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Mozilla The Internet

Building a Better Mozilla With Plugins 429

Posted by michael
from the halt-and-catch-fire dept.
Ant writes "Wired has a story on how to improve Mozilla and Firefox web browsers with various plugins/extensions (XPI installations). It lists some of the extensions that have been rated highly by Mozilla users like BugMeNot. One of them not listed and my favorite is PrefBar."
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Building a Better Mozilla With Plugins

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  • Finally! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 08, 2004 @09:44AM (#9641487)
    We're back on track with a good Mozilla article. Now I can get some decent Slashdotting done. Well, that and switching my PC over to Gentoo.

    I mean, all these articles about TV and movies this morning? Bring on the Mozilla, Linux, and Mac articles. Let's get some good Microsoft bashing going! Daddy needs his fix!
  • At least (Score:2, Insightful)

    by arieswind (789699) *
    It may be slightly inconvenient, but at least the Mozilla extension system isn't a blank check to hackers like IE's ActiveX system.
  • by Enry (630) <enry AT wayga DOT net> on Thursday July 08, 2004 @09:45AM (#9641502) Journal
    From the prefbar web site:

    It does not work with Mozilla Firefox
  • IE (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Hasn't IE taught us that a browser should just be a browser?
    • Re:IE (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Vilim (615798) <`ryan' `at' `jabberwock.ca'> on Thursday July 08, 2004 @10:12AM (#9641817) Homepage

      Unless (as in the case with Firefox) you explicitly tell it to do slightly more

      With IE its the opposite, it is more than a browser unless you explicitly castrate its overzealous (and insecure) functionality

    • Re:IE (Score:3, Interesting)

      by KingJoshi (615691)
      Then Konqueror should have taught us otherwise. I like using "fish://username@domain" to view files in an "explorer" setting over sftp. Embeding of IE into the system as a concept is not flawed, the implementation is what's the problem. Hacking in a neat feature without security in mind and going back to try to fix what problems you didn't design to take care of is much worse than spending more time and designing more properly. Granted, the KDE group does have the mistakes of Microsoft to learn from.
  • RadialContext (Score:5, Informative)

    by MORTAR_COMBAT! (589963) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @09:46AM (#9641518)
    my favorite extension is RadialContext [radialthinking.de], basically gives you mouse gestures for Mozilla and Firefox.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 08, 2004 @09:46AM (#9641519)
    I think all this add-ins are fine and dandy for the typical home user, but where are the plug-ins that will improve productivity for the Corporate user?

    IE blends easily with M$'s large arsenal of server-side applications, which the execs just to love to see. Easy integration.

    What can Mozilla offer that will aid its cause in the enterprise environment. They added Integrated Authentication in v1.6 which was brilliant, but what else?

    How about some add-in for policies?

    • by millahtime (710421) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @09:52AM (#9641579) Homepage Journal
      Large Corperations with loads of money just seem to go fo M$ software. Doesn't matter how good it is or if it gets the job done they just use it. That is the problem I run into.

      There seems to be a lack of knowledge where I work in general about such things and that is the problem.
      • by rjstanford (69735) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @10:23AM (#9641929) Homepage Journal
        Large Corperations with loads of money just seem to go fo M$ software. Doesn't matter how good it is or if it gets the job done they just use it. That is the problem I run into.

        The thing is that, for the most part, it does work. Its also extremely well tested and what weaknesses there are are well known and documented. This is one area where the OSS camp has yet to catch up - and I don't mean providing access to a Bugzilla database with 100,000+ known issues, mostly minor. In the business world, predictibility wins out over other areas nine times out of ten.

        Heck, even if I know that everything works perfectly but that my server will only stay up for 10 days in a row before performance degrades, if I have a 15 minute reboot window every week then that's fine too. I'd much rather go with a known solution - with workarounds as needed - than an unproven one that may be better. In that situation, a machine that stayed up for the most part but would randomly stop servicing requests once a quarter - while far superior in uptime stats - would be a greatly inferior solution. Its a different mindset.

