Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Tiny Extensions Which Should Be Merged Into Firefox

Firefox while usually very intuitive, has some strange gaps in functionality which make certain tasks unnecessarily difficult. Here's a list of tiny extensions which fix it. In alphabetical order:

Clear Private Data Button
Adds a button that lets you clear private data. This is the same functionality as the menu item Tools -> Clear Private Data... Useful for compulsive cookie clearer's like me.

Context Search
Lets you right click on a selection and search for it using any of the installed search engines instead of the currently selected ones. (Tip: You can add many useful engines from the Search Engine Page and Mycroft.)

Paste and Go

Steals the feature from Opera. Lets you right click the address bar and Paste and Go instead of Paste and manually clicking the Go button. As a bonus also adds a Paste and Search item if you right click on the search bar. (Yes, we know we're lazy!)

Searchbar Autosizer
Automatically resizes the search bar depending upon length of the text typed in.

Search Button
Adds a button just like the Go button to the right of the search bar. Useful when there's already some text in the search bar but you don't want to take your hand off the mouse to hit Enter. (We really are very lazy!)

Search Plugin Hacks
Adds a very useful feature. Lets you delete search plugins. Just right click on a search plugin you want to remove and delete it.

Lets you translate entire webpages via an item in the Tools menu and snippets of selected text using the content menu. Translation is done using Babelfish.

(After installing the Clear Private Data Button and the Search Button you'll have to add them to your toolbar manually. Do this by right clicking on the toolbar and selecting Customize... and dragging the buttons to the appropriate locations on the toolbar.)

Quite a lot of the functionality that these extensions bring is going to be a part of Firefox 2, so they'll be unnecessary then.

Tags: Firefox, freeware

Labels: ,



Have you tried Firefox 2.0 ?
Also the Paste and Go raises many privacy issues (concerns) and the Translate feature too.
Nuke Anything should be in Firefox
The Search Button and Search Plugin Hacks have already been built into Firefox 2.0 (a.k.a. Bon Echo)
what, it take 10th of a second to press enter, the time it would take me to go to the plugins page, download it, install, reboot browser, thats about 6 months of enter clicking!!!. Sad.... The dev team should not spend time on such trivial things, thats what plugins are for.
i'll add imagezoom

English as she is spoken...
If you highlight any link and drag it to the tab bar in Firefox, it will pop open in a new tab.

IE_tab should just come standard as well.
Hey all those ideas must have been considered great about 6 months ago, but yeah, now we already have them dealt with. The translation stuff is good. Everything else I'm already familiar with.
Nice List...

I agree with all you ideas, I really like the Paste & Go option that would sve me alot of time since I seem to perform that routine alot.. hehe
I think there should be there should be a function that clears the search bar automatically after submittion.
I see no reason for "Paste and Search". If you drag a section of text from any app and drop it in the search bar, it will do exactly that. To switch apps in MS Windows, you can hold the text over the firefox button on the taskbar for a second to switch to Firefox. I think that works on MacOS and Gnome/KDE too.

That, and I think this whole spiel works on the address bar, too.
The big advantage of the Search button: unlike using the Enter key, you can middle-click on the Search button to have the search appear in a new tab.
Little bits here and there add up.

I don't need a clear private data button. I like my cookies and search history is useful occasionally.

I've searched the internet based on word for word highlighted text once every blue moon. It's not worth adding to the bulk when copy and paste work fine.

Paste and go is just a silly feature. Most urls on the web are links. For all the others, there's always the Go button.

Searchbar resizer might be nice for some but I like static non-changing layouts.

Now, the search plugin hack is useful. That's probably the only plugin I can agree on adding in, since there is no easy way to delete search engines.

Translate plugin should not be added in either because the average folk will probably not use it. The times I come across something that is not in a language I can read is on google. If thats the case, then google usually offers a "translate page" link.
Paste and go already exists if you click and drag an address into the address bar. Not sure the search button or search resizer make sense, though, as Firefox's prime directive is "simplify, simplify, simplify."
How about opendownload. It lets you open files like you can in IE without saving them in specific spot on your computer. I always bogg up my desktop with downloads so that helped me
Instead of taking up space with clear button.. just hit Shift-Ctrl-Del
Very nice i'd have to agree with most of them, some i disagree with personally, but that doesnt mean everone would, i think that the number one thing we shud remember is that your browser should be your browser, which means that any extensions should have as many settings as possible
funny thing i use about 10 extensions and none of them is refered in this post :)

I don't think they're very useful, more bloat (except the clear data button).
there is so lame a** stuff here. I'll leave my FF as it comes, with only a few addons.
I would rather have those as plugins as I don't want some of them built into my browser.
Re: "paste and go" - just paste into the main browser window, rather than the URL area.
One other extension that should be incorporated into the browser is the Session Manager. Great feature for when it crashes or you simply want to resume browsing. Wouldn't surprise me if they added it very soon.
I'm thinking that most of these should probably stay as extensions.

I've got a hunch that these suggestions are more of an expression of "I hate having to download my favourite extensions all the time" than an actual "We need these features in our browser" argument. If that's the case, then the extension like the one below is more likely to address the issue

Reasoning (which anyone's welcome to disagree with) follows.

