Firefox 3 add-ons I can’t live without.

Today Mozilla officially released Firefox 3. If you haven’t grabbed it yet, what are you waiting for? These are some of the extensions that I now use:

  • AnyColor – Currently available for the Windows version of Firefox 3 only, this add-on lets you shift the color/appearance of your current theme on the fly. It works really well with the default theme for Firefox 3 on Windows XP. I’m currently using the Dark preset.
  • Better Gmail 2 – An excellent extension that allows users to get more out of Gmail. (Updated the link!)
  • Color Management 0.4 – Though Firefox 3 has some support for color profiles out of the box, this add-on gives it the ability to read ICC color profiles embedded in images. (This hopefully translates to better and more consistent color fidelity in images on the web.)
  • ColorZilla 1.9 – With the ability to sample colors from anything on a webpage, and the ability to grab color palettes from those sites, this is an invaluable add-on to have.
  • Facebook Toolbar – If you use Facebook and Firefox, this toolbar is worth having. It notifies you when your friends post anything new, allows you to search contacts, see status updates and more all without visiting facebook.com.
  • FaviconizeTab – I just recently started using this add-on, and I can’t see how I worked without it. If you’re like me, and keep several tabs open all day long, this extension allows you to right-click on tabs and turn them into just the favicon only. Not only does this save valuable screen real estate, it allows you some degree of privacy in that people looking over your shoulder won’t necessarily be able to see what’s in all of your open tabs.
  • Firebug 1.2.0b3 – If you’re doing any sort of web design or development, you need to have this add-on installed. It’s an invaluable tool for debugging CSS/HTML, Javascript, and much, much more.
  • Google Gears – Gears enables you to use compatible sites offline. Google Documents, Remember the Milk and many more sites support Gears, and I’d imagine more sites in the future will work with it as well.
  • IE Tab – Another must have add-on for web designers/developers. Quickly toggle between Firefox and Internet Explorer rendering engines with Firefox itself.
  • MeasureIt 0.3.8 – This ruler comes in handy when wanting to measure elements on a site, specific images and more.
  • PicLens – PicLens lets you browse through photos on Flickr, videos on YouTube and more through an immersive 3D experience. The latest version has integrated Amazon “window shopping”, videos from MSNBC, ESPN and movie trailers and more…
  • Prism for Firefox 0.2 – This add-on allows you to create stand-alone applications of websites you commonly use. I used it to create stand-alone versions of Basecamp, Gmail and gCalendar.
  • ReloadEvery 3.0.0 – This simple add-on allows you to configure pages to be refreshed on a schedule you set. For example: If you use the web version of Twitter, you could set this extension to reload the page every 5 minutes.
  • Web Developer 1.1.6 – Honestly, I don’t use this add-on all that often, but when I do – I’m glad I had it. Simple things like being able to disable all styles and resizing the browser window makes this add-on worth keeping around for me.

What add-ons/extensions are you using with Firefox 3 that you can’t live without? I’d love to know!


Michael Montgomery suggested these extensions:

Testing out the Flock 1.0 Beta RC3

Flock has come a long way since I first used it. When I heard that Flock was nearing 1.0, I figured I’d give the latest release a shot. So far, I’m impressed. Everything works a lot smoother. Integration with social networks is easy to setup. I’ve got Facebook, Flickr and Twitter pouring updates into a unified sidebar. The usual features are still present… blogging within the application, viewing flickr streams, viewing feeds, etc. All in all, it’s not bad. I’m not sure when the Flock 1.0 Final will be released, but it might be worth switching over to if you’re into the “social web”.

W3C Relaunches HTML Activity

Wow… this was one of the geekier things I read today… but it’s important to those of that work on the web. There’s news from the W3C that work on HTML is going to be relaunched…

Recognizing the importance of an open forum for the development of the predominant Web content technology, W3C today invites browser vendors, application developers, and content designers to help design the next version of HTML by participating in the new W3C HTML Working Group. Based on significant input from the design and developer communities within and outside the W3C Membership, W3C has chartered the group to conduct its work in public and to solicit broad participation from W3C Members and non-Members alike.

“HTML started simply, with structured markup, no licensing requirements, and the ability to link to anything. More than anything, this simplicity and openness has led to its tremendous and continued success,” explained Tim Berners-Lee, W3C director and inventor of HTML. “It’s time to revisit the standard and see what we can do to meet the current community needs, and to do so effectively with commitments from browser manufacturers in a visible and open way.”

Read the Full Release

This is pretty big news… The impact of this work won’t be felt, potentially, for years… perhaps a decade or more from now… I’m not sure if this announcement means that the W3C will officially start working on a HTML 5.0 Spec or not. Only time will tell. XHTML is not going away, and it will continue to evolve as well. I’m sort of baffleded at the reasoning behind the move to develop HTML further:

But due to the significant legacy of Web content that is some variant of HTML, traditional browser vendors moved slowly to adopt XHTML. This, in turn, has meant little motivation for content developers to adopt XHTML for the traditional desktop environment. Leaders in the Web developer and design communities therefore urged W3C to renew its commitment to HTML by adding new features (starting with the HTML 4 standard) in a manner that is consistent with community practice and backward compatible.

Considering how data-oriented the web is becoming, does it make sense to improve a standard that was improved upon by XHTML? I understand that browser manufacturers are hesitant to adopt more progressive specifications, but I don’t understand how further developing the HTML Spec is going to change anything. If they’re hesitant to support XHTML, what good does revising and updating the HTML Spec going to accomplish? Additional tags and attributes in HTML are going to require people to tweak their code if they want to take advantage of them. So what’s the point?

Legacy HTML is going to exist on the web for ages to come. This fact should not stop Mozilla, Microsoft, Opera, Apple, etc. from continuing to push forward on supporting XHTML. We need to keep taking steps forward, and to me, this seems like a huge step back.

Thanks, JD, for pointing this out.

Microsoft Asking for IE8 Suggestions

Microsoft starts gathering IE 8 input – Microsoft has contacted a number of beta testers to seek input it will use to customize Internet Explorer (IE) 8, the next version of its Web browser. IE 8 is expected to ship 18 to 24 months after IE 7, which Microsoft released last fall, making Version 8.0 a 2008/2009 deliverable, if Microsoft sticks to reported plans. – Mary Jo Foley, ZDNet.com