I flit back and forth between Safari, Chrome, and Firefox but always end up using the latter as my ‘main’ browser for one simple reason – the plugins. While Chrome may be quicker and Safari launches faster and has better text rendering, Firefox can’t be touched for one simple reason – the vast array of community-contributed plugins that are currently available.
I did document my favourites back in 2007, but here’s an updated list now that we’re living in the future:
- AppTabs. This is handy mainly for Fever, and while previously I used a Fluid-generated SSB for this it makes more sense (and saves on memory I guess) to have it right there in Firefox.
- AdBlock. Despite the fuss surrounding its use, I find it a no-brainer of a plugin.
- Delicious Bookmarks. I’ve been using Delicious for a long time now, and I’ve got bookmarks neatly arranged by tags so that I can have a specific ‘Daily’ section, ‘Social’, and so on. It’s extremely convenient having this arrangement right there in your browser, and the service plays nicely with Quicksilver too (via the Social Bookmarking plugin).
- Download Statusbar. The default download dialogue in all browsers seems to suck, but this plugin for Firefox gets it right. It’s unobtrusive and offers at-a-glance progress for whatever you happen to have downloading at the time.
- Fission. Purely cosmetic, it changes the progress indicator so that it’s in the Address Bar a la Safari.
- HttpFox. I’ve been using this instead of the ‘Live HTTP Headers’ plugin which has been out of date for a while now. It comes into its own when diagnosing problems with a particular website. Provides real-time output of the entire protocol exchange so that you can see exactly what your browser is doing and each server’s response to every request.
- Omnibar. Integrates the search and location bar, kind of makes the overall appearance a bit tidier.
- Web Developer. The swiss army knife of plugins, this is handy for anything from CSS teardowns to analysing page load times.
- GrApple. Ok, so this isn’t strictly a plugin per se, it’s a theme for Mac OS X only that makes Firefox actually look like an Apple application.
And here’s the end result: