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J&P Group > J&P InfoSol > Applications > Firefox Web Browser

Web Browser


Introduction <top>

Fast, customizable, available on many platforms (Mac, Windows, Linux) - simply the best all-purpose web browser there is out there.

Download from www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox.

Firefox 4, released 2011-03-022


Add-ons (Feature) <top>

Aside Firefox being fast and conforming to standards, it's a very much customizable browser and you can easily add more functionality, and tweak existing.

The possibility to use add-ons is one of the most powerful features (in our minds) and for a long time, Firefox was the only web browser (or at least among the very few) that had this capability.

Browse the huge library at https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/.

Note that even if most addons are available via this, and from inside Firefox via Tools > Add-ons menu, not all addons are there - some are only available via developers own site, or other software-download sites.

  • CustomizeGoogle - CustomizeGoogle is a Firefox extension that enhance Google search results by adding extra information (like links to Yahoo, Ask.com, MSN etc) and removing unwanted information (like ads and spam). All features are optional and easily configured. https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/743; home page: www.customizegoogle.com/ (mentioned in CNET Insider Secrets: Hack Google with Firefox extensions, 2008-08-20)
  • GooglePreview - Inserts preview images (thumbnails) and popularity ranks of web sites into the Google and Yahoo search results pages. https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/189. (mentioned in CNET Insider Secrets: Hack Google with Firefox extensions, 2008-08-20)
  • McAfee SiteAdvisor - When you search with Google, Yahoo!, or Live Search, SiteAdvisor's safety ratings appear next to search results. www.siteadvisor.com/download/ff.html.
    • WARNING: Currently available version per 2011-03-26 of SiteAdvisor is NOT compatible with FF 4. And also creates a havoc with any open web pages... It creates a lot of behind-the-scene error dialogs that to be accessed and confirmed requires minimizing all main browser windows. (A real mess for someone like with J&P who often has 10-20 browser windows open...) (Mac OS X 10.6, FF 4.0, latest available Site Advisor - downloaded today March 26.)
  • More security-related: Browse all in Mozilla's Privacy & Security addons-category. Note: this is NOT comprehensive and some add-ons may exist in other places (such as McAfee SiteAdvisor)
Add-On Name Addon# Version Installed Date
Comments Recommend for Pros (+),
Cons (-)
1Password n/a 3.5.9 Mar'11 Yes! Enabled Add-on for 1Password (BETA) owners of 1Password Great integration in browser of strong password manager
Adblock Plus 1865 1.3.3 Mar'11 Yes! Enabled remove ads All Users

+ Faster browsing

-  (none seen)

Adobe Contribute Toolbar (mfg) 6.0 Mar'11 Yes!     Developers  
Blackboard by JS (J&P) 0.9.0 Mar'11 Yes! Enabled An own development for simplified course management. J&P Serious time saver!
ColorZilla 271 2.0.2 Jul'10   Enabled "Advanced Eyedropper, ColorPicker, Page Zoomer and other colorful goodies..." Developers  
CoLT 1812 2.5.1 Mar'11 Yes! Enabled "Copy Link Text and Location As" submenu Researchers,
CoolPreviews 2207 3.1.0625 Jul'10   Disabled      
Copy URL+ 1.3.2 Jul'10   Disabled Doesn't work any longer. Search for other. Researchers See CoLT above
CustomizeGoogle 743 0.76 Jul'10   Disabled (disabled sometime since Sep 2009)    
DOM Inspector 6622 2.0.9 Mar'11 Yes! Enabled   Developers Home page
Download Status Bar 26 0.9.7 Jul'10   Enabled View and manage downloads from a tidy statusbar - without the download window getting in the way of your web browsing. All Users  
DownloadHelper 3006 4.8.4 Mar'11 Yes! Enabled download media (e.g. YouTube) All Users  
Add-On Name Addon# Version Installed Date
Comments Recommend for Pros (+),
Cons (-)
Extension Developer 7434 Oct'10 Yes! Enabled "A suite of tools for extension developers, including an interactive JavaScript shell, HTML and XUL editors with live preview, regular expression and XPath testers, and a tool for packaging extensions." WARNING Developers WARNING
FastestFox 9825 4.3.5 Mar'11 Yes! Enabled An absolute Must-Have! More below. ALL USERS! The automatic load of multi-page content into on page is aloen worth getting this!
Firebug 1843 1.5.4 Jul'10 Yes! Enabled 'Web Development Evolved' Developers  
Flagfox 5791 4.0.7 (Jul'10)   Enabled "Displays a country flag depicting the location of the current website's server and provides quick access to detailed location and webserver information." All Users  
Flashblock 433 Mar'11 Yes! Enabled "Flashblock is an extension for the Mozilla, Firefox, and Netscape browsers that takes a pessimistic approach to dealing with Macromedia Flash content on a webpage and blocks ALL Flash content from loading. It then leaves placeholders on the webpage that allow you to click to download and then view the Flash content. " All Users

