Probably one of Mozilla’s most powerful and yet overlooked features is its extension support. By installing these tiny plugins, you can give Mozilla extraordinary new abilities. Extensions are written in XUL, Mozilla’s cross-platform rendering language, and given an “XPI” file extension (Nosy Programmer tip: they’re actually ZIP files – rename their extensions and see!).
There are dozens of extensions available on Mozdev, ranging from bookmark backup makers to blogging tools to parlour games.
Here are my Top Ten Mozilla Extensions. These are the extensions I personally consider indispensable, the ones that scratch my itches:
CuteMenus: Adds pretty colourful icons to your browser menus. Might as well surf in style.
TextLink: Lets you access URLs written in plain text with a double-click. One of the many extensions that are simply little hacks that brighten your day just a bit more.
Dictionary Search: Just select a word on a webpage, click open the context menu, and you can search for that word on Dictionary.com or up to thre other search resources of your choice. I put Feedster and Wikipedia there too.
Web Developer: A set of tools that are invaluable to any web designer. Want to see what your page will look like in 800×600 resolution? Want to extract all the CSS data on a webpage, find broken images, or validate HTML in two clicks? It’s all there.
IEView: Every once in a while, you’ll run across a page that doesn’t work right in Mozilla. It ain’t the red dino’s fault – the webmaster obviously didn’t care enough to follow proper HTML standards. You can contact the webmaster about this faux pas, but in the meanwhile, you can use this workaround: click open the context menu, click “View This Page in IE” (if you have IE installed).
Diggler: It sits on the left hand side of the Location Bar, and provides a myriad of little options for surfing sites. For example, you can move up the directory tree, toggle popups and images on and off, and more.
QuickNote: Did you ever want a virtual scratchpad so you can quickly cut and paste an address or number off a website? You can load QuickNote in a tab or in a separate window, and it periodically saves everything automatically in plain text files. I’m proud to say I designed the icon for this extension. 😎
Multizilla: If you’re enjoying the power of tabbed browsing, this extension is worth a look. You can reopen closed tabs, make new windows open in tabs instead, and more.
Honourary Mention: Single Window Mode does roughly the same thing.
Tagzilla: Lets you automatically insert a random tagline into the bottom of email messages or website textareas. Taglines are basically pithy witticisms and quotations you store in a text file. If you’ve ever use BlueWave Offline Reader to read mail off a BBS, you know what I mean.
BugMeNot: You know those annoying news sites that make you register your name, email, and blood type just so you can see their fricken’ article? The next time you’re confronted with a registration screen, click open your context menu, click “BugMeNot”, and log in without having to type anything in.