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April 03, 2008

How did I get by before Firefox Add-Ons?

Last night, whilst catching up on my RSS feeds, I discovered Paul Fenwick's video, "How to Fix the Web with Greasemonkey in 3 minutes." The video offers some clever tips on how one can use the Firefox add-on, Greasemonkey, to make Web sites (not just yours) behave the way you wish. I was particularly amused by the way he made MySpace content disappear. But it also reminded me of just how dependent I am on Firefox add-on's.

What are Firefox add-ons?

According to Firefox Support:

"Firefox add-ons are small pieces of software that add new features or functionality to your installation of Firefox. Add-ons can augment Firefox with new search engines, foreign-language dictionaries, or change the visual appearance of Firefox. Through add-ons, you can customize Firefox to meet your needs and tastes."

There are countless add-ons available that will let you do anything from tracking your trades on Ebay to validating the code on your Web site. Add-ons are categorized by type or function and offer tools for both casual Web browsing and development.

A sampling of my Firefox add-ons

I just counted, and apparently I have 35 add-ons installed on Firefox. Some I rarely use, some I actively use and others work passively in the background to add value to my browsing experience. I think I take the latter for granted, but they offer some interesting insights. While I'm not going to discuss all 35, here are a few (in addition to those mentioned in the video) that you may find interesting:

Web Developer
Chris Pederick's Web Developer is the work horse of my add-ons. I use it to validate my HTML and CSS, measure things onscreen, outline elements, display line guides, view javascript, disable styles, and view or analyze details of a page in order to troubleshoot problems or fine tune my CSS. It's incredibly useful and a tremendous timesaver.
Delicious Bookmarks 1.5.44
Adding bookmarks to del.icio.us is pretty easy to begin with, but sometimes I forget. With this installed I don't have to think about it. When I add a bookmark to Firefox a box pops up asking if I would like to add it to del.icio.us as well. It then lets me add the bookmark and relevant tags in the same box and continue on my merry way. Now I don't have to worry that I can't access the bookmark on computer A because I only saved it on computer B.
StumbleUpon 3.18
The StumbleUpon toolbar is inherent to the StumbleUpon experience. If it's 2:00 a.m. and I can't sleep I can hit the Stumble button to be shown sites in areas that interest me. If I come across a cool page, that I think others should know about, I can hit the thumbs up, either to promote it or to be the first to write a review. If I want to know if a blog entry or news release has been stumbled, I can click on the reviews button to see who (if anyone) said what. And if I find a nifty new recipe that I want to share with my friend Josh (an avid Stumbler) I don't need to bother with e-mail, I just click "send-to," select his username and it will be shown to him next time he goes Stumbling.
SEO for Firefox
This is an interesting tool for Web marketers. When you do a search with this turned on you'll find data ranging from Google page rank to the age of the site underneath each result description.
Social Media for Firefox
When you install Social Media for Firefox, icons appear in the bottom status bar of Firefox to indicate how many users have bookmarked or reviewed the page you are viewing on Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon and Delicious.
KGen
KGen lets you scan a page to see which key words are strongest on a page—handy for search engine optimization.

This sampling should give you a good idea of the power of Firefox add-ons, needless to say there are hundreds (perhaps thousands) more to choose from. To learn more, visit the resources listed below.

Are you already an add-on fan? If so, leave a comment listing some of your favorites. I'd be interested to see how readers are using these handy tools and which great add-ons I may have missed.

More Firefox add-ons resources

StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble It! AddThis Social Bookmark Button


Posted by: Heidi Cool April 3, 2008 12:16 AM | Category: Heidi's Entries , How-to , Recommendations , Tips and Tricks , marketing

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Comments

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Heidi, you beat me to it. :P

I've been slowly compiling a list for a post of some of my favorite firefox plug-ins also. I'd heard of greasemonkey before but that was about it. Loved the video!

Posted by Kyle James on April 3, 2008 09:54 AM

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Thanks for helping me realize the potential for GreaseMonkey. That video was very cool! Firefox plugins are amazing and you listed some that are excellent (I use 3 of your 6). I'm going to check out the SEO one though. There are so many out there though, how do you find good ones? I used to search through their archives for hours probably, haha.