+ Faster browing

+ Avoid some ads

-  One more click to see media

Ghostery no Oct'11 FF7 compat. Enabled An absolute Must-Have! ALL USERS! Added (here) Oct 2011
Google Desktop Search no 1.1 (Jul'10)   removed (Was enabled in Sep 2009) All Users  
Googlepedia 2517 0.5.6 (Jul'10)   Disabled   All Users  
GooglePreview 189 3.18 (Jul'10)   removed (Was enabled in Sep 2009) Preview page in google searches All Users  
GreaseMonkey 748 0.9.1 Mar'11 Yes! Enabled 0.8.20090920.2 Developers  
Key Manager 4471 (Jul'10)   Enabled Key Generation, Certificate Enrollment, and Identity and Authority Delegation    
Live HTTP Headers 3829 0.16 Mar'11 No Enabled 'View HTTP headers of a page and while browsing' Developers  
Add-On Name Addon# Version Installed Date
Comments Recommend for Pros (+),
Cons (-)
McAfee SiteAdvisor (mfg) 1.0.158 Mar'11 NO!!!
Enabled safer browsing ALL USERS!  
MeasureIt 539 0.4 (Jul'10)   Enabled "Draw out a ruler to get the pixel width and height of any elements on a webpage." Developers  
NoScript 722 Mar'11 Yes! Enabled An absolute Must-Have! "The best security you can get in a web browser! Allow active content to run only from sites you trust, and protect yourself against XSS and Clickjacking attacks." ALL USERS! Go to developer's site.
PageSpeed n/a 1.8.3 (Jul'10)   Enabled "Page Speed is an open-source Firefox/Firebug Add-on. Webmasters and web developers can use Page Speed to evaluate the performance of their web pages and to get suggestions on how to improve them." http://code.google.com/speed/page-speed/ Developers  
QuickToolbars 6690 1.1.2 Mar'11 Yes! (Enabled) Quite convenient for quickly gaining some precious screen real estate... Allow to show or hide firefox toolbars and add-ons toolbars with one single click. (Not FF4.0b6 compatible but hacking seems to work.) Power users  
Screen grab! 1146 0.96.3 (Jul'10)   Disabled   Researchers  
SearchPreview 189 5.0.1 Mar'11 Yes! Enabled "The Firefox extension previously known as GooglePreview. SearchPreview inserts preview images (thumbnails) of web sites and popularity ranks into the Google, Yahoo and Bing search results pages. Thumbnails are created and provided by SearchPreview servers." All Users  
Site Information Tool 5607 1.2 Mar'11 Yes! Enabled "Provides information about a webpage (or website) including rankings, domain registration data (whois), IP information, server response and page data, thumbnail and more." Researchers,
Add-On Name Addon# Version Installed Date
Comments Recommend for Pros (+),
Cons (-)
Toolbar Buttons 2377 1.0 Mar'11 Yes! Enabled Additional buttons for the Customize Toolbar window. Over 100 Firefox, 50 for Thunderbird, and 25 for Sunbird. (FF4.0b6: Ok) Power users  
Torbutton 2275 1.2.5 Mar'11 NO! Disabled   Techies  
Ubiquity n/a 0.5.4 (Jul'10)   Enabled "Don't surf the web. Command it. Ubiquity is an experiment into connecting the Web with language in an attempt to find new user interfaces that make it possible for everyone to do common Web tasks more quickly and easily. It's a Firefox extension, so it works on Macs, Windows, and Linux." https://ubiquity.mozilla.com/ 'interested users'  
User Agent Switcher 59 0.7.3 Mar'11 Yes! Enabled Adds a menu and toolbar button to switch the user agent of the browser Develovers, Advanced users  
Web Developer 60 1.1.9 Mar'11 Yes! Enabled 'Adds a menu and a toolbar with various web developer tools' Developers  
YSlow 5369 2.1 Mar'11 Yes! Enabled "YSlow analyzes web pages and why they're slow based on Yahoo!'s rules for high performance web sites. YSlow uses Yahoo!'s Smush.it service, which is subject to Smush.it Terms of Use" Developers  
No Longer (AddOn
Last Ver     Was      
GooglePreview (189) 3.22     Enabled changed name for SearchPreview (and IS in list above)    