        Of course, this comment is slanted towards enterprise customers.
        • by buckminster (170559) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @11:11AM (#9642581) Homepage
          Actually the weaknesses are not well known or documented. Particularly with security. There are new issues arising daily -- which would be why CERT recommended that users consider changing browsers.

          That's the sort of uncertainty that might make enterprise customers nervous.
      • by bpowell423 (208542) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @10:32AM (#9642077)
        I agree with you for the most part, but to take it one step further... large corporations use MS software because nobody wants to stick their neck out and use anything else, even if it is better or cheaper. The logic seems to be that if you use MS software and it fails, you can bash MS and the management above you will blame MS, too. But, if you use something else like any free/open-source software, then when it fails, the ax falls on you. Management will blame you for the failure, since in their mind you were just cutting corners. I saw this on a project I was working on. I had used MySQL for a project at our facility for a couple of years and it had worked great. Due to the success of the project, corp headquarters decided to try to implement the project at other facilities, but they balked at MySQL and forced me to convert the project to MS SQL. Well... long story short, I now have to keep an eye on MS SQL to make sure it doesn't die, which it's already done several times in 6 months.
    • Prefbar improves my productivity at work because I can browse certain intranet sites which require IE with the faked user agent set to IE by prefbar. I don't need to switch to IE for browsing that type of site, time is money, productivity improves. Oh shit, there's still slashdot...
    • What can Mozilla offer that will aid its cause in the enterprise environment.

      Rapid Application Development with Mozilla [informit.com] ;) You can download the .pdf of the book there.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      What can Mozilla offer that will aid its cause in the enterprise environment.

      A swift kick in the nuts to the C[E|I|T]O. OK, that wouldn't really be helping its cause, but it would make me feel better.
  • by shackma2 (685062) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @09:46AM (#9641520)
    The Wired article calls Mozilla stripped dows and lacking features, but isn't that the point of Mozilla, to be faster by getting rid of the bells and whistles?
  • Tabextension (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I for one cannot live without the tabextension plugin. It really enhances the Firefox interface.
    Mainly because I don't like to have lots of new windows popping up all the time filling up my desktops.
  • magpie (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 08, 2004 @09:48AM (#9641539)
    Magpie also includes tools for adjusting a site's URL by incrementing or decrementing the numbers in it ... This is a good extension for those who do a lot of research online.
    Yup. I find this priceless while "researching" the webs many sequentially numbered jpegs.

    Especially as I can now do it one-handed.
    • Re:magpie (Score:2, Informative)

      by tomknight (190939)
      Heh....

      You also get this with Opera, just hit "Fast Forward", or the space bar, or use the right mouse gesture and you're away. Not that I'd know about this in your particular sceanario, of course ;-)

      Tom.

    • Re:magpie (Score:5, Informative)

      by Alranor (472986) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @09:57AM (#9641653)
      Also useful for those onehanded browsing sessions are

      Linky [extensionsmirror.nl]

      Extension is a very simple addon to the context menu that provide you with the following:


      * Opens all links in a selection in new tabs or windows
      * Finds and opens link in plain text in a new tab or window
      * Opens all links on page in new tabs or windows, etc.

      and

      JumpLink [extensionsmirror.nl]

      The Jumplink extension allows you to skip through redirect links and jump directly to the target link


      Why do I get the feeling the Slashdot community may find these of some assistance ;)
    • Re:magpie (Score:5, Informative)

      by wfberg (24378) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @10:02AM (#9641716)
      Magpie also includes tools for adjusting a site's URL by incrementing or decrementing the numbers in it ... This is a good extension for those who do a lot of research online.

      Yup. I find this priceless while "researching" the webs many sequentially numbered jpegs.


