Celebrate the Election With Firefox Extensions (Add-ons)

rob banagaleA hearty congratulations to the democrats in successfully channeling public discontent with the war in Iraq, political corruption, our nation’s economy into votes. I made over a hundred calls on behalf the party from the headquarter off NE 9th and Burnside, and stood on the corner of the street with a go Vote sign on election day. I only wish more people in my age group would register and vote! Anna Urban is awesome.
Anyway–since we have plans to get out to the bars for a few celebratory drinks this evening, I thought it might be nice to treat myself to a self-expressive technological blog entry on my favorite Firefox extensions aka Add-ons. Since Firefox 2.0 came out many of my perfectly configured FF 1.5.x extensions (plugins) have broken so I’ll share what’s working in 2.0:

Fission

Fission is a little extension that gives you a visual indicator of the progress of web pages loading. It draws a colored progress bar across the URL entry text area which is way better than just waiting for web pages to load which is really boring. Try it, you’ll like it.

Tab Mix Plus

Tab Mix Plus is probably my favorite FF Add-on, extension, plugin, what-have-you. This thing has all kinds of features, but most having to do with tab behavior within the FF window.
TMP also offers a great session manger and recovery tool, that is way better than the junky-no-good one that comes with FF2.0. This is particularly handy for projects that require a dozen webpages to work on. For instance, my current Drupal conversion on Weekly Davespeak often needs the Drupal forums, technical documentation, the old Weekly Davespeak page, the new testing version, Gmail, and perhaps kexp.org open. Saving this session as my New WDS backend means that I can restore and get back to work quickly and efficiently.

Clone Window

I like my tab duplication (ctrl-t) to also duplicate the current tab’s page and the browsing history. FF 2.0 does not offer this as an option, which is pretty weak. This is an essential extension.

Mouse Gestures

Mouse gestures are a really handy way of accomplishing common navigation and browser requests without taking your hand off the mouse. While I prefer to use keyboard and menu shortcuts at all possible moments in a program like Adobe Dreamweaver, you can’t really surf the web easily without a fair amount of mousing about. Also, you get to draw little lines and things which is kind of fun.

Mouse Gestures also supports mouse rocking, which is like clicking the left-mouse button then the right in sequence, as if you were rolling your fingers across the top of the mouse. This lets you go forward and back in your browser really really easily. Once you modify your surfing behavior you’ll never look back and always get annoyed on your unsavy friend or partner doesn’t have the extension installed on their laptop.

Web Developer

I’m pretty new to the Web Developer Add-on, but it has been instrumental in my most recent design activity. While there are many features and options, my favorite is that you can edit the CSS for a webpage in a browser panel on the left (hit ctrl-h in FF to see the history panel) and see the changes on-the-fly in page display on the right. Though Dreamweaver is supposed to have oh-i-don’t-know the most advanced WYSIWYG html/css renderer in the whole wide world, nothing beats seeing it for yourself in the world’s best browser, Firefox!

Adsense Notifier

Adsense notifier displays your current daily earnings from Google advertisements you display in the bottom on your browser. (see screenshot). This is really handy, as you can right-click the statistics and bypass the Adsense login screen. I’m not actively developing sites running Adsense at this time, but it is nice to know how all my old stuff is doing.

If you don’t run any Adsense campaigns, you should. It is incredibly easy to create web content that turns up search results, and as my friend Scott Dunlap can testify, creating only eight pages in a single week or so can turn out to you finding between 10 cents and a few dollars on the street every day for months and months at a time.

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