Update History (latest first):

  • Oct'11: Added Ghostery, added a more clear 'Must-Haves' section. (2011-10-01)
  • Mar'11: 2011-03-26 Updated information on selected add-ons when finally moving to first public release of Firefox 4.0 (released 2011-03-22). Also first added this section.

More for developers - check out Chrome and Firefox and add-ons, oh my ... (opens in a new window). A good intro to the power of Firefox add-ons for developers. NOTE! It's a little bit outdated in regard to latest and greatest actually available add-ons. Recommend browsing for comparable. We at J&P are for instance using Firebug, Live HTTP Headers, and Web Developer.


  • FastestFox - More below.
  • Ghostery - for privacy, disable tracking of your visits on sites
  • NoScript - control what sites that may or may not execute JavaScript (Ok, this add-on can be a bit intrusive...)

Hacking Compatibility Version Information...

If an add-on states it's not compatible with your current version of browser, all hope may not have to be lost. You don't neccessarily have to wait for the developer to upgrade the add-on but you can give it a try by yourself.

The hack is to modify the maxVersion setting in the install.rdf file for the add-on(s) in question. Example:

From To


  • This is a hack and the add-on absolutely may still not work in never browser. Especially if it's a more advanced add-on, involving for instance development, and/or functionality that is closely tied to browser internals. (Yes, it can be hard to know.)
  • It shouldn't be dangerous to at least try and see if it works.
  • But - any tweaks like this could be a security risk. The add-on code and the (newer) browser code has not officially (by developer) been properly tested!


  1. Find directory for the add-on to hack.
  2. Edit install.rdf file
  3. Restart Firefox browser (there are some add-ons that claim reloading add-ons w/o restart (e.g. Addon Developer Helper and Extension Developer) but I've not been able to get any to work reliably)
  4. Try and see if the add-on now actually works. Disclaimer above.


Add-on Directory    
QuickToolbars quick@toolbars.be   4.0b8
Toolbar Buttons {03B08592-E5B4-45ff-A0BE-C1D975458688}    
Addon Developer Helper addondeveloperhelper@mozdev.org 3.6.* 4.0b8


Addon Developer Helper

WARNING: At this time (2010-10-17), you probably don't want to try 0.0.5 (at least with FF4.0). It doesn't seem to work and as doing rather overwhelming functions (like reloading all chrome), it could potentially mess up lots of stuff if anything goes wrong.

Adds a small button in the Status bar at the bottom of browser window:


Extension Developer

WARNING: At this time (2010-10-17), you probably don't want to try (at least with FF4.0). It doesn't seem to work and as doing rather overwhelming functions (like reloading all chrome), it could potentially mess up lots of stuff if anything goes wrong.

Installs a menu:


And adds toolbar buttons (Javascript Shell to RegExp Evaluator in figure below):



FastestFox (formerly SmarterFox) (Add-on)

Added 2009-10-28. An absolute MUST-HAVE! As example, check out my own view of all the slides mentioned below - plus more pages - as one single page.