Posted by Jeremy Wilburn on April 3, 2008 10:08 AM

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If you like Web Developer, you should check out Firebug. It's like a swiss army knife for web development, I hardly use Web Developer now because it's so versatile.

Posted by Jesse on April 3, 2008 12:20 PM

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I have forgotten how long I have been using SEO for FF by SEOBook - great tool for sure. I have it listed as one of the top overall free SEO tools available on the web. I'm cheap, free is always good and KGen I hadn't heard of before - Thanks Heidi!

Posted by TomG on April 9, 2008 06:35 PM

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Thanks for the great review, I use SEO for FF and Firebug every day. I have found that SEO for FF does have some issues, but I am happy to work around them as it provides a great snapshot of a sites competitiveness when researching.

Posted by Jarod Clark on April 10, 2008 07:24 PM

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My favorite addons are fast video download, hyperwords, scribefire (for blogging), flashgot, all in one sidebar.

True, if addons were not there, would I still use FF?

My TechBlog

Posted by Desmond Haynes, Jr. on April 11, 2008 03:14 AM

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Thanks for video Heidi.

Posted by araba on April 12, 2008 04:17 AM

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Thanks for the great review of this tool. I am always looking for tools of the trade. The seOpen aad-on has also been an excellent tool for me.

Posted by software web development on April 13, 2008 05:09 PM

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With X-Ray add-on you can see the tags on the page without viewing the sourcecode

Posted by Izrada web stranica on April 14, 2008 01:59 PM

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My favorite is the SEO for firefox. It provides great information on my own web sites plus the web sites that I am trying to overcome in the rankings for my key search terms.

Posted by Jill Wente on April 20, 2008 11:50 AM

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I totally agree with you, in fact I don't know what I would be doing with out FF. Add-ons are just great too, I constantly use SEO for FF, Chatzilla, Agent Switcher and a few others.

For the past couple years I've been trying to switch my customers and co-workers to use firefox, but still see them using the useless IE and came to the conclusion that for some people stupidity is hard to get rid of.

Great post, always ahead of things. thx.

Posted by Small Business Loans on April 21, 2008 03:04 PM

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Hi Heidi
First time here and am loving it. What a wealth of information. I love using FF and am just now gaping at all the things that one can do with it. Thanks!
Regards Sunjo

Posted by sunjo on April 28, 2008 03:57 PM

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Your blog rates "High" on my VisitorValue meter, Heidi! :-) Aaron Wall recently added "Rank Checker," and it's also pretty handy. Thanks very much for sharing all this great info!

Posted by California Vacations on April 29, 2008 06:21 PM

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SEO for Firefox is a must have add-on. Try it and you'll be hooked and NO..I don't work for the developer.

Posted by Robin on May 3, 2008 10:31 AM

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Don't forget to install SEO Quake for firefox. IT is an excellent tool for finding quality backlinks and more info on a specific site.

Posted by Jason Taylor on May 26, 2008 03:45 AM

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Try GoogleEnhancer, its very cool and give google serach some much needed color ;-)

Posted by Laura on June 30, 2008 05:47 PM

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I love my firefox add-ons. I think if Google wants to see Chrome succeed, they need to focus on creating add-ons or making their browser compatible with firfox add-ons.

Posted by Christian SEO on September 5, 2008 02:16 PM

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Hi,

My SEO research and strategy planing would be far harder without FF add-ons!
When I'm forced to use IE, I'm feeling like a child again doing my first steps on internet :)

thumbs up 4 FF !

Posted by seomag on September 12, 2008 07:52 AM

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I agree with the previous poster. I used to use IE religiously and typically stated, "why didnt i do this sooner!" after switching to FF.

Btw, when are you going to update the info?

Sam

Posted by Free Stuff on Twitter on October 25, 2008 04:03 AM

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Awesome. I also use Google Pagerank status to check the page rank. Wouldn't be anywhere without firefox

Posted by Radio Controlled Boats on February 18, 2009 10:45 PM

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Posted by: hac4 (Heidi Cool) April 3, 2008 12:16 AM | Comments (20) | Trackback