at all, and I need to go into TaskManager to kill a rogue firefox.exe process in order for it to work again. Again, this is not something you can expect an average user to do.
Both of these issues are easily circumvented once you're aware of them though, and are more than made up for by Firefox's many advantages over IE like tabbed browsing, incremental search, download manager, and huge number of free extensions that can make it even better. The extensions I currently use are:
  • TabBrowser Extensions - the first extension I ever used and still a must-have tool to truly customize the tabbed browsing behavior of Firefox to work just the way you want it.
  • Web Developer Extension. If you're a web-developer, you have GOT to get this extension. Especially the live CSS editing is extremely cool and useful.
  • IE View - allows you to open the current page easily in IE when you discover incompatibilities.
  • BugMeNot - lets you bypass those annoying site registrations that more and more sites seem to employ these days.
  • Nuke Anything - dynamically remove any object or selection from the current page - great to get rid of flashy ads or remove some banners prior to printing a page.
  • spellbound - spell checker.
  • Advanced Highlighter Button - get the highlighting functionality of the IE Google Toolbar in Firefox.
If you know of any other must-have extensions, feel free to let me know in the comment-section below.

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I would really like an extension that doubles the size of everything on a webpage, then I could actually use a decent resolution for my monitor. Erm but that extension doesn't exist. :(

Hmm it would be nice if SharpReader was integrated with Firefox.

Posted by Factory at December 1, 2004 4:20 AM

Factory, you should try Opera. You can magnify between 10% and 1000%

Posted by David at December 1, 2004 4:52 AM

Another extension by Chris Pederick (Web Developer Extension) that allows you to change the user agent reported to the host. It gets around a number of sites I've found that check for specific versions of browsers in script.

I wish they wouldn't do that -- you can't get IE 5.5 for the Mac.

User Agent Switcher:

Posted by Gnik at December 1, 2004 7:47 AM

Adblock is a must have extension. Allows you to specify the url of those pesky ad hosting site and remove all their content. I read a few forums that have the context sensitive ads that show up as a green underline and link to any word they have ads for. Adblock removes this perfectly.

Posted by Greg at December 1, 2004 8:51 AM

Adblock is definitely #1. Another extension I enjoy is FoxyTunes; it allows you to control your music player (e.g. iTunes) from within FireFox.

Posted by Kendall at December 1, 2004 9:30 AM

Mouse Gestures is awesome, and you can enlarge the font with a backslash motion (left to right diagonally down) which may help Factory.

Posted by Kris at December 1, 2004 9:51 AM

This is a Mozilla list. I prefer Mozilla over Firefox for some reason (integrated Composer?), but Firefox seems to have more, better extensions.

Session Saver
StumbleUpon Toolbar
Switch Proxy
Web Developer Toolbar
Mouse Gestures

Posted by piyo at December 1, 2004 10:16 AM

I also find the following helpful:
Dict, Image Zoom, Copy Plain Text, and WeatherFox.

Posted by Corey at December 1, 2004 10:42 AM

freaking out firefox
Well it started last night with favicon.ico and my google bookmark pretending to be Y! Now this morning, I no longer have a bottom status bar. I don't know how frustrating it is to be a tech guy and unable to find answers via google for a good 20 m...

Trackback from rich! 's Weblog at December 1, 2004 10:51 AM

Another mention for Adblock, it makes web browsing so much nicer:

Posted by Travis at December 1, 2004 11:42 AM

I created the following list with ListZilla.


All-in-One Gestures 0.12.4

BugMeNot 0.6

ieview 0.82

ListZilla 0.5

TBP Lite 0.6

User Agent Switcher 0.6

Posted by Iain at December 1, 2004 12:26 PM

Begging the question, of course, of when SharpReader will be able to use Firefox as the rendering engine in place of IE. Unless there is some magic way to do this and then I quote the wise Rosanne Rosannadanna, "Never mind."

Posted by BillSaysThis at December 1, 2004 12:34 PM

After reading several places that TabBrowser Extensions are buggy and problematic, I decided to uninstall them. Suddenly I stopped having the random firefox.exe processes hanging on and various JavaScript links that never worked started working. So both your problems may be solved by dumping TBE.

There's a thread on Mozillazine that will help you get all the TBE featrues you want using other, more stable plugins.

Posted by Adam Kalsey at December 1, 2004 1:27 PM

Some more useful extensions:
TinyURL (easily create shortcut URLs for long URLs that will otherwise wrap):
Bookmarks Synchronizer (save your bookmarks on an FTP server - allows you to synchronize your bookmarks between browsers on multiple PCs):

Posted by Conor Boyd at December 1, 2004 2:33 PM

Try Diggler -- "It adds a menu button next to the address bar with actions relevant to the current URL, for example to step out to the parent directory..." and more.

It's also extensible as I discuss in my blog post on it

Posted by Doug Harris at December 1, 2004 4:42 PM

I would add ColorZilla (color picker), UserAgent Switcher (for those sites that DO work in mozilla but refuse to work if you're not using IE), and the not-so-useful-but-cool WeatherFox.

Posted by Julien Adam at December 1, 2004 5:05 PM

Maybe you could check out "LookAhead" - good for some types of searches...

