top ten add-ons

| 45 Comments

I've had this post in draft for about 3 months now and just can't seem to finish it. I can't finish it because I honestly haven't found 10 add-ons that I've kept installed for any length of time. Now that Robert's posted his list, I feel like I should get mine up.

  1. Resizeable Textarea: This is one of those rare cases when I think an extension should just be built in to Firefox. It's a simple, out of the way when not in use, extremely useful add-on that makes text areas resizeable. You just grab the corner and drag -- just like you do to resize windows. No preferences. No bells and whistles. No keyboard modifiers. Just a simple little utility that makes the web work better.
  2. FireBug: If you've played around with the DOM Inspector extension, you'll love Joe Hewitt's second generation debugger. "FireBug lets you explore the far corners of the DOM by keyboard or mouse. All of the tools you need to poke, prod, and monitor your JavaScript, CSS, HTML and Ajax are brought together into one seamless experience, including a debugger, error console, command line, and a variety of fun inspectors." If you're not into or interested in getting into any kind of Web development, you can skip this one (until you want to make the world flat.)
  3. Google Browser Sync: It's not something I need often, but it's been extremely helpful when I want to move my Firefox profile from one machine to another (especially from one platform to another.) I also use it as a sort of profile backup tool.
  4. Pinstripe for Firefox: Kevin Gerich has updated Pinstripe for Firefox 2 and it looks great. The thing I like most about this theme is the tab strip. I'm actually rotating between the new Firefox 2 theme and Kevin's updated Pinstripe theme but even though I've only had the updated Pinstripe for just under 3 weeks, I'm quite sure that I'm going to keep it around.
  5. Wikipedia (EN) Search Plug-in: I can't understand why we're shipping a Creative Commons search plug-in and we're not shipping Wikipedia. It's a shame -- but an easily remedied one :-)
And that's it: A "top five" list.

What add-ons do you use regularly? What add-ons would you like to see developed? How many add-ons do you have installed total? When you tell others about Firefox, do you tell them about add-ons too?

45 Comments

Installed total: 27

Heavy used:
AdBlock Plus
Drag de Go
Firebug
Greasemonkey
infoRSS
Mouse Gestures
NoScript
Scrapbook
Stylish
Tamper Data

The others are also very useful, often used and I don't wanna live without them. And I ALWAYS recommend Firefox associated with add-ons. This great flexibility is one of the heavy arguments for Firefox. There's no other browser out there which makes this possible. And although Opera has some nice build-in features, even with that widget thing it doesn't outperform Firefox. Firefox is my door to the web - and it ROCKZ!

Image zoom is one of the few add-ons I keep around.

I have 4 add-ons total. Image zoom, gmail notifier, google sync and flashblock.

> I'm quite sure that I'm going to keep it around.
IIRC you said the same about other Add-ons in the past...

Adblock Plus - ads are evil
Context Search - cause the select and search isn't just for google
CSSViewer - web designer/developer must-have
Flashblock - annoyances defence 101
Google Browser Sync - I can't believe I got along without it for so long
IE View - cause Java in firefox is just evil
Image Zoom - you know, for kids
PDF Download - ADOBE IS EVIL.
Tab Mix Plus - the missing ingredient in Firefox tabbed UI
Web Developer - web designer/developer must-have

I have plenty installed:
http://db.rambleschmack.net/pc_tips/best_firefox_extensions

I would prefer to install less, and look forward to things like session saver being built into Fx 2. Huge selling point though. Extensions are the reason that Firefox is so far ahead of the other browsers. Features like Super Drag'n'Go just kick so much arse.

Of course, there's lots of great built in features as well - for example, instead of Asa's #5, I just type "w minuit" (sans quotes) into my address bar. (I also have a whole page worth of Firefox tweaks!)

Anno1602, yes, I have said similar about other extensions in the past and I have kept other add-ons around for quite some time. One of my longtime favorites, Link Visitor, I kept for about two years and finally changed browsing habits that made that one mostly unnecessary. I kept Spellbound around for a long time but removed it when Firefox got a native spell checker. MiniT was another one that Firefox absorbed so I stopped needing. I only needed BugMeNot long enough to build up the logins in password manager so I un-installed it after about 18 months. Linky was another one I kept for more than two years but like link visitor, my habits changed and I stopped needing it. Oh, and I used the Gmail notifyer for about a year, until I stopped using Gmail.

