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Julien Couvreur's programming blog and more

Firefox plugins


It's amazing how many plugins extensions are available for Firefox.
But I'm not sure it's such a great thing for less technical users. It seems some behaviors (especially with the tabs) should be improved by default, rather than requiring a setting change or a plugin.
Anyways, here are the ones I use and find most useful:

  • FlashBlock replaces Flash content by a placeholder that you can unblock to see the content.
  • Focus Last Selected Tab brings focus to the last selected tab when closing the active tab.
  • SessionSaver remembers loaded tabs and their history items when Firefox is closed, then restores them when next started.
  • Tabbrowser preferences. This extension adds GUI options to change some of the hidden tab browser preferences available in Firefox. It also enables "single window mode" by opening links in a new tab instead of a new window.
  • Live HTTP headers. Sniffs the headers of the HTTP requests and response, as they are made.
  • PageRank Status. Displays the Google PageRank for the current page, in the status bar.
  • AdBlock. It allows you to configure patterns for resources you never want to download as part of a page. For example, "" or "pagead*" ;-)
  • Download Statusbar shows the status on download inside the status bar instead of the usual download manager window.

There are also a bunch of settings that can be tuned via "about:config". And don't forget the DOM Inspector that comes with Firefox, that allows to inspect pages, javascript and figure out CSS rules.

IE is also getting some similar add-ons (that I haven't tried), like a DOM explorer, an inplace CSS editor or request viewers (iehttpheaders or HttpWatch). You can even get mouse gestures support.

Update: I don't like having the download manager or the live HTTP headers using separate windows. Instead I open them in tabs using their chrome urls: chrome://mozapps/content/downloads/downloads.xul and chrome://livehttpheaders/content/LiveHTTPHeaders.xul
Bookmark them for more convenience.
You can find these XUL urls by using the DOM inspector and using the "inspect a window" feature.

Update: Added AdBlock to the list of most useful extensions. Also, with Firefox 0.9 and up extensions are managed much better and there is a new site to get them, Mozilla Update - Extensions. Not all extensions were migrated and the site doesn't support searching though.
The urls in the above list still work, but I'll update them as time goes.

Update (2005/06/08): Greasemonkey has become one of the most fundamental Firefox extensions for me. Highly recommended.

Update (2005/12/28): Here's one more extension I'd recommend for Windows users: IETab. It allows you to open pages in IE as regular tabs in Firefox. You can even configure some pages to always use IE as the rendering engine instead of Gecko, for sites such as Windows Update.


Plugins and extensions are two different things. You are talking about extensions.

Posted by: tuff_guy (June 18, 2004 05:45 PM) ______________________________________

"Extensions are small programs (or plug-ins) that add new functionality to Firefox" (from the Firefox help page at ).

If there is a difference between an extension and a plugin, can you clarify it?

Posted by: Dumky (June 21, 2004 11:25 AM) ______________________________________

Plugins are the same between Internet Explorer, Netscape, etc. They are things like Java, Flash or Quicktime. They are a seperate program which
is launched to play some file.

Extensions are small bits of code which 'plug into' Firefox (no equivalent in Internet Explorer or Netscape). This enhances the base functionality of the browser.

The description at the texturizer website is confusing. Here is the plug-in page for mozilla / firefox.

Posted by: tuff_guy (June 22, 2004 03:59 PM) ______________________________________

I have an unuseual question. I use a chat interface call, build with a program called geoBuilder. When I use Netscape to browse the site everything functions properly without fail, but it runs very slowly on my computer. So I decided to try Mozilla Firefox in the hopes that it would be faster. However I dicovered that the Chat site was unresponcive and did not load properly just as it was when I tried to use IE. The website suggest using any version of Netscape or IE 4.0 or lower. Basicly the question is what does Netscape have that Firefox dosen't and how can I get it, so I can use this site? Thankyou for your time and any responces are much appreciated.


Posted by: Nathan (July 17, 2004 03:57 PM) ______________________________________

In IE I was able to change the icons to my links and bookmarks. I was wondering if there is a plugin that will allow me to do it in firefox. Thanks

Posted by: Jim (September 1, 2004 07:06 PM) ______________________________________

I mainly use Avant Browser but I would love to be turned over to Firefox. The main reason I like Avant is that I have a bunch of pages open in tabs, I reboot and when I open my browser, all the pages I had open before pop right up - no worries. Is there a similar extension for Mozilla?

Posted by: Doom (October 11, 2004 01:17 PM) ______________________________________

Hi Doom,
There was an extension called SessionSaver to do just that. But actually, it's not needed since Firefox 0.9 if I remember correctly.
Firefox now "remembers" the tabs that were opened.

Posted by: Julien (October 13, 2004 11:42 AM) ______________________________________

Which extension do I download to do the Don't Bug Me? I watched this one on G4TechTv, but, Sarah does not tell the name of the extension to do this with. Can anyone help with this?

Posted by: anita (October 14, 2004 01:45 PM) ______________________________________

Hi Anita,
The site is and you'll see links to the extensions for Firefox and IE, as well as bookmarklets, there.

Posted by: Julien (October 14, 2004 02:00 PM) ______________________________________

I developed a plugin ( a C++ DLL) for firefox. However I noticed that when I launched the first instance of firefox the plugin did its thing just fine. But when I launch the second & subsequent instances of firefox the plugin is ignored. Should not a win32 dll be shared among all instances ? Why does firefox not allow me to do this ?

Can anyone tell me ?


Posted by: Adrian (June 29, 2005 02:08 PM) ______________________________________

I don't have much information to help you with there. You might want to check the Mozillazine forums or firefox dev mailinglist.
Have you tried instrumenting your plugin, maybe to print a line into a file as soon as it is entered, to confirm whether Firefox tries to load it at all?

Posted by: Julien (June 29, 2005 06:32 PM) ______________________________________

The whole point of Firefox is to keep it lightweight and avoid feature creep. Feature creep is the Mozilla paradigm. Extensions and other goobledegook should remain optional.

Posted by: nari (August 16, 2005 11:20 PM) ______________________________________

I found this neat little extension, to preview Tabs.

Posted by: Mojo (December 12, 2005 04:31 AM) ______________________________________

Why is Microsoft Releasing the same technology and feature in IE-7 that Firefox had 3 years ago!!!!

Posted by: Scuzzlebutt (February 26, 2006 04:46 PM) ______________________________________

Without going into details, there are a number of features in IE7 that are rather novel. The anti-phishing filter and the security design (IE runs with super low privileges for most operations) are the one that sticks out the most in my mind.
You can get more information at:

Posted by: Julien Couvreur (March 2, 2006 11:09 AM)
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