Menu: Tools / Extensions
Firefox being a lean and mean machine when you install it, it does mean it may not have a few feature that you desire, hence the creation of external modules, called Extensions, that you can download and install to add specific functions to your browser. Installing these extension is very easy, you just click on the install button on the Firefox add-ons | Extensions page and restart your application once it's over.
You can manage multiple extensions with an easy set-up screen (see screen shot). You have to make sure that a particular extensions is compatible with the version of Firefox you currently have installed, or you may encounter problems (it will be indicated). A good place to start finding a new extension is the "Most Downloaded" and the "Top Rated" sections.
Extensions are what makes being part of the Firefox community as a user so special. They are plentiful and I would be surprised, at this stage, if you could think of something specific that hasn't already been done. No other browser offers this kind of versatility. Actually, other browsers will probably never offer a few of those features because they sometimes run counter to commercial interests of some companies, which is not a problem met by open source projects like Firefox. It is a good idea, however, to keep the numbers of extensions installed to a reasonable number or you might hit a few technical incompatibilities among some of them, or a slowing down of your browser.
Recommended list of extensions for Firefox
- ChatZilla | screen shots
If you are old school and spend some time on the Internet Relay Chat (IRC), this would be an easy to use and highly extensible client.
- Adblock | Adblock Filterset.G Updater
Adblock is a powerful extension that lets you block ads according to very flexible rules. You can even use Regular Expressions (a small programming language specialized in text operations), for the geeks among you. This extension has helped put Firefox on the map for many people. The second link on the right is a little extension that will keep your Adblock up to date with a comprehensive set of rules, so you don't even have to create them yourself.
- FlashGot | screen shots
Popular tool to download automatically all kind of resources found in a web page, like external pages, images, etc.
- DownThemAll! | screen shots
Another download manager that picks up all the image/video links on a page and download them automatically. Great for galleries!
- NoScript | screen shots
- VideoDownloader | screen shots
You know how annoying it can be to view a video on a web page and not be able to easily download it on your hard drive? This extension will do it for you.
- Web Developer | User Agent Switcher
Web developers out there will not be able to live without this top notch extension after they install it. It contains many functions to analyze a web page, disable certain browser features like images, CSS, display information about the HTML structure, validate the HTML, etc. You should also install User Agent Switcher, a little companion extension to Web Developer, to spoof the user agent of your browser to look like Explorer, Netscape, etc. which can be needed for some development.
- Google Toolbar
The famous Google Toolbar for Firefox: quick access to google search and other advanced searches, including the "popular suggestions", safe browsing technology, page rank display, highlight search terms, word find buttons (really practical to find that instance of your search keyword in a page rapidly) and more.
This extension will block by default all Flash animation, but if you want to see it, you can just click on it or list a whole site as being safe for viewing animations. Great against those annoying Flash ads.. especially those with sounds!