Rethinking Firefox

firefoxI’ve said a few times that I wasn’t all that impressed with Firefox. That was true at the time and it’s mostly true now. But here’s a confession: I’ve been using Firefox as my primary browser for the past few months.

It comes down to two things: tabbed browsing and, more importantly, the many extensions (a nerd word for add-ons) that are available for Firefox.

I have done the following to my initial installation of Firefox:

1) Added the Google Toolbar. Some Firefox purists argue that Google is “bad like Microsoft” and you don’t need the Google Toolbar. That’s hogwash. The Google Toolbar is a great add-on to any browser.

2) Performed the speed tweaks outlined here. Some comment that some or all of them are unnecessary, but things seem to go faster after the tweak. It may be the placebo effect, but it feels good.

3) Added the Bugmenot extension. I hate having to register to read free sites, with this add-on I don’t have to.

4) Added the extension that makes Blogger (the front-end I use to create, but not host, this site) always use the current date. Otherwise it uses the date and time a post was initially created and I often save posts as drafts for days or even weeks before I post them. This add-on saves me a lot of headaches.

5) Added the Onfolio Firefox extension. This allows me to use my beloved Onfolio in Firefox.

There are hundreds of other extensions, but these are the ones that I use everyday. Once Internet Explorer adds tabbed browsing (scheduled to be included in the upcoming new version), I always figured I’d switch back to it. But with all of these extra features to choose from I may not.

Who’d of thunk it?

Two cautionary notes:

a) It takes a little work to get the hang of finding and installing these extensions, but once you do it once you can do it again and it’s very worth it.

b) I just installed the newest version of Firefox (RC 1.5) and that broke all of my extensions. Some of them are available for this new version. Others, like the Onfolio one, don’t yet work in this version. Google Toolbar says is does, but it doesn’t. I suspect this will all get fixed before too long.

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