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Chapter 4. Killer Firefox Add-Ons > Where to Learn More

4.4. Where to Learn More

I've given you a lot to chew on throughout this chapter, but there's always more to learn. If you want to investigate further anything I've discussed, the links in this section should help. Please keep in mind that the Web is an ever-changing environment, so links and sites may break or move. For such situations, you can fall back on Google (or your search engine of choice).

4.4.1. Plug-Ins

The single best place to go for information about Firefox (and Mozilla) plug-ins is the PluginDoc site, which contains a thorough discussion of the most popular plug-ins for Windows. If Firefox says it can't find a plug-in, head over to PluginDoc and look there. You'll probably find what you need.

PluginDoc also has a nice Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page for Firefox. It's not long, and it might be worth reading even if things are going swimmingly. It never hurts to learn as much as you can about your computing tools of choice.

Finally, some troubleshooting tips are contained in PluginDoc's "Before You Install" page. Some of it is a bit technical, but there are still a few helpful tips for beginners.





4.4.2. Themes

The official list of Firefox themes is at Mozilla Update. You can, of course, get there by choosing Tools → Themes and then clicking on Get More Themes. As of this writing there are 62 themes available, although more will undoubtedly show up over time.

Winstripe (the default) has received quite a bit of criticism; a piece written by "Jeff" is one of the most lucid and thoughtful critiques.

Themes at Mozilla Update


Jeff's criticism of Winstripe


4.4.3. Extensions

New extensions are becoming available for Firefox all the time, so in the following sections I'll point you to resources not just about the extensions I covered in this chapter, but also for those interested in searching out their own extensions to play with and use. For some more cool extensions, check out Chapter 5. Collections of extensions

I have not tried all—or even most—of the extensions in these collections, so use them at your own risk. If you install one of these and your computer crashes, don't look in my direction. Use your head and install and test extensions one at a time, to make it easier to pinpoint the source of any problems.

Two articles on the Web discuss Firefox extensions in depth and contain within them a wealth of pointers to little-known (and many well-known) extensions. I highly recommend reading them and following any of the links that seem interesting to you. The first article, titled "A Guide to Firefox Extensions," was published on September 5, 2004, on the Flexbeta site. It's an excellent, quick overview. Slashdot, the online water cooler for nerds (and I count myself among that group!), picked up on the Flexbeta article and used it as a jumping-off point for a discussion on "Exploring Firefox Extensions."

As in your face as it gets

Be forewarned: the Slashdot discussion is long (currently nearly 500 comments!), detailed, and passionate, and many of the people involved in that discussion understand deeply the ins and outs of the unique Slashdot community. Consequently, things may be said that bewilder, anger, or offend you. You should still read the piece, but you might want to first read Wikipedia's discussion of the Slashdot community, at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slashdot.

Mozdev.org provides free hosting for projects based around Mozilla and related technologies, like Firefox. Currently, there are more than 150 projects there, and many of them have to do with Firefox extensions. Mozdev is a pretty big site, but the designers have tried to make things as easy to find as possible. For instance, while it contains a full, 9-page list of all active projects (i.e., projects upon which someone has worked in the last 60 days), the list of the 50 most viewed projects might be more useful to you. In the spirit of generosity, Mozdev even features external projects that are not hosted at Mozdev but are considered worthy of mention.

And then there's the biggie at Mozdev: the Extension Room. Be prepared for an enormous list of 225 extensions just for Firefox. This list is kept up to date with what is apparently every known Firefox extension. All of them are placed into categories, such as "Blogging," "Bookmarks," "Configuration," "Navigation," and the always helpful "Miscellaneous." At the very top is a category called "Updated," for recently updated extensions; this might be the section to check first once you've started using this page. Keep in mind that this is not the official list at Mozilla Update, so it shouldn't be relied on 100%, especially since the extensions might not work with your version of Firefox. (Don't worry, though—Firefox won't actually let you install an extension that doesn't work with your particular version.) However, it's still an excellent resource.

