I can’t help it. Even though Safari has a nicer looking UI, and the most recent Windows update is leaking memory like a sieve, I keep running Firefox as my primary Web browser. Why? Because no other browser has managed to give me anything like the extensibility story that Firefox extensions bring to my daily web working experience. With thousands of extensions out there, your list may vary, but here’s my own selection of half a dozen essentials:
Faviconize Tab – If you’re like me, you run with a lot of browser tabs open (I try to make time for a cleanup session when I get to 40 or 50 open tabs) and the first eight or ten are always the same. Why waste real estate on titles for those tabs? Faviconize shrinks those tabs down to just the width of the favicon.
FoxClocks – This one makes it much easier to work with distributed teams. FoxClocks understands time zones, and can put as many little clocks as you like in your browser status bar, so you can see at a glance what time it is for team members in Bangkok, Bolivia, and Berlin. A great aid to scheduling and figuring out who’s likely to be online.
MenuX – If you’re a fan of maximizing your actual web site real estate, take a look at this one; it gives you toolbar buttons for a raft of things. It’s sort of like running Firefox in fullscreen mode but with access to your toolbars. You can also just grab individual buttons from it to have on your main toolbar; I use it to give me one-click access to “View Source” because I’m too lazy to memorize keyboard shortcuts.
Nightly Tester Tools – Don’t let the name scare you. There’s one good reason to grab this even if you don’t test alpha and beta versions of Firefox. Too many other extensions are coded to assume a maximum version number even though they don’t break on higher versions of Firefox. The Nightly Tester Tools adds a “Make all compatible” button to the Add-Ons dialog box that will tell all of your extensions to ignore version checks. If you’ve ever lost a much-loved extension due to a Firefox upgrade, this may get it back for you.
View Source Chart – A great little extension for understanding the structure of a complex web page through a nested, collapsible chart using color and graphics. If you use a framework that generates complex HTML (and who doesn’t, these days?) this is another indispensable debugging aid.