Posted by B. Rintoul at December 1, 2004 5:17 PM


SecurePassword Generator
Amazon Feed Injector 1.1
Smiley Xtra

I do use Sage 1.3 as my RSS reader but would GLADLY switch to Sharpreader or Pluck if either supported Firefox. It gets to be a hassle cleaning all the malware/Adware after using IE with Sharpreader/Pluck.

Luke, you know you're going to support Firefox sooner or why not make it sooner and give us Sage users a home!!

Posted by blingbling at December 2, 2004 7:17 PM

Diggler -- it allows you to do things like access the google cache of a page when a server is down.

Posted by lanxique at December 3, 2004 11:48 AM

I recently posted a list on my site of the extensions I'm using ...

-- Cory

Posted by Cory at December 4, 2004 12:38 PM

text/plain is very useful. "Treats selected plain text urls, and email addresses as links and adds options to the context menu on how to use these."

Posted by Oliver Regelmann at December 5, 2004 4:57 PM

As far as I'm concerned, Firefox isn't finished. As long as it doesn't fully support even HTML 2 (which is where the link tags for navigation were first defined) it's definitely not ready for primetime. Never mind that there is a plugin that "sort of" supports this - support for HTML belongs in the browser itself!

Until Firefox grows up into a real browser, I'll continue to use Mozilla - with the site navigation bar constantly visible!

Posted by Marjolein Katsma at December 8, 2004 6:18 AM

"in the past that I though Firefox was" Just remember if you use a spell checker you still can't spell I think it should be thought

Posted by JProgrammer at December 8, 2004 11:07 PM


I would really like an extension that doubles the size of everything on a webpage, then I could actually use a decent resolution for my monitor.

The web-developer toolbar has an option of changing the resolution. You can define your resolution & thus magnify the page.

Also, I'd recommend the Googlebar which is the FireFox equivalent of GoogleToolbar for IE.

Posted by Amit Gupta at December 11, 2004 9:52 AM

extension provides *.MHT file support in Firefox as well as in IE.

Posted by Serg (del."-") at December 14, 2004 10:35 AM

PrefBar is great for having your prefs on buttons, and toggles with F8.

And, another vote for AdBlock, Web Developer, and Googlebar.

Posted by taterhead at December 15, 2004 8:17 AM

ForecastFox is a lovely extension. I receive weather updates regularly for remote places like where I work(wouldn't be on many maps). I use it regularly for deciding if I should go to work or not!!! :-)

Posted by cyberguru iconoclast at December 17, 2004 7:46 AM

I have been using Firefox since the beta and had very few problems. When I upgraded to version 1.0 it got pretty bumpy. Now with the latest version 1.7x it is almost "perfect".

Posted by Gregg H at December 29, 2004 10:46 AM

Interestingly Spoofstick is missing. Check it out at

You can ofcourse always check out the extension rooms for more plugins.

Posted by Amit Bahree at January 2, 2005 6:20 AM

I bet one of the 29 commenters above me has suggested that you use adblock,
but it is worth a second glance if you find yourself using Nuke Anything a bunch.
The advanced filters are very good. Esp. the last comment. Therein lies the goldmine!


Posted by Chris at January 13, 2005 11:29 PM

FlashBlock. Inline Flash doesn't play unless you click it. Great for silencing Flash banner ads. Also has a whitelist.

ImgTag. Right-click menu item for images, copies an XHTML compatible IMG tag to the clipboard.

Posted by Neil K at January 20, 2005 12:51 PM

ColorZilla can be also used for zooming (up to %1000, lower limit is 20%) and with its other features complements nicely the great Web Developer toolbar. One advantage of using AdBlock rather than Nuke Anything is that you don't load the related objects (images, flash movies) in the first place thus reducing the download time of a document significantly on a low connection (and you don't wait for doubleclick, adclick like busy ad servers to respond before loading other parts of the page). I so get used to it I can even pay for it if they wanna go BillGeyts.

Posted by Izzet Pembeci at February 10, 2005 12:07 AM

Interesting that your words mimic what I tell my users at work...that Firefox is not ready for prime time. I have used it at home and certainly found the tab feature useful, but as others note, there's many pages that just do not load, whether due to a program bug or source coding to prevent display on non-standard browsers. The issues were severe enough to warrant uninstalling.

Arguably, IE is the standard browser, not necessarily because it is any better that the others, but because of market penetration in both business and government...where the real money is. "Free" isn't good enough when it lacks the support structure to handle customer complaints. Companies expect to pay for that support service and expect their complaints to be handled in a timely manner. Who wants to have THAT headache without getting paid?!

No one should put much stock in version 1 of anything not having the chutzpah to knock down the competition. Give it time. Firefox has potential.

Posted by Rob at March 1, 2005 10:52 PM

I was lucky enough to try the Avant browser prior to evaluating Firefox. That made it easier for me to see how many more features I was already enjoying with Avant.

Posted by Steph at March 8, 2005 1:58 PM

Tuesday, November 30, 2004 10:05 PM
If you're a Firefox user - and you should be - you should check out Luke Hutteman's comments on Firefox and his must-have extensions. BugMeNot and NukeAnything look pretty useful! (Don't worry, Microsoft, Firefox is not a platform :)...

Trackback from Critical Section at January 30, 2006 7:02 AM
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