The Gippy Pages


Fire Up Firefox

Jul 21, 2005 | Computers | By Shawn Parker

Though I prefer to use Apple’s Safari for everyday browsing I keep Firefox on hand because it represents a major player in the browser market that I need to test against and because it has a wealth of extensions that make web development easier.

Of the many extensions for Firefox I have found a small set of extensions that really help me on a daily basis: Fangs Screen Reader Emulator, Javascript Debugger, TextMarker, View Rendered Source, Web Developer. One that was pointed out to me just today is fireFTP. And, of course, we all need to get our RSS fix so when I’m in Firefox I use Sage to get that fix.

Making development easier

All of these extensions have made my life easier at one time or another and they’ve made themselves indispensable. And in the case of the Javascript Debugger that has happened rather quickly. I’ve only recently taken on Javascript like I should and this has quickly turned into a great little tool for finding out where I screwed up.

Screen Readers is something that we all should be concerned with, if even just as a side consideration, so that’s where Fangs Screen Reader Emulator comes in. I get a representation of how a screen reader sees my site.

I’ve often found myself at work having to take information from our vendor’s sites to get the information that I need to post to our site. TextMarker has made this process easier as I can now skim the page, highlight just what I want to take and then copy the snippets. This is nice since it is much easier to read the web page and highlight than it is to read in a text editor and filter out what I don’t want.

There are several tools out there for viewing a web pages source code but so far nothing has come close, at least in my opinion, to the friendliness of the View Rendered Source extension. It is just the right mix of rendering objects and readable source code and it makes deciphering the page a lot easier. Seeing the hierarchy of a page like this makes developing style sheets a little easier since you can see containing elements and how they sit on the page.

Now, the grand mack daddy of the Firefox web developing extensions – the aptly named Web Developer. This has just about anything you can think of that you’d need in developing a web page. There are tools for forms, CSS, images, validation, screen sizing and much much more. For someone who builds web pages this is an absolute must have.

Hot off the press

One extension that was just pointed out to me today is fireFTP. FireFTP is an FTP extension that opens a full FTP client in a new tab or window. I don’t see this as replacing a full on FTP client but it would sure work for one offs where launching an FTP client would be overkill. This’ll be one to hang on to and put through its paces – maybe it is good enough to become a default FTP client.

Its not all about work

So those are the extensions that I like to use for work, but there’s one that I keep for me. Before Safari’s RSS capabilities hit the screen I found Sage to fill my needs, and even now with Safari RSS on the scene I still find myself going back to Sage. I don’t like using standalone RSS readers since I hate the idea of flipping back and forth between programs. Sage filled my needs nicely by having a site and story list in the sidebar and showing the feed content in the content area. It is, in my opinion, still the best implementation of a browser based RSS reader that I’ve found.

What’s in your wall… er… Firefox

So now I just have to ask what other essential extensions some of you have found. I’m curious…

And if you use Firefox but haven’t checked out the power of extensions then you should head over to Mozilla Upate and browse through the wealth of extensions, plugins and themes.

Tagged as: addons, debugger, development, extension, firefox, fireftp, ftp, mozilla, plugin, rss, sage, toolbar, web developer