I can't deny it, the last twelve months have seen big changes for web browsers--Microsoft released IE7, Apple released Safari for Windows, and Opera is... well, doing Opera-tic stuff. But, frankly, I don't care. The kids over at Mozilla have earned my support and affection by making their browser extensible. By letting normal folks add more functionality to an already awesome browser, they've locked in my support. Sure, Safari might be a few fractions of a second faster loading pages, but I'm not going to give up the added functionality that Firefox's rich add-on ecology empowers me with.
I love to ask people who are hardcore web browsers what add-ons they've used to extend Firefox's functionality, but it occurs to me that I've never shared the stuff that I use every day. Some are useful, some save me a little time, and some are just plain cool. Enjoy!
For folks who use Gmail, Gmail Manager is a must-have. It lets you log into multiple accounts, notifies you when you receive new messages, and... well, really that's about it. But it does those things very well, and makes Gmail a viable alternative to a desktop mail client.
Greasemonkey deserves more space than I can give it here, because the potential uses for the app are infinite. You see, Greasemonkey lets you integrate your own code into other websites. Want to add a list of keyboard shortcuts to your favorite website's post form? Piece of cake. Want to add popup displays to every image on your site? No problemo! Want to run your own code and add information from a third site? For sure! There are dozens of scripts available that add functionality to sites like Flickr and Gmail as well.
As Gordon has colorfully discussed on the No BS Podcast, we use Outlook for email at Maximum PC. Unfortunately, Outlook's web interface doesn't work particularly well with Firefox, so I've installed IE Tab solely for the purpose of checking work email at home.
Unlike my pal, the Vede , I like Penny-Arcade and think those guys are really funny. But, I don't think that their site navigation and poor search engine are a laughing matter. Especially when I'm looking for a particular comic, whether it's about the original Xbox controller , this punny gem , or even something patently offensive . Luckily, the PennyPacker extension (also available in handy Greasemonkey format ) gives you better search and tagging for every Penny-Arcade strip ever released, so you can hop skip and jump to your favorites.
Tab Catalog replicates one of the IE 7 features that I really dig. It shows thumbnails of all my open tabs. I do miss the old Reveal extension (which isn't compatible with Firefox 2), but Tab Catalog is a decent alternative.
TinyURL is awesome, you put in a Amazon-length product URL, and it comes back with something that will easily fit on one line of an email. TinyURL Creator makes creating TinyURLs even easier. Just right-click a link and select Create TinyURL for this link, then the extension will contact the TinyURL server, request a new short URL, and copy the new URL to your clipboard. It doesn't get easier than that.
That's it! Please post your favorite Firefox Addons in the comments! I'd love to try them out.