Over the past year I’ve flip-flopped through all the major web browsers (IE excluded). I used Firefox exclusively for years, had several month long affairs with Opera and finally settled using Google Chrome (or SRWare Iron) since its release. Over the past couple months however I have gone back to Firefox. The usability that can be gained through the use of extensions makes all other stock browser features moot. The extensions on this list are now on my required plugins list but you wont find them on your standard ‘Essential Firefox Add-ons List‘.
In order for me to ditch Chrome (and I did try a few times), I had to have the single bar for search and urls. It is such a basic concept. When I need to fix something on my wife’s computer and need to use the web, everytime I type a search into the url bar and I get the annoying OpenDNS error message explaining that the website I am trying to visit is down. Ugh.
Omnibar is the single bar solution for Firefox. It is very convenient. Here is a screenshot incase you have not used Google Chrome or cant picture what I am talking about. Notice the small search bar in the top right is gone? Use the one bar for everything!
So you visit many websites in a day, how much time does it take clicking through pages of forum topics or of blog posts of a recently found site as you scan for relevant content before you add the author to RSS or Twitter? Autopager takes care of the pages for you. This extension is fantastic as it loads and appends the next page for you to the bottom of your current page. All you as the user must do (if the site your visiting has an AutoPager setup and tons of them do) is scroll down. When AutoPager recognizes that you are 80% to the bottom of a page it will load the next page in the background and append the contents within the current page you are at.
3. Mr Uptime
This has become my most recent favourite. Familiar situation: Visiting a web page that you know exists with the url you have but the website is not loading? How do you remember to come back? Keep the tab open and manually refresh? Not anymore. When a website is down, Mr Pingdom displays a small bar where you can add a ‘Watch’ with a single click