      If you're stuck browsing sequentially numbered jpegs at work using internet explorer (or you just don't use extensions), you can also use Jesse's bookmarklets [squarefree.com].
      Just drag them to your bookmark bar!
      • Re:magpie (Score:3, Funny)

        by Hal-9001 (43188)
        If you're stuck browsing sequentially numbered jpegs at work...
        I'm pretty sure that the sequentially-number JPEGs that he's browsing one-handed are NOT work-safe!
    • actually (Score:4, Interesting)

      by not_a_product_id (604278) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @10:07AM (#9641769) Journal
      I use them for moving between pages of on-line cartoons... erm... as well as...you know...
  • What? No Adblock? (Score:3, Informative)

    by FeetOfStinky (669511) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @09:49AM (#9641548)
    I can't believe Adblock isn't listed. It even works with Firefox 0.9, despite rumblings I've heard to the contrary.
    • by AllUsernamesAreGone (688381) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @09:59AM (#9641674)
      Why would a site that uses adverts, and is owned by a company that makes money off web adverts, tell you how to avoid them?
    • Re:What? No Adblock? (Score:3, Informative)

      by jfengel (409917)
      I don't use Adblock because I'm perfectly content to let the ads be there, as long as they're not too intrusive. It's my minimal way of paying for sites (like Slashdot) that use advertising to support a service I really like.

      Mind you, I don't have Flash loaded, and I have moving gifs set to repeat only once (a spiffy extension called Things They Left Out [mozdev.org]). So the ads aren't nearly as intrusive as they might be.

      I'd even click through an ad, if it were well done (I don't want to reward obnoxious ads) and
  • missing adblock (Score:5, Informative)

    by fireduck (197000) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @09:49AM (#9641550)
    any article about firefox that doesn't mention adblock [mozdev.org] and the best filters to use [aasted.org] is seriously lacking.
  • Mouse Gestures (Score:5, Informative)

    by southpolesammy (150094) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @09:50AM (#9641557) Journal
    By far, I find the mouse gestures [mozdev.org] extension to be the greatest addition to Mozilla. This borrowed feature of Opera will certainly and permanently change the way you browse websites.
  • by Masa (74401) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @09:51AM (#9641570) Journal
    ...is Enigmail [mozdev.org]. A GPG/PGP plug-in for Mozilla. It integrates GnuPG commandline tools seamlessly into the browser. It's easiest to use encryption/signing tool I've seen so far.
  • They make installing plugins easy but installing the program itself on linux requires compliation. The windows version has an installer exe, so where's the linux rpm? They won't get many *nix newbies with this attitude. I want off Konquerer!!

    • er, last 10 or 20 times I installed it on linux all I had to do was unzip and run.
    • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Informative)

      by BrokenHalo (565198) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @10:19AM (#9641887)
      I was going to moderate on this topic, but since a couple of people have mentioned the business of installers, I'll forego that and set the issue straight (or at least definitively crooked).

      Firefox for linux (with gtk+ and xft) comes with an installer. Just extract the tarball and run firefox-installer in the extracted directory and it will behave essentially the same as any winbloze installer. If you want an rpm, I'm sure google will find one if you're that desperate.

  • All-in-One Gestures (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tmhsiao (47750) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @09:51AM (#9641573) Homepage Journal
    I loves me some All-in-One Gestures [mozilla.org]. There's a big list of configurable actions you can take with gestures, not the least of which is "Open selection in new window" for when people don't link URLs in web forums.
  • by Jugalator (259273) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @09:52AM (#9641589) Journal
    ... is in my opinion Adblock [mozdev.org]. I really like the full regular expression support!

