I know nobody is actually reading this blog, but still, I want to post something else than my usual political and/or video game rants. And, having just modified my Firefox installations on both my PC (upgrade to the 3.5 series, installation of Tab Mix Plus to compensate) and my Laptop, an Asus Eee PC 1000HE if you ask (update to the 3.5 series, minimizing interface to fit maximum amount of content on the little WSVGA screen, proper installation), what better time is there to talk about my preferred Firefox installations?First, the essentials. Adblock, Greasemonkey, some kind of Youtube video downloader. I currently use Youtubemp (which I cannot find on Mozilla.org) and Better Youtube.
Another Add-on I have only recently come to appreciate is Tab Mix Plus. I have never seen a need for major changes in the Tab system in Firefox 3.0 and before, but after delaying my update to 3.5 for so long since I absolutely hated the new system, I had to give this a try. It fixed all my issues with 3.5, and I do like the additional functionality and customizability it provides. Nice job!
As a frequent user of tabbed browsing, I have found multi-link openers like Snap Links (hard to find an FF3.5 version) or Multi Links to be instrumental to my browsing habits. You can open entire lists of links with one drag, and that is pretty handy. For similar reasons, you absolutely need DownThemAll for file and image downloads. And speaking of downloads, Download Statusbar is nice for the times you use the built-in download manager, because a seperate window being opened is just so annoying.
Finally, we have OpenDownload or the newer, FF3.5-compatible and less-annoyingly-described RunDownload for running .exe files downloaded, because I do not always want to save them permanently and the “save->open directory->run->delete” task is way more tedious than the classic “run->clear temp” we know from IE. With less-annoyingly-described, I mean of course the download option not being “Open with default OS application”, but the shorter “Run”.
On my Eee, I am running another set of Add-Ons, because with a resolution of 1024×600, which is the lowest standard width still supported in the modern web and a sub-standard height, one needs to save as much space as possible. Start by using the Classic Compact theme, which already makes the UI items quite small. For various purposes, both aesthetic and practical, add the Classic Compact Options extension to customize several aspects of this theme:
Personally, I replaced the classic FF2 buttons with the more modern FF3 look (same for the arrows), used angled instead of rounded corners, kept the gradients, removed the toolbar divider and window borders and switched the scrollbar back to OS native. In the menus and tabs section, I decided to merge the menus into one button, which becomes important in the next step, and all the other stuff is taken care of by Tab Mix Plus, anyway.
Another important step was to hide the toolbars I am not using. The status bar got an Auto-hide Status Bar extension, with the trigger zone spanning the entire 16 pixels of status bar height. While this has the side effect of making the down button on the scroll bar unclickable, I usually drag the block or use the scroll wheel function on my TouchPad anyway, and making it larger than normal is necessary to prevent conflicts with the auto-hiding taskbar, which you should configure so to save more screen space. You could probably find a compromise of button and statusbar availability if you want to.. The option to auto-appear while loading sites was removed as the loading bar was moved to the tab bar with Tab Mix Plus.
Speaking of the tab bar, that was made to auto-hide using an extension aptly named Hide Tab Bar (or Hide Tabbar in the FF3 update), for which I enabled auto-hide with a greatly elongated delay of 5000ms. I would have preferred something triggerable by tool bar button, but the closest thing to that was a pinning button on an unstable update for Hide Tab Bar, which never made it past FF2.
What I had wished for the tab bar was however possible for the bookmark toolbar using Toolbar Buttons extension. Finally, move the entire navigation bar into the menu bar, add Hide Caption Titlebar Plus set to Smart All (which triggers on maximization) to remove the Windows frame and pull the window manager buttons into the menubar as well and you are finished with an ultra-slim Firefox. I might attach a screenshot from my Eee later.
I have now uploaded two images, one with the auto-hiding bars shown and one with them retracted (I left the bookmark toolbar out, it does not auto-hide), which show how compact my Firefox has become. Chrome is bulky against that thing.