The inevitable switch to Firefox
I’ve known for years that I will eventually switch to Firefox, the richness of the extensibility appeals too much to a tinkering power user like myself, but it’s taken me literally years to get comfortable enough with it to drop Maxthon as my day to day browser.
To date Maxthon has been just too slick and efficient, especially when combined with Foxit for PDF files (and I have a lot of those!!)
Anyway – last night by the pool I spent a good couple of hours learning FF3 and Acrobat and tweaking and extending it and I’m reasonably happy. These are the addons that got me there:
- http://www.roboform.com/ I have hundreds of passwords and form definitions in RoboForm and it works with IE, maxthon and FF and replicates between my different PCs very easily using SugarSync. It’s essential!!
- http://scholten.arno.googlepages.com/ Adds “bookmark this page” to the bookmark menu, this is a standard feature in Maxthon, browse to the folder you want to save the bookmark in and click.
- http://delicious.com/ I don’t use delicious (too lazy) , but this addin promises to synch up with FF.
- http://www.downloadhelper.net/ I do a lot of video watching offline, plus I can’t stand the stop start involved in buffering so an easy way to download video is key
- http://www.evernote.com/ I’m loving evernote, Maxthon had a plugin to allow easy capture of web pages or regions of pages, so does FF
- http://www.cs.utexas.edu/~jchien/code/ftu.html In maxthon I could just highlight URL’s in web pages and open then by drag and drop, this is the closest FF3 compatible addon I could find, saves a lot of cut and paste, and allows you to control whether the link opens in new window, new tab or existing tab.
- http://flashblock.mozdev.org/ When I transferred my reading list of 30 tabs from maxthon to FF3 I found that FF was using 40% cpu, whereas Maxthon was using less than 10%. Flash was to blame, this addon blocks all Flash from executing until you click on it – wonderful!
- http://www.foxmarks.com/ – Synchronises bookmarks and tags between multiple machines – I like the idea of tags!!
- http://foxyproxy.mozdev.org/ – One click proxy control. I have a local proxy and work proxies and this makes switching trivial
- http://sessionmanager.mozdev.org/ – Not sold on this one, Maxthon’s groups were so easy and allowed tabs to be added to existing groups and it was easy to see the content of a group and open just one page. Session manager seems to do some of this, but so far found no way to appends a set of tabs to an existing session, or to look inside a session to see its contents. Also I don’t like the way that a session includes all my windows by default. I tend to have multiple task specific windows open, and I want each to be its own session.
- https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/380 Swifttabs, allows me to define keys to move between tabs, delete them etc. I have left and right arrows for moving previous and next tabs and Delete for deleting a tab. Disables the key assignments when you are in a form field.
- http://tmp.garyr.net/ Tabmixplus, lots of little fixes to makes things more Maxthon like, basically I like things to open in new tabs, in the background most of the time rather than replacing my current tab. This allows me to set all of these options.
- http://www.oxymoronical.com/web/firefox/TabSidebar Shows this cute little sidebar (I actually have it at the bottom of the screen) with live images of the all of the tabs. It only displays 6 tabs at a time, but its still useful for keeping track of several windows that are all updating.
- http://n31m4d.wordpress.com/2008/08/16/tab-url-copier-for-firefox-3/ Right click on a tab and this useful addon copies a list of all the currently open tabs into the clipboard, I used it to generate this list 🙂
- http://www.abstractpath.com/powermenu/ The only other thing I needed to get off maxthon was a way to keep FF in the background. For example when I’m scanning feeds in FeedDemon I click on links that I want to read and in Maxthon they open up while maxthon is minimised, in FF3 each time I click FF open’s up in front of FeedDemon and I need to Alt Tab FeedDemon back in front. But by using PowerMenu I’m able to right click on the FeedDemon task bar entry and make it Always On Top, that does the trick.
Outstanding wish list
- A way to force certain URL’s to open in IE but within the Firefox chome, just like Maxthon does (Maxthon is essentially a shell around IE)
- A different session manager, that operates at the window level, allows me to see and manipulate the content of saved sessions, and add tabs to saved sessions.