Thursday, December 16, 2004

Why I like Firefox

Cameron Reilly mentioned that he's happy using Maxthon. I'm absolutely loving Firefox lately - it's one of the few applications that I truly enjoy using. But it got me thinking...why do I like it?

Apart the obvious security benefits, here's some of the features I have grown to love:
  • Tabs, and having them behave exactly as I want (implemented with the following mixture of extensions: MiniT, Tabbrowser Preferences, SessionSaver, UndoCloseTab and DuplicateTab).

  • Find-as-you-type. Such a simple, useful feature!

  • Pop-up blocker.

  • Searchable history and bookmarks.

  • A great search toolbar (with many - thousands? - of different search engines).

  • Keyword search. Allows you to easily define (no url entry required!) keywords that you can type into the url bar - eg typing "imdb Terminator" brings up a search from IMDB for Terminator.

  • AdBlock. Fantastic extension. I hate being distracted with ads and this allows me to completely block them. Incidently, I don't feel too morally guilty because I've never clicked on an ad (except Google's, which I find useful and do NOT block).

  • Flashblock. To further block flickering guff you need this extension. Replaces Macromedia flash content with a "play" button that you have to click before it invokes the flash. Glorious. Makes you realise how many sites use flash, and how many annoying, flickering graphical displays you have somehow managed to get used to.

  • Bookmarks Synchronizer. I have two PC's (home and work) that I regularly use and this extension allows me to have the same bookmarks on both of them, transparently storing them at an ftp location.

  • BugMeNot. An extension that streamlines using the website BugMeNot to get me in to any site that requires a login. Especially useful for reading news sites (*cough* theAge *cough*). Slight guilt trip when using it. But I get over it pretty quick.

  • Web Developer extension. Lots of features to help develop web pages. Change the CSS, discard images, find broken links, validate any page by clicking - and so many more.

  • Bloglines Toolkit. Places the bloglines logo in the status bar - there's a little red indicator when I have feeds to read in bloglines, clicking on the logo takes me to my feeds. Simple, elegant.
Almost all of those features I use every day, they're not just gimmicky cool toys.

As you can see most of the killer features for me are implemented as extensions (and there's hundreds of them available!). Yeah, it's definitely the ability to so dramatically customise Firefox that I love the most. Combining the best-of-class built-in features of Firefox with really cool, useful extensions really makes it a pleasure to use. I won't use IE, or Maxthon, again. Unless Microsoft really picks up their game.

Anyways Cam, stick with Maxthon if you's a decent app. But not good enough for me because Firefox is wicked-cool!

PS if anyone wants links to any of those extensions (I'm being lazy tonight) drop me a message.
PPS If you aren't already subscribed, Cam's blog and the G'day World podcast that he does with Mick Stanic are well worth a visit...


cameronreilly said...

maaaaate, ok ok ok. I've uninstalled Maxthon from my laptop and am now using FF exclusively! I'll give it another go. :-)

Matt said...

Great! :)

If you have any problems let me know and I'll try and steer you through them.

Would you like a zip file of all the extensions I use and post them to you somehow? It'll save you searching all over the place...the zip is about 430K.

cameronreilly said...

yep send that zip file straight through mate! One annoying problem I am having at the moment, is that ActiveWords and some links automatically open IE instead of FF, even though I've told Windows to use FF as my standard browser. Any idea how to stop that?