    But of course she didn't mention that one, since it would be too efficient against Wired News' own ads. :-)

    Disabling my Adblock showed ads on their page at least.
    • Indeed! I think many distros should ship AdBlock enabled by default, with a nice little list of ad servers to block. I think may people would find this a killer app!
  • W0t? (Score:5, Informative)

    by tanveer1979 (530624) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @09:52AM (#9641591) Homepage Journal
    Slow news day, eh? The Article is low on substance. This [mozilla.org] page has much more details. Looks like the wired article has copy-pasted and not done any real work. The actual article should have had listed quirks, what do the extentions actually do, rather than pasting text from mozilla extention page.
  • by Tuxedo Jack (648130) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @09:52AM (#9641592) Homepage
    Works with 0.9, blocks anything (hate to admit it, but I've used it on OSDN for Doubleclick crap), and allows for selectivity in blocking.

    http://adblock.mozdev.org
    • Use of Adblock by the /. crowd brings up an interesting point. Obviously websites rely on advertising to make money and thus stay in business. Sites that cater to the tech crown are catering to the crowd most likely to block all ads. So, how does a tech site make money when a large percentage of its users don't see any of the ads they serve?
  • fav ext (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dreadlord (671979) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @09:53AM (#9641604) Journal
    My fav extension at the moment is GmailCompose [mozilla.org], combined with Gmail's great interface, it feels like a real email app, and not just web mail.
  • (As subject.)
  • by mpath (555000) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @09:55AM (#9641625)
    Is something like Safari's or Google's AutoFill form feature. Yes, there are some plug-ins (WebDeveloper has an Enable Auto-Completion, but I can't get it to work) that do this, but not as suavely as the aforementioned products. Something that caches form field names and commonly used values and at a push of a button or keystroke, it fills out all of the form based on what the most popular values that are cached for the field names.
  • by spineboy (22918) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @09:55AM (#9641632) Journal
    My browsing habits are probably very different than most peoples, and that's why I like FIrefox. It kinda avoids the one-size fits all and can provide you with a more "tailored" application. I can also envision download "packs" specialized for individual companies that have a particular need for certain features. I've been showing people this stuff, who've never seen Mo?Fire before, and they're like "Wow!" Of course it's still a pain in the neck when I have to use Active X sites, and can't, but I think people are realising slowly that, this should be looked at (and avoided).
  • Flash Click to View (Score:5, Informative)

    by Spoons (26950) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @09:56AM (#9641639) Homepage
    My favortie Mozilla plug-in is Flash Click to view [mozdev.org]. It blocks all those annoying flash ads and puts an icon in its place. If you want to view the Flash ad/game/movie whatever, you just click the icon and it loads. It makes browsing the web just a little more bearable.
  • by gemal (530553) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @09:56AM (#9641643) Homepage
    Launchy [gemal.dk] enables you to open links and mailto's with external applications like IE, Opera, Outlook, GetRight.
    Works in: Mozilla and Mozilla Firefox and Mozilla Thunderbird Launchy Homepage [gemal.dk]
  • BugMeNot (Score:5, Interesting)

    by spellraiser (764337) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @10:01AM (#9641701) Journal

    After installation, BugMeNot supplies an appropriate name and password from a database that seems to include registration info for the vast majority of websites that request registration. The BugMeNot developers note that most people enter false information on registration forms to protect their privacy, so BugMeNot actually cuts down on database pollution. The only problem is that The New York Times may wonder what happened to all those 86-year-old Albanian grandmothers who head up huge technology firms that used to sign up to read the NYT website.

    ... well, the other problem is: Now that the slashdot crowd has become aware of BugMeNot, NYT will need to prepare for Attack of the Clones: Geek Edition! :P