I don't recall saying that I'd keep others around that I didn't keep around. The one that has survived the longest, though, is Resizeable Textarea. I think that the Wikipedia search plug-in is a close second and I expect to keep both of those until such time as they're included in Firefox.

In general, I never found myself using more than a small handful of extensions. Firefox has always come very close to satisfying me right out of the box -- perhaps that has something to do with the fact that I helped define the initial feature set :-)

- A

I'm pretty sure these are the only times I spoke about keeping an extension around for any length of time. Feel free to correct me if your memory (or search skills) are better than mine.

http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/asa/archives/2004/07/extension_of_th.html
http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/asa/archives/2004/07/extensions_of_t.html
http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/asa/archives/2004/11/extension_use.html
http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/asa/archives/2005/03/great_new_exten.html
http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/asa/archives/2006/03/extensions.html
http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/asa/archives/2006/04/so_which_ones.html

Reading these old posts, I realize that I've been fairly consistent over the years :-)

- A

I totally agree that Wikipedia should be added to the default search engines. If possible, localized builds should have the localized version of Wikipedia added (possibly in addition to the English version).

Adblock Filterset.G Updater 0.3.0.4 - regularly. constantly.
Adblock Plus 0.7.1.2 - regularly. constantly.
BugMeNot 1.3 - considering removing. occasionally brilliant. usually not.
Download Embedded 0.4 - not that often. may go soon.
Download Manager Tweak 0.7.2 - every so often. just feels better.
Flashblock 1.5.1 - heaps. I hate flash
Gmail Manager 0.5.3 - loads.
IE Tab 1.1.1.4 - rarely, but still useful
Image Zoom 0.2.7 - not that often. may well go shortly
Nightly Tester Tools 1.0.4 - until all extensions are 2.0 compatible this is needed
Permit Cookies 0.6.2 - constantly. me no like cookies (except chocolate chip)
Show Image 0.4.1 - 10-20 day each month (when my ISP is being annoying)
Stop Autoplay 0.4.1 - occasionally. I have a data cap, so safes $$$$
Tab Mix Plus 0.3.0.61001 - love it.
Talkback 2.0 - I have this extension? why?
Tiny Menu 1.2.3 - constantly on. Means I can fit everything into one bar.


Whenever these types of posts come up I always end up removing some. The only time I actually think about it really.

As for my use of addons, there is no one I have installed constantly. I like mouse gestures (the all-in-one one) but it often breaks as I like to use the 3.0 builds. There is an addon that disables flash until you click an icon in the placeholder area that's really useful too, but I haven't installed it on my new computer yet.

For most of my regular web annoyances, I use bookmarklets, which I find more convenient. I have a subfolder on the personal bookmarks toolbar that contains items such as "Disable All (Flash) Plugins", "Remove All Images", "Zoom Images In", "Remove Colors", "Hide Visited Links", and so on.

Greg, Talkback allows Firefox to send valuable debug data in case of a software crash. You should keep it installed. http://www.mozilla.org/support/firefox/faq#talkback

Greg, Talkback ships with the default Firefox build. It's a crash reporting utility that will offer to send Mozilla a report of any crash incidents you experience. We aggregate the tens of thousands of crash reports (from the tens of millions of users) and work to fix the most frequent ones first.

You can read the Talkback FAQ item here. The only thing that's really changed is that Mozilla hosts all the involved machines now (not Netscape.)

Eventually, we'd like to use an open source solution rather than the proprietary Talkback system. Unfortunately, up until very recently there wasn't even a hint of someone building an alternative. Recently, however, a project called Airbag looks like it's gaining some momentum. We'll see.

- A

I have recently had some problems with my pc at work, and everything have been *completely* reinstalled several times. Now, the standard-installation at work doesn't come with Firefox, so thats the first thing to install on my pc every time. Next I install the following three extension:

Foxmarks Bookmark Synchronizer
Haven't tried Google's Browser Sync, but this one has done job absolutely perfect for me. Now I have the same bookmarks on my 2 pc's at home and on my pc at work. Just love it!