Clear Private Data Button:
If you're keen on constantly clearing your cookies/caches, then chances are you're also savvy enough to know where the Clear Private Data button hides and/or know where and how to download extensions.

Context Search:
Context search seems like it could be worthwhile and not too much trouble to build in. The search bar already implements 90% of this feature. That said, cluttering context menus isn't necessarily a good idea.

Paste and Go:
Stealing functionality from competitors' gear isn't necessarily the best way to create a product. The 'search the web for [selected word]' context menu within the browser handles most of that gracefully. I can undertsand how some might prefer the extra context menu clutter, but that's best kept for an extension. Text boxes generally get focus when stuff is pasted into them, so as far as 'paste and go' functionality goes, all it saves you is a keyboard carriage return or a mouse click. Why bother putting something that trivial into the main trunk when it's apparently doing alright as an extension?

Search Bar Autoresize:
I know that having the search bar mutate as I type would really get on my nerves. It's not standard behaviour for a text box and is probably best left as an extension.

Search Button:
Currently there's no way to use the mouse to activate a search in the search bar. A button here would be good thing in my opinion. I've always thought that accessibility should support mouse OR keyboard, not mouse AND some keybaord.

Search Plugin Hacks:
A context menu within a drop down menu?? I agree that there needs to be some nice and easy way to manage configured search engines, but come on.

This would tie Firefox to Altavista's Babelfish product much in the same way having Google configured as the default search engine ties Firefox to Google. There'd need to be some real thought before something like this could be brought into Firefox itself.
Please please please change your "let's" to "lets."

"Let's" means "let us."
Good article! Let's learn how to use the word "lets" (as in "allows" or "enables") so that an article as informative and interesting as this can be read without causing my eyes to bleed.
Something I would like to see, similar to paste and go and the search context menu would be a "go to url" or similar menu choice when plain text is selected, that would launch a new tab with the selected text as the URL. Might already be out there (or in ff2.0), but I havent seen it yet.
Seems like IE 7 will be more efficient memory-wise than FireFox 2.0.. I hope they can fix this because I don't want to go back... Once you go FF you never go back! I hope!
Grammar nazis.

I fixed the let's/lets problem.

(Embarrassed smile. I'm a grammar nazi most of the time too.)

(It's always late and I'm always sleepy when I post these things.)
I'd really like to see the link navigation bar again, to let you hit the next page after a search, for example, or go up the hierarchy.
I think one of the most important extensions is missing from this list:


Firefox's bookmark dialog was good in very early versions (around 0.7), then they turned it into a very difficult to use and un-intuitive dialog that many new users have difficulty understanding how to work it. I have to install OpenBook on hundreds of Firefox installations to resolve this issue and am still hoping that one they they put it back to how it was.
from #51 to #2! :D
i was like: Whoa! Cool!
what a rush.
lets hope u beat #1
This is a really good post.

I've seen a lot of 'Top 10 Firefox Extensions' and 'Firefox Extensions you never knew existed...' blog articles but this one contained some that I'd never seen before.

Namely, Paste and Go and Resizable Search box.

Great stuff, keep up the good work!
Check out Tabs Open Relative. It's so common-sense that I'm amazed more people haven't thought of this before.
FF still has stability issues when a large number of windows are open - it will crash out regularly if sessions are left open.
Don't think it needs clear private data button. You can press ctrl+shift+del to do it from the keyboard.
I would like to see "send link" to send the url.
Nothing should be in Firefox. Nothing. An html reader and nothing more. If you want it to be more, add the damn extensions yourself. Hasn't Microsoft and Apple already got the all-things-for-all-people market covered. Leave Firefox alone and let it be what it is, a web browser.
I can understand memory efficiency being a big deal on a system with memory contraints. But when the average PC has 512Mb of RAM, (and you'll need 1Gb for Vista) having a browser that is efficient is just a crock. On my desktop my firefox has 29 tabs open, it's using 300mb, the PC has been on for at least 3 weeks, and firefox likewise. I have 33 extensions loaded and 1 theme. I have 1Gb, the PC and firefox are both still snappy and responsive. Memory effiency may be a mantra, but it's just not an issue if you have even a reasonably spec'ed machine. OK, so IE7 & Opera load faster, who cares? I go for weeks without a reload.
I agree, FF2 has the "search button, the ability to delete search engines, and placing the search bar on a tool bar without the URL bar will cause it to auto-resize to accommodate any empty space.
This comment has been removed by the author.
If "Translate" and "Search Plugin Hacks" are already included in Firefox 2-onwards then where the hell are they are how am I missing them?!?

Also, the great thing about this stuff all being "add ons" is that you chose if you want this functionality or not (I have already used the dictionary twice to correct crappy typing in this post).

That means if you would rather speed over functionality (as some people seem to) then Firefox is the one. IE is trying right now, but it still has too much crap built in (a la Adobe 8 etc) to give you any real choice.

At least Firefox still tries to adhere to this principal, though I do think that the "Search Plugin Hacks" should be included as standard in all versions.
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