  • The ieview extension [mozdev.org] could be used for getting your web developer friends to code the web-pages for mozilla first and then check if it works ok with IE. (You just right-click the URL and choose "Open link target in IE".)
    The web developers I know sadly just use IE and then ignores the other browsers.
  • Wait... (Score:5, Informative)

    by KillaKen187 (794540) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @10:03AM (#9641721) Homepage
    noone has mentioned Aaron Spuler's Single window [mozthemes.tk] which puts all those annoying pages that spawn a new window into a tab instead... just a wonderful plug-in
  • Super DragAndGo (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kupek (75469) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @10:03AM (#9641732)
    I've just started using Firefox, and the best plugin I know of for it is Super DragAndGo [mozilla.org]. If you drag a link to empty space on the webpage, that link is opened in a new tab. It's so simple, but it's the best new web browsing feature I've seen in a long time.
  • flash click to play (Score:5, Informative)

    by fermion (181285) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @10:04AM (#9641746) Homepage Journal
    The most useful xpi I have found is Flash Click to Play [mozdev.org], formally and still listed as Flashblock. It lets me install Flash, which is becoming increasingly necessary in this image driven world, while letting me filter out the 99% of flash content that are gratuitous, ads, or simply bad animation.

    BTW, Camino does not install this automatically, but is relatively simple to go into your chrome folder and hack it yourself.

  • by Schlemphfer (556732) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @10:08AM (#9641779) Homepage
    I'm lacking a technical background and I grew up using Macs. With that in mind, the idea of adding tons of extensions to Mozilla doesn't thrill me. I can't help but be reminded of pre OS-X Macintoshes, where it got to the point that Macs shipped with a half-dozen extensions. And it was impossible to put the computer to any serious use without accumulating a dozen more.

    Naturally, the more extensions you loaded, the more time it took your computer to boot and the more system crashes and incompatibilities occurred. It got to the point that I spent significant time enabling and disabling extensions to try to identify incompatibilities and the sources of my computer crashes. I don't know anything about Mozilla architecture, but might an extension-based Firefox be edging us down that same path?

    I know I'd personally prefer it if the Firefox team evaluated the best extensions, and incorporated them into the main code for optimum compatibility.

    So here's my question to people familiar with the Mozilla codebase: is my comparison between Pre-OSX Macs and Firefox valid?

    • by Ayanami Rei (621112) * <rayanami@gmail. c o m> on Thursday July 08, 2004 @12:05PM (#9643312) Journal
      Extensions in the classic MacOS sense are like kernel modules or plugins. Extension in the Mozilla/Firefox sense are augmentations of the application (usually demand loaded) so they don't significantly impact stability or load time, as far as I can tell. An extension could be implemented in a lot of ways, whether simple or complex. Generally they can't overwrite anything, so they hook into the existing API, and Mozilla provides a pretty vast one.

      Mozilla/Firefox don't come with any extensions at all. They are perfectly useful without them. Moz/Firefox may directly incorporate features of popular extensions in later versions, but they cease to be extensions at the point, and are considered part of the application proper.
    • I'm not an expert on Mozilla's codebase, but based on their history, I would say that your worries are probably misplaced.

      Firefox is purposely limited to the bare minimum of functionality that general users required. If any extensions ever rise to that level of ubiquity, they'll probably get adopted by moz.org and slipstreamed into the code base, which should remove the performance concern.

      After all, that's how tabbed browsing made it into Mozilla -- first as a separate XPI extension (Multizilla), which
  • Bookmarklets (Score:5, Informative)

    by Robotron2084 (262343) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @10:11AM (#9641808) Homepage
    Bookmarklets are an underrated way to extend the usability of Mozilla, Firefox and even IE.

    http://www.squarefree.com/bookmarklets/zap.html

    I have 'zap plugins' and 'zap images' in my personal toolbar to stop strobing ads and flash on a page-by-page basis. Works great!
    • Re:Bookmarklets (Score:3, Informative)

      by kavau (554682)
      One of my favorites is "plain text links" [mielczarek.org], which allows one to open any URL that is not marked as such by selecting and right-clicking it.

      Very useful for dealing with slashdot posters such as yourself! ;-)

  • FlashBlock (Score:4, Informative)

    by Dalroth (85450) * on Thursday July 08, 2004 @10:12AM (#9641819) Homepage Journal
    FlashBlock [mozdev.org]! That is the BEST plugin EVER created! Everybody who has Firefox installed should also have this plugin installed.

