Blog Post

What’s That Preference? Get the Lowdown on Firefox’s about:config Preferences

One of the great things about Firefox is that it’s a very customizable browser. As well as add-ons, it has a vast number of advanced settings that you can tweak, some of which enable you to do useful things like stopping Firefox from switching into “Work Offline” mode if your Internet connection drops.

Firefox’s advanced preferences page is accessed by entering “about:config” into the location bar and hitting return. If you look at that page, you’ll see a very long list of settings, mostly with hard-to-decipher names. Unfortunately there’s no built-in documentation to tell you what each setting actually does, and whether changing it might break your browser in some way. What’s That Preference? is a handy add-on that enables you to quickly look up any preference on the MozillaZine knowledge base.

Once installed, What’s That Preference? adds a new “MozillaZine Reference” option to your about:config context (right-click) menu, as shown in the screenshot above. Hitting that takes you to the setting’s entry on the MozillaZine knowledge base, complete with a description, its possible values, and any associated caveats:

Of course, the MozillaZine description may still prove fairly tricky to figure out (and in a small number of cases the documentation is non-existent), and the add-on doesn’t do anything that you couldn’t achieve with a manual search of the knowledge base yourself. But it does make the process considerably faster, which makes for much easier (and probably safer) browser tinkering.

What’s That Preference? works with Firefox 4 and later; you can download it here.

(Via ghacks)