Resizeable Textarea
Yes, totally agree with you. It's just like it shall be. No settings, no "memory" of how you resized last time on the site (which potentially could create a lot of problems when the layout of a site change). Just simple and plain. I praise this extension every day. Yes it should be included as a standard feature in Firefox.

OpenBook
I just don't get the default "Add Bookmark" dialog. Newer understood the logic with the dropdown (until I read somewhere else that is was a history of the latest or most used bookmark-folders. Was always confused by only some of my folders was in there, and often/newer the one I wanted to use). This extension lets me configure the dialog just like I want it. Skip the confusing dropdown, add an URL-field where the webaddress can be edited before bookmarking, and always have the Bookmarks tree open with the last used folder selected. That's an intuitive and usefull "Add Bookmark" dialog in my opinion. Much better than the default. Also looks nicer:-)

After these three extensions it's hard to pick which ones else should be included in my top 5. But maybe it should be Translate and Launchy.

I'm an avid fan of

- Nightly Tester Tools (because it makes incompatible extensions compatible - a MUST HAVE for nightly testers)

- MeasureIt! (I'm a perfectionist web designer, and you absolutely need it for that. Most web designers I showed MeasureIt! were absolute fans of it after just one use :) Should definitely be a standard web-developer-extension.)

- Firebug (There's nothing more to add. It's simply the greatest debugger I've ever seen. It helps with everything, from development of MicroSummary-files to web development. There's also very little that is missing, and it's still not a version 1.0)

- Fingerfox (Sadly, Firefox isn't able to cope with Microsoft Fingerprint Reader, but Fingerfox gives me a workaround and works acceptable. It could be better though, and I hope for native support. Obviously, no Firefox-developer uses a Fingerprint Reader... :()

I agree with some of your points. Resizable Textarea and the Wp search plugin should come built-in with Fx.

Many also believe Pinstripe should be the official theme for Mac.

Here's my categorized plugins list:

Make the web look like I want:
- AdBlock Plus: For a much cleaner web.
- Greasemonkey: Fix up a few web pages for my needs
- Resizeable Textarea: A web forums must-have.

Real extensions:
- FireFTP: I needed some FTP client, and this one does what I need.

Web privacy & security:
- NoScript: Only the paranoid survives. ;)
- CookieSafe: Just experimenting with it, I think I like it.

Web development, debugging & testing:
- FireBug: Web developer toolkit, must have.
- LiveHTTPHeaders: Peek into protocols for testing
- Nightly Tester Tools: Need it for at least half of these plugins to run

I don't know how you could have fewer than 10 addons. I find myself being ok with slow, buggy extensions that crash my browser, just because I can't do without adblock, compact menu (who needs the damn help menu?), tabmix plus, etc, etc.

Oh, and I'm contemplating going back to spellbound because it spellchecks in all fields automatically. Even if I set layout.spellcheckDefault to 2, I still have to turn spellcheck on every time I visit a vBulletin quickreply box, for instance.

Firefox has gotten good enough to not need as many addons as before. I only use three:
* Adblock Plus
* Google Browser Sync
* Google Notebook

Adblock plus
stop-or-reload
Fission
forecastfox
foxmarks
gmail notifier
linkification
zoomy

I think that zoomy and stop-or-reload had to be manually changed to work with 2.0 since they are not actively developed.

Shameless plugin (total Freudian slip there, hardy-har-har): but check out Copy as HTML Link, which btw, I just used to grab that link. Great for blogging, and it's FF 2.0 ready.

Just right click on some selected text and it copies the text and the URL as an HTML anchor tag. Takes a little while to unlearn the behavior of copying the link and the text separately, but once I got used to it, I couldn't live without it.

I only have a couple of non-developer extensions that I always keep installed:

  • Duplicate Tab - because of the ability to tear a tab out of a tabset and put it in its own window.
  • del.icio.us - though I could get the same functionality with a bookmarklet.

The rest of them are all developer tools:

  • Web Developer Toolbar - indispensable!
  • User Agent Switcher - when I have to do browser sniffing, this makes it easier to test
  • HTML Validator - it's easier to look at the status bar for a check mark than submit files to a validator over and over again.
  • Colorzilla - very helpful for matching graphics
  • Link Checker

Admit it, the new theme sucks, heh. :)

Otherwise:
- Download Statusbar.

