FITC: The festival formerly known as FlashintheCan Top 5s

I Heart Firefox

Posted Sun, Jan 16, 2005 at 02:34 PM

I don't know how it's possible to love a web browswer so much but I guess Firefox just has that kind of charm. And unlike other things in life that you get bored off because you spend too much time with it, Firefox becomes even more loveable the better you know it.

So today I was reading through the Firefox FAQ (okay, this doesn't really have to do with the browser itself but who cares) and picked up on this great tidbit:

Why do Adobe pdf files load slowly in Windows?

Adobe Reader 6.0 for Windows loads lots of unused plugins on startup. The Inquirer has a great article explaining how you can disable those unneeded plugins and make Adobe Reader load faster. Basically, you need to do the following:

1. Install Adobe Reader 6.0 and notice where it is installed.
2. Navigate to that folder in Explorer, locate the plug_ins subfolder and rename this folder to plug_ins_disabled.
3. Create a new plug_ins folder.
4. Move the files EWH32.api, printme.api and search.api from plug_ins_disabled to plug_ins.

I did this on my computer and my PDFs load with blazin' speed now.


Another great thing about Firefox is its extensibility. And it's not hard either.... truly "Plug-in for Dummies" material.

Immediately upon installation and launching, you'll notice that Firefox has a built-in search engine box in the upper left hand corner. I use this feature exhaustively... In fact, I looked up "extensibility" not two seconds ago to make sure I spelled it right by using the dictionary.com engine.

You can add as many engines as you want by clicking on the little icon with the arrow. In the pull down menu that'll pop up, you'll see the option to "Add Engines..." which will send you to this page or go to the directory of all the search plugins here (there seems to be a huge blank gap on this page so remember to scroll down the page).

Installing a search plugin is as easy as clicking on a link.

Uninstalling, however, requires you to go to the directory that you installed Firefox in (say, C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\searchplugins on a Windows machine) and just deleting the ones you don't want anymore. (Now if only I could figure out Ryerson's library catalouge... I wouldn't mind a search plugin for that.)

The geekdom doesn't stop there.

There are also plugin extensions (Tools > Extensions). Click on the "Get More Extensions" link and you'll end up on the extensions page. Once again, installing a plugin is as easy as clicking on a link and choosing "Install Now".

There's tons of little ones I like such as a color picker, image zoomer, del.icio.us, and search highlighter but any web developer would love the features the (what else?) web developer extension offers.

My work also switched to webDAV (which is kind of like the FTP protocol and it's used as a way to work on projects/files without stepping on each other toes and without the complexities of CVS). After a search on the web, my co-worker concluded that there were no webDAV clients for Windows that weren't "free to try, $29.95 (or more) to buy". "I bet there's probably a Firefox extension for that," I thought and (hurrah!) I found a webDAV extension for Mozilla.

Technically, you're suppose to install it for Mozilla and run it from the command line using
mozilla -chrome chrome://webdavclient/content/webdavclient.xul
but I tried installing it out in Firefox (seemed to work?) and then ran it with
firefox -chrome chrome://webdavclient/content/webdavclient.xul
(This seems to work too so I'll cross my fingers).

One last thing! Keep your friends close, your enemies closer, and Firefox the closest (in you pocket!). Err... or something like that.

There is a great little portable version of Firefox so you'll never have to use Internet Explorer again. Download it, unzip it to your USB Key, launch PortableFirefox.exe and you're good to go. (The first time you launch it, it might take a while but after that, it's quick.)

I find this perfect for when I have class in the computer lab. And because you can still install extensions with the portable version, I've got FireFTP installed on mine which is a great little FTP client that runs in the browser so I don't have to use the horrid WSFTP that the school has installed in the computer lab.

Okay that's it! Thanks for reading if you actually made it this far.

*subliminalmessage*Jointhefirefoxcult*endsubliminalmessage*

Get Firefox!

FITC: The festival formerly known as FlashintheCan Top 5s
comments comments

I also love Firefox, using it both at work and home. My two extensions of choice are:

Mouse Gestures:
http://optimoz.mozdev.org/gestures/index.html
which allows you to do all browser actions with gestures of the mouse.

and Tabbrowser Preferences:
http://www.pryan.org/mozilla/site/TheOneKEA/tabprefs/
which allows you to setup the tabbed browsing how it should have been originally... including stuff like searches from the search box go automatically into a new tab rather than overwriting your current tab.


"Now if only I could figure out Ryerson's library catalouge... I wouldn't mind a search plugin for that."

If you look at the downloaded search extensions like the google one or whatever, they are just basic text files so you can create your own little search deelies for anything you want!! :)

Posted by: Andrew Pep
January 23, 2005 07:54 AM

Hey Andrew! Good to hear from you.

Search extensions seem relatively simple but I can't figure out how the Ryerson library is doing its searches.

For example, if I'm searching by title from this page there should be some sort of GET in the method="get" in the form tag but I can't see it anywhere in the source file.

And it would seem that I would need to make a new extension for different types of searches (title, author, keyword, etc.)... now that would be a pain the ass.

Posted by: pearl
January 23, 2005 07:05 PM

Windows 2000/XP have WebDAV built-in; it's just not obvious that it's there. However, it's quite easy to set up a WebDAV connection. Just go to My Network Places and click to add a new place. Enter the URL of your WebDAV folder, and then your user/pass if needed. That's it!

Posted by: nathan
May 13, 2005 01:24 PM