For general web stuff, I exclusively use the Firefox web browser. It’s reliable, much more secure than the most popular browser, and thanks to its add-ons, is a pleasure to use. Just because I was chatting to a couple of friends about it recently, I thought I’d share some recent finds.
There are already lots of sites and blogs out there, with lists of “10 best Firefox add-ons”, but it kind of depends what you’re doing. Since I am a web designer, I have lots of geeky add-ons: essential things like the Web Developer’s Toolbar and Firebug.
Style Sheet Chooser Plus
I used this one recently Dept of Earth Sciences website redesign project. They wanted to be able to allow a group of test users to flick between slightly different versions of a homepage. They were using a single machine, and the Firefox web browser.
So we installed this add-on, provided the alternate stylesheet files in the
<head> of the HTML file, and then it was easy to switch between them.
GridFox allows you to overlay a semi-transparent layer of vertical and/or horizontal columns on your web page, so that you can see if things are lining up withyour chosen grid. I find this particularly useful when I go from my basic design sketch in Photoshop (all lined up on a grid using guides), to reproducing that with CSS and HTML. Indispensable.
Now, I am not going to go into the whys and wherefores of designing ona grid system, because it is not a quick thing to explain, and I am not expert. Mark Boulton is an expert, though, so have a look at his excellent 5 simple steps to designing grid systems. Still as fab as it was 3.5 years ago, when he wrote it!
Show Parent Folder
I was bookmarking a web page that I’d come across, and I wanted to put it in a folder with other, similar bookmarks. I knew I had a relevant folder, but I couldn’t quite remember where it was. So I searched my Bookmarks for similar links. I found them, but it didn’t tell me in which folders they were. Great. Not particularly helpful.
This may be a little bug in Firefox, so might be dealt with in a later release, but for now, this add-on rectifies the situation. Once it is installed, and you have restarted Firefox, click on Bookmarks -> Organise Bookmarks (or Ctrl / Cmd + Shift + B), click on the List button (the one with four horizontal lines on it on Mac / FF 3.x), click on Show Columns, and select “Parent Folder”. This column will now appear in your bookmark description. Easy.