That's the only one absolutely necessary (it's more useful than the built in downloader, :))

Paste-n-Go
Fission
Checky
User Agent Switcher

The ones I can't miss:

Add Bookmark Here
All-In-One Sidebar
Google Browser Sync
InformEnter
Paste and Go
Resizeable Text Area
Tab Mix Plus

Aardvark (nothing like cleaning up a page to make it easily printable or readable)

Adblock

ForecastFox

IE View (for those few sites that just won't work on FF yet)

Image Zoom (beats saving the image to view it in another program just to change its size)

Tab Mix Plus

Those are the ones I keep re-installing when I upgrade. There are others, i.e.,
Firebug, that I'll use once in awhile.

i dont use any of those extensions asa uses.. maybe because i'm not a blogger..


my top 5 (no particular order)

adblock
scrapbook
noscript
tabmixplus
stumbleupon

Regarding the Wikipedia search, it's worth noting that Wikipedia now has its own OpenSearch plugins with autodiscovery and search suggestions. For Firefox 2, Mozilla should ship or link to this version of the search plugin rather than my old one.

My top add-ons at work are Firebug, the beta version of the Html Validator with OpenSP support, and FlashBlock. I also like the WebDeveloper toolbar, WebMailCompose, and LiveHTTPHeaders when it works with my current browser version.

Non-optional: Popup ALT Attribute (I'd use Long Titles, but Dorothy Gambrell still uses alt for Donation Derby) and Nuke Anything (because posting wide images on LJ inappropriately widenates peoples' friends pages).

Nice: How'd I Get Here, DownThemAll (makes mp3blogs usable!), BugMeNot, and Nightly Tester Tools (for anything that isn't versioned-up at the moment). And Pinstripe, on account of disliking the new theme. And I've just installed Resizable Textarea on your recommendation, so we'll see how that works.

Quick desperate beg: Can we get Long Titles rolled into stock Firefox 2? That damnable tooltip bug can't get properly fixed until FF3, and putting in an uncool-but-works-fine stopgap fix would make a lot of people really happy. (And make them stop spamming Bugzilla. Just sayin'.)

Hi,
I really think you shouldn't add something like rezisable textareas to the default installation. It could confuse users and in the last years I never happened to come about a textfield that was to small to write in. If a user encounters this and is able to deal with potential problems (like him making the textfield so small that he can not find it anymore or making is so big it fills the screen), then he will hopefully search the addons database.
Idea: YOU MIGHT MAKE A RECOMMONDATION OF TEN ADDONS ON A STARTING PAGE FOR FIREFOX. This way users unfamiliar with extensions could find some easy ones to start with.

I think we don't ship Wikipedia because we ship Answers.com.

Here's my list:
CuteMenus (should be built in, makes it so much more attractive)
AdBlock [/Plus] (should be built in)
Download Statusbar (also better imo than how Firefox handles it by default)
IE Tab (also great for installing on less techy-people's computers ... click the button if it doesn't work, but it stays in Firefox)
Resize search box (should be built in)
Resizable textarea (should be built in)
Sage (Firefox RSS is one of the biggest areas needing improving)
All In One Gestures (I actually think basic mouse gestures should be built in)
BugMeNot
Launchy (soley for passing downloads to a decent download manager)
Plain Text Links (or other text-link convertors)
Nightly Tester Tools (to get old ones working!)
Open In Browser (something like this should be built in.. can't remember the bug# off the top of my head)
Tab Mix Plus (I only need a few of the things you can change in it, but I need those)

For (web-dev-ish) work:
Add N Edit Cookies
Inspect Element
Firebug
Web Developer Toolbar
JSView
Live HTTP Headers
SEOpen
User Agent Switcher

I'm also glad I can stop using Spellbound and various session saving extensions now that they are built in.

Okay, so that's how I got Talkback. Haven't crashed in a long time, so I have no idea how useful me having it will actually be. But hey.
Ian - I disagree with a substantial proportion of what you think should be pre-installed, and much rather prefer John Doe's recommendation of having a Top 10 list for the first time noobies use Firefox.

I shortened my list (every time I read a blog post on this I end up doing it):
Adblock Filterset.G Updater 0.3.0.4
Adblock Plus 0.7.1.2
Download Manager Tweak 0.7.2 - every so often. just feels better.
Flashblock 1.5.1 - heaps. I hate flash
Gmail Manager 0.5.3 - loads.
IE Tab 1.1.1.4 - rarely, but still useful
Permit Cookies 0.6.2 - constantly. me no like cookies (except chocolate chip)
Show Image 0.4.1 - 10-20 day each month (when my ISP is being annoying)
Stop Autoplay 0.4.1 - occasionally. I have a data cap, so safes $$$$
Tab Mix Plus 0.3.0.61001 - love it.
Tiny Menu 1.2.3 - constantly on. Means I can fit everything into one bar.


And I have a question for people. Is there a tab extensions which does the tab changes of Tab Mix Plus, but doesn't have all the other stuff with it (session restore, closed tab stuff etc)?

Adblock plus (meh, fanboy's adblock list pwns)
All In One Gestures
Customise Google
Tiny Menu
Super Drag'n'Go
Paste and go
Autocopy

I use very few, but I think these belong in the top 10...

Adblock Plus (Absolutely amazing how much it improved my browsing experience)
DownThemAll! (Incredible download manager)
Ook! Video Ook! (Downloads embedded movies from Youtube easier and faster then any other extension. Only negative is it only works with a limited amount of website currently)

Flashblock. Holy on my Mac since Mac Flash support ain't that great on firefox.
Foxmarks bookmark sync. All the time, I have like 5 different installs and I do not have to worry about URLs I might've forgotten.
Sage. Nice RSS reader for my daily news and slashdot.
Tab Preview. Simple, poorly maintained, often buggy, yet genius extension. This should be made a standard feature.

I refuse to use any browser that does not have something like Adblock(Plus). My number 1 extensions for Firefox.

Google browser sync is nice, but I do not feel comfortable giving Google all that data -- I'd much prefer a independent, open solution that would work with arbirary servers so one is not forced to use Google's. Apart from that, the functionality is essential.

My top3 extensions:
Adblock Plus
CustomizeGoogle
DownThemAll

These are the extensions i use. on my home computer, I do use downThemAll.
I like ConQuery a lot, and find it extremely handy.

* Adblock Plus 0.7.1.2
* ConQuery 1.6.4
* del.icio.us 1.1
* FoxLingo 1.5.4
* Google Safe Browsing 1.1
* Google Toolbar for Firefox 2.1.20060807W
* IE Tab 1.1.1.4
* InfoLister 0.9f
* Talkback 1.5.0.7

-Auto Copy (just wished it worked outside of firefox/thunderbird!)
-GreaseMonkey
-Scrapbook (the only great feature of Mac IE)
-Autocomplete Manager (cause the address bar autocomplete sucks)
-Yahoo Toolbar
and in 1.5
-Tab Mix Plus (seems like most things got into 2.0, but anxiously awaiting 2.0 compat for coloring unvisited tabs, forcing target=blank to new tab)

Most wished for extension is to turn the Download Window into a sidebar.

1) Adblock (original version with filters imported yourself, not auto-updating bloated extra addon nonsense)
2) FlashGot (use a download manager? Then you need FlashGot)
3) Web Developer (develop sites? Then you will save many hours with this)
4) Greasemonkey (want to control the web?)

I need to try Firebug...

ah, almost forgot:
5) HTML Validator

Absolute must-have...

Asa et al, just thought I'd write in to tell you that I've released a new version of Resizeable Textarea called Resizeable Form Fields that now lets you resize single line text boxes and select boxes (in addition to textareas). Hope you enjoy.

As every one is pouring its favourite extension list... :-)

Must-have:
* Adblock Plus 0.7.1.2 can't live w/o it
* Nuke Anything Enhanced 0.54 for when I have no Adblock rule
* Sage 1.3.8 daily
* Web Developer 1.0.2 for all your web development needs
* FireBug 0.4.1 again for web development
* FlashBlock 1.5.2

Nice to have:
* Extended Statusbar 1.2.5 nice, but optional
* Google Browser Sync 1.2 may save my day... one day
* GraphicsEx 0.1.3 for when I need to save an entire page as PNG
* JSView 1.2.1 what's in that JavaScript and CSS?
* Resizeable Form Fields 0.2.2 resize power!

I enjoyed Resizeable Textarea, great!

Hi,
You can add wikipedia to the list of existing search by modifying the 'Manage search engines'

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