    Bryan
    • Re:FlashBlock (Score:4, Informative)

      by Hollins (83264) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @11:02AM (#9642473) Homepage
      now that adblock handles flash and other embeds, it has become capable of filtering just about everything. I no longer need FlashBlock. Since adblock can handle regex filtering, I find myself becoming obsessed with trying to filter that last 0.1% of ads that get through while keeping a short filter list.

      Also, the article calls Mozilla 'stripped down', which is absurd. It has tabbed browsing and pop-up blocking by default, putting it light years ahead of the market leader.
  • My extensions. (Score:3, Informative)

    by guidryp (702488) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @10:30AM (#9642040)
    Flashblock: Absolute must have stops the all singing dancing net, but lets you use it if you must.
    http://flashblock.mozdev.org/

    Preferential: Lets you change every option, not just the subset that they think you need. Lets me kill gif anims for one thing.
    http://preferential.mozdev.org/

    Tab Browser extentsion: The only current way to get true single window mode.
    http://white.sakura.ne.jp/~piro/xul/_tabext ensions .html.en

    Adblock: Block annoying adds that get by above measures. I leave them alone if the don't blink/anim and flow in my text. One of those and they are gone. For some reason newegg flash adds were escaping flashblock so, I adblocked *newegg*.
    http://adblock.mozdev.org/

    Nuke anything: Sometimes a site will serve ads from the same place as usefull image so I don't want to filter. This lets me knock out anything from the page temporarily.
    http://ted.mielczarek.org/code/mozil la/
  • No... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SilentT (742071) <(moc.oohay) (ta) (tnelissiteht)> on Thursday July 08, 2004 @10:31AM (#9642049)
    Most people who switch to Mozilla or Mozilla's Firefox browser quickly notice that the browser is pretty bare. It contains exactly what you need to browse the Web -- no less and no more.

    I don't know of anyone who's disappointed that Firefox is "pretty bare" the first time they use it. What they notice is that it can do everything IE does, but with tabbed browsing and without the pop-ups or security holes.

  • Pref Bar is obsolete (Score:3, Informative)

    by Washizu (220337) <bengarvey@com c a s t . net> on Thursday July 08, 2004 @10:55AM (#9642383) Homepage
    You won't need that pref bar extension once you've installed the Web Developer [myacen.com] extension. It lets you turn off cookies, javascript, check cookie info, validate CSS/HTML, resize to various window sizes, turn off images, outline block elements, show image paths/sizes, etc.

    It makes my life easier.
  • blah blah (Score:3, Interesting)

    by XO (250276) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [cire.edalb]> on Thursday July 08, 2004 @11:13AM (#9642621) Homepage Journal
    Well, I know this article is about Mozilla, and how Mozilla around here is everyone's favorite pet... but.. every single feature that I've ever seen implemented by and/or for Mozilla that was even remotely useful to anyone besides the author of that feature.. was already implemented in Opera first.

    Ya'all really should check it out. Quicker, faster, works a lot better. No, it's not open source. But, it is possible that there can be software that's good that's not open source.

    (now i'm going to get modded -255; Blasphemer!)

  • FIX THE CALENDAR! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EvilStein (414640) <spam.pbp@net> on Thursday July 08, 2004 @01:53PM (#9644594) Homepage
    All these other plugins are just fluff if adoption is severely hampered by the lack of a fully functional calendar.

    Build the calendar, and they will come.. come away from Outlook.
    It *can* happen.

    Calendar should be #1 priority right now.. mail & news is great, the browser is great.. but the lack of a calendar *really is stopping people* from switching. At least with the dozens of small businesses that I do consulting for, it is.

    I cannot emphasize this enough - a lot of small businesses (without exchange) stick to Outlook because of the pretty pointy clicky calendar.

    "sunbird" isn't even close. The Mozilla Calendar is waay far off.

    Come on, guys... let's dooooo it!

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