Written by Varun Kashyap
Firefox is a great browser and we all love it but you might have at some point however tried different browsers. I bet you had a feature or two that you really loved in them and wished one browser could have all you need.
Well as it stands today, with so many Firefox addons, almost anything is possible in Firefox. Here are some add-ons that add common features of various browsers that are not present in Firefox by default:
Google Chrome is the one browser that really comes close to being the default browser on my computer. Extensions are possible but the API is limited. Once the extensions API opens up you can expect to see a slew of extensions for the Chrome browser as well.
Here are some Firefox addons that replicate the features found in Chrome:
- Locationbar2 – Adds Chrome-like domain highlighting and other interesting features to the Firefox address bar. It allows you to click on segments of the URL for navigation. The colors and text are customizable according to your liking.
- New Tab Jumpstart – Replaces Firefox’s default start page with a Chrome-like start page displaying thumbnails and recent history. Although the start page’s design has changed in the latest version of Chrome, jumpstart still offers you the start page from previous versions.
- Chromifox Extreme – If you like the looks of Google Chrome you should check out the Chromifox extreme theme. It’s as close as you would get to the Chrome look and feel. If the title bar irks you, you can try Chromin Frame. It didn’t work on my side when I was writing the article so you might want to keep that in mind.
- Download Statusbar – Chrome displays downloads at the bottom of the window whenever you start one. Download statusbar lets you do just that in Firefox. You can customize it with a host of options and appearance settings. It also features a mini mode, which you can use if you would want to save on screen real estate sometimes.
- App Tabs – Lets you pin selected tabs permanently to the tab bar. The tabs are locked and remain open across different browser sessions until you explicitly close them.
- Mozilla Prism – Lets you prism applications from Firefox. The applications can be opened using a shortcut just like any normal desktop applications and feature a minimum browser UI.
- Omnibar – Omnibar is a nice attempt (although it falls short) at replicating Chrome’s incredible address bar and what all you can do with it.
Firefox’s Newer Versions
Quite a lot is known about how upcoming Firefox releases will look like and what they will all feature. Here are some Firefox addons that let you enjoy those features in Firefox 3.5:
- Ctrl+Tab – Lets you switch and list tabs by using the Ctrl + Tab shortcut. So what’s new about that? Ctrl+Tab presents an Alt+Tab like UI, which lets you see thumbnails of all open tabs when you hit ctrl + tab.
- Tab Progress Bar – Displays a progress bar on top of each tab.
- Strata40 and Stratabuddy – These are more for the visual overhaul than functionality. Here is a glimpse of what Firefox looks like after installing Strata40 and Stratabuddy
- All in One Sidebar – Opera features a very functional sidebar. You can get a sidebar for Firefox using the excellent All in One Sidebar extension.
- FireGestures – There are many Firefox addons that add the ability to execute commands using gestures. FireGestures lets you do almost all of them. You can use mouse movement gestures, wheel gestures, rocker gestures and keypress gestures. An absolute must try if you love mouse gestures in Opera.
- ImgLikeOpera or ImgLikeOpera Reloaded – These add-ons give you greater control on how Firefox loads images. You can block images altogether, display cached images only or load all images. You can also selectively load images if you have turned them off for some reason.
- Smart Stop/Reload – I absolutely loved the idea of a single button that acts as stop and reload depending upon current browser activity. If a page is currently being loaded the button changes performance to the ’stop loading’ action, else it acts as a reload/refresh button.
- FireTorrent – Opera can act as a bittorrent client. If you want to add such capabilities to your Firefox install have a look at FireTorrent.
- Speed Dial – The name says it all. It replicates Opera’s speed dial which is shown on new tab pages. I personally prefer it over something like Newtab Jumpstart, mainly because of too much information that the latter presents. The add-on gives you access to the 9 most visited websites from the new tab page.
- Tab Preview – Gives you a thumbnail representation of the contents of any tab when you hover over it within the tab bar.
- Fireclip – Loosely replicates the Web Slices feature that is available in Internet Explorer 8. The addon lets you clip various parts of a web page and monitor them for change
- myFireFox – A theme that simulates the IE8 look and feel.
I must confess that I am not a big time Safari user so I am looking for your help on this. I had it on my computer for maybe an hour or so before I got sick of it. So based on that little meeting, here are a few suggestions:
- Fission – Takes the progress bar inside the address bar. You can customize the color or use your own images as the progress bar. Neat!
- Tabs Open Relative – This add-on makes new tabs open next to the currently selected tab, instead of opening it all the way to the right at the end of the tab list.
- FoxTab – Brings cool 3D effects to Firefox. It replaces the default tab switching action with something a lot more spectacular. Not only that, it offers you different layouts in which tabs are arranged when you summon FoxTab’s powers
You can of course mix and match all these. In fact many of them could have easily featured under more than one browser category. App Tabs and Fission could have been mentioned under upcoming Firefox features while tabs open relative could have been featured under Opera as well. The Firefox addons mostly play well with each other, themes can cause the occasional problems, in which case you can always switch back to the default theme, or start Firefox in safe mode.
Got some more suggestions? I am sure you do. There is always a little more when talking about Firefox addons. Share your recommendations in the comments.