It has been nearly 5 Years since we have been blessed with a FREE (I love this word in online terminology!) multi-faceted browser.
Phoenix, Firebird, Firefox Version 1 was released to public on November 9, 2004!. Since then Mozilla has not looked back (well, maybe a few times!) & went on to achieve almost 25% market share of the recorded usage of web-browsers. With more than 100 Million Downloads, Firefox is set to achieve a much a higher pedestal even in such times when Google is out to capture every aspect of your online presence (Chrome, docs, calendar, etc…) & Apple too, is entering PC domain with its Safari
Hence, on its eve of 5th Year Anniversary, I thought of providing you some means to make your browsing, using Firefox, even more simpler, faster & fun. The Latest Verision 3.5.3 can be downloaded from HERE
There must hardly be anyone who has never even tasted (I mean tested!!) Firefox. Those who regularly use Firefox, must have many-a-times wished/wondered: God!! If only there was a way to enhance Firefox. Well… there is: PLUGINS!!.
However, with OVER 10,000+ Plug-ins available in every imaginable flavor & category, how to sift through & choose those who IMPROVE PERFORMANCE & not bog-down your Firefox?
After years (almost 3!!) of adding, removing, re-adding, updating etc. I have come up with 25 (Active: 8) Plug-ins Accordingly.
Below is a short description in the order of Importance/Usage:
1) Adblock Plus (Active): EVERYONE needs this. Websites are FILLED with unwanted ads (Well… Ads are unwanted!) which not Only load BEFORE useful content but also divert your attention to them (distraction). Adblock smoothly removes them. Further, it eliminates the ugly empty boxes that once bore the Ads!!. It’s as if there were NO Ads at all to being with. Cool Na!!?
2) NoScript (Active): This is an older sibling of Adblock Plus & should be used WITH CAUTION.It BLOCKS ALL JAVA Scripts from non-white-listed websites. Novice user will face a lot of difficulties (in the beginning) using this. My Advice is stay with Adblock till you feel comfortable with it & then move on to this.
Upon Installing you will get a Symbol as shown above (“S” Marked Out in RED). This indicates that the website (The rules are per website & independent of TABS) you are viewing is Not White-listed. Hence, IF you are going to use the website frequently, simply right-click the symbol & select: Allow all this page (Eg: Banking Websites). However, if you are an infrequent visitor, then Select: Temporarily allow all this page. This will disable Noscipt for your duration of visit (Session). A very powerful plug-in when used correctly.
3) FEBE (Active): Short For: Firefox Environment Backup Extension, allows you to quickly and easily backup your Firefox extensions. In fact, it goes beyond just backing up — It will actually rebuild your extensions individually into installable .xpi files. What this means is ALL your hard-work: Favorites/Bookmarks, Settings, Plug-ins, logins, website-specific settings are saved/backed-up to a location of YOUR Choice.
In the past I have formatted my computer & later realized that All the above info was forgotten & hence lost. The plug-in will prevent such mishap. In-fact it has Scheduled Back-up also. This is a bit heavy on the resource front, But better slow than sorry!!
4) BugMeNot (Acvtive): Many on our searches for Important Files send us to websites which require Log-in to Download.
This simple extension retrieves Usernames & Passwords from user-submitted database maintained on BugMeNot.com. A simple yet huge time-saver plug-in, which helps us bypass the mandatory user registration.
Tip: Many Websites have started monitoring this website & banning the usernames. Hence, this plug-in might not be that useful.
5) Better Gmail 2 (Active): Gmail doesn’t look good OR at least Not as far as first-glance info goes. This plug-in “Enhances Gmail with a compilation of user scripts & styles”.
6) Add To Search Bar (Active): Well, the name tells it all. Firefox 3 is equipped with a separate Search Bar with Choices of Searches. YES…. there are OTHER Search-Engines as well, besides Google . Eg: Wolfram Alpha, Yahoo, Bing (MS), etc…. Adding these to search toolbar will reduce your search to just 2 clicks. Give it a try. Really useful.
7) FireFTP (Active): A very simple YET Powerful FTP Client. It is Free & rivals popular FTP Clients such as: CuteFTP Pro, IpSwitch WS_FTP Pro etc… Site Builders & Maintenance Executives will find this very useful.
Well This Post should get you started on a Leaner & Faster Firefox with no lag in performance & a better Internet / Online Experience
Tips & Conclusion:
NEVER use a plug-in that is not compatible to Firefox Version. It will lead to undesired outcomes/side-effects. Plug-ins are update regularly. Hence wait for compatible version to be released.
For Greasemonkey, AVOID installing plug-ins from other sites than http://userscripts.org. There can be malicious codes from un-trusted websites.
As a thumb-rule NEVER use more than 8-10 plug-ins or else performance WILL Suffer. This doesn’t mean you should uninstall the plug-ins that you don’t use. Simply go to Tools in Firefox >> Add-ons & DISABLE any plug-ins you do not use regularly. Done.
This post is & always remain a Work-In-Progress as numerous plug-ins are developed regularly. Hence comments are welcome for additions. Will ensure my Next Post on the issue will have your suggestions incorporated after due consideration.