From http://download.cnet.com/8301-2007_4-10316869-12.html?tag=mncol;txt, accessed 2009-10-28:

August 24, 2009 6:32 PM PDT SmarterFox packs a productivity wallop by Jessica Dolcourt * Font size * Print * E-mail * Share * 5 comments * Yahoo! Buzz

SmarterFox's many browser tricks--screenshots

I've been using the SmarterFox Firefox add-on (Windows | Mac) for awhile now. It's by far one of the most varied productivity add-ons for Firefox that I've seen. Its clever tricks to speed up searching, browsing, downloading, and even copy and paste are good news for just about anyone whose job description contains the word "Web."

I've put together a SmarterFox slideshow to walk you through the substantial features. Without giving away too much, SmarterFox facilitates faster search through multiple channels, including the Firefox Awesome Bar, the context menu, and Wikipedia enhancements. It also helps launch Web sites faster, and has a novel way of dealing with pagination for sites with multipage articles, and for shopping sites displaying pages of results. Check out the gallery to see exactly how these features work.




PDFs, PDF Add-Ons/Plug-ins

Firefox (including 4th major generation, released 2011-03-22) does not natively handled PDFs. I.e. it does not show PDFs inside web browser window but downloads document to local file system for open by other application.



Profiles (New 2011)

Profiles (new Nov 2011)






General resources:










For Developers - JavaScript in Address Bar, Addons

To enable (increasingly limited possibilities, due to strengthening security):

  1. Open about:config (link ain't working in FF 7, maybe a security thing... copy text into address bar and press enter)
  2. Search for, navigate to: noscript.allowURLBarJS
  3. Set value to true (toggle via contextual menu)
  4. Close the window.
  5. That's it. (Change take effect immediately when value's changed, before window is even closed.)
  6. Try: copy the text below into the address bar and press return:
    javascript:alert("hello, world");




Live Bookmarks (Browser Feature)

Info: www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/livebookmarks.html, google it - www.google.com/search?q=live+bookmarks,

One descriptive article is Mozilla Firefox- RSS web feeds and Live Bookmarks - johnbokma.com/firefox/rss-and-live-bookmarks.html (local).


Screen Real Estate



Toolbars are a basic feature of most - if not all (special builds for very specific purposes could be exceptions) - web browsers but can take up precious screen real estate if not properly managed. Especially when you are a power user or developer and uses many addons (that has toolbars).

An extreme example is the below figure:

toolbars extreme

  • Note: this is not how the authors Firefox web browser normally looks. Only made multiple toolbars visible for exemplification.
  • The items within red - QuickToolbars and QuickToolbars Menu - belong to QuickToolbars addon (more below).
Add-On What Notes
QuickToolbars buttons collection (In figure above). Adds two quite convenient toolbar buttons - QuickToolbars and QuickToolbars Menu - that can be added to toolbars when you create/customize such. QuickToolbars is a qucik way of toggling visibility of toolbars and QuickToolbars Menu include quick access to configuration.
Toolbar Buttons buttons collection Adds lots of useful buttons of all sorts -->
* http://codefisher.org/toolbar_button/
* http://codefisher.org/toolbar_button/toolbar_button_maker

Search for more toolbars related addons.

Found but not yet installed and checked-out:




  1. Downloaded
  2. Added extension .tar
  3. Doubleclicked to unpack
  4. Opened install.rdf
    1. Retrieved name of addon - Thinger@blueprintit.co.uk
    2. Changed MaxVersion
    3. Saved and closed file
  5. Renamed directory from #3 to Thinger@blueprintit.co.uk (from 4.1)
  6. Moved directory into Firefox'
  7. Restarted Firefox


Customize Toolbars, Custom Toolbars


Hide/Show Toolbars

Considering other browser than Firefox, check out comgt.com/web/browsers/ and one overview at comgt.com/testcenter/#webbrowsers.

This section uses Nov 08 CSS Frames.