The Firefox web browser, part of the Mozilla project, became my standard Web browser some weeks back, replacing Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. There’s a lot of reasons to use Firefox instead of IE: Firefox is more secure, takes up less system resources, is independent of the rest of the operating system, has a tabbed interface, and more.
The biggest reason to use Firefox is for its extensions. Extensions are “small add-ons that add new functionality to Firefox”. Here’s three extensions that any tech-savvy person can not do without.
- Web Developer. This is the single greatest thing for Web developers since the birth of the markup language. Web Developer adds a toolbar to Firefox that allows you to do dozens of tasks: edit a page’s CSS, auto-complete form fields and expose password fields, convert between GET/POST requests, display image ALT, size, and dimensions (or hide them altogether), view cookie and header info, display HTML block, ID, CLASS, and link properties, clear cache/cookies/authentication, outline block elements, resize your Web browser window, link the current page to the W3’s HTML and CSS validators, and more… If you are a Web developer, this extension will increase your productivity. If it doesn’t, you’re not a good Web developer.
- WebmailCompose. I use GMail for e-mail. Unfortunately, the typical mailto: link in a Web page tries to open the operating system’s e-mail program. WebmailCompose fixes that by trapping mailto: links and redirecting them to any of a wide number of WebMail services, including GMail, Yahoo! Mail, Hotmail, and any other that you use. You can even code your own string to work with your own Web-based email client.
- PasteIP. Whereas Web Developer is incredibly complex, this is incredibly simple, but for those times when you need it, it’s invaluable. Need to paste your IP address somewhere? Just right-click and “Paste IP Address.” No more trips to the command prompt or to whatismyipaddress.com.