Finally, if you'd like to keep up with the extensions I'm using, playing with, or just trying, check out "My List of Installed Firefox Extensions" on my web site. There are several that I just didn't have space in this book to discuss, which you might find interesting.

Flexbeta's "A Guide to Firefox Extensions"


Slashdot's "Exploring Firefox Extensions"







Mozdev Extension Room


My List of Installed Firefox Extensions

http://www.granneman.com/webdev/browsers/mozillafirefoxnetscape/extensions/installed.htm Individuals who have written several extensions

Jeremy Gillick creates useful, clever extensions with clear documentation, which is always appreciated. You can find the list of his work at "Jeremy's Mozilla Extensions." His work has been featured in many publications, as it should be.

Roachfiend's "Firefox extensions" page contains a good number of extensions for you to examine. Many of these are rather ingenious, like the Alt-Text for Links and Always Remember Password extensions. The same site also has a tutorial for those interested in learning how to make their own Firefox extensions, but be warned, you need to have a bit of web development or programming experience to do so.

Someone named Gorgias has also written a few good extensions, which he lists at "Gorgias's Firefox Extensions." There's not a lot here, and a couple of them have since been superceded by new features in Firefox, but his Add Bookmark Here extension is still very helpful. Take a look at it—you might find that it's exactly what you need.

In Section 4.3.4 earlier in this chapter, I warned you about the problems that many people have reported with Tabbrowser Extensions, an extension that enhances tabs in Firefox in a zillion different ways. The creator of that particular extension has a page for his other work, titled "XUL Applications." There are lots of extensions there that may interest you, but be sure to read the author's warnings (click the Known Problems link on each application page) before you install them—many of these applications are bleeding-edge, and you could be the one who gets cut.

Jeremy's Mozilla Extensions


Roachfiend's "Firefox extensions" and guide to creating extensions



Gorgias's Firefox Extensions


Piro Hiroshi's (the Tabbrowser Extension guy) "XUL Applications"

http://white.sakura.ne.jp/~piro/xul/xul.html.en Specific extensions

GoogleBar's home page contains good information about the project; in particular, the team has written a very good FAQ for its software. Since people can leave comments on this page and others, there is quite a long discussion under the FAQ that you may find helpful and informative. Note that the oldest entries are at the top, so bugs mentioned there undoubtedly have little relevance now.

What others have to say

If an extension is hosted at the Mozilla Update site (https://addons.update.mozilla.org/extensions/), there will be a link for Comments at the top of its page. Click that link to read and add comments about the extension.

GoogleBar with PageRank's home page points to forums and a mailing list, but at the time of this writing there's nothing there yet. Fortunately, the GoogleBar site should be able to cover most of your needs.

The Yahoo! Companion's home page provides lots of information about that extension.

McSearchPreview has a simple page up with a link to a message board where you can report bugs and ask for help, should you need it. If you want to bypass McSearchPreview for information about various sites, you can visit Alexa directly.

Michael Bolin's page about TargetAlert contains tests so you can make sure the extension is working.

ForecastFox's home page contains a good FAQ, along with a pretty long list of user feedback. If you're having problems, you can probably find your answer somewhere on the site.

There's not a tremendous amount at the CuteMenus home page, but then again, CuteMenus is a pretty simple extension. Still, if you feel like getting your hands dirty, there are a few advanced tricks listed there that you can try.

The CardGames home page doesn't really contain any vital information either, unless you want to track the changes that have been made to each iteration of the program. However, one thing it is missing is rules for the various games! The author explains that he copied many of the games from a Linux solitaire game named KPatience; the rules for several of the card games he includes can be found, therefore, at the home page for KPatience. A pretty complete collection of solitaire rules can also be found at Solitaire Central.




GoogleBar with PageRank


Yahoo! Companion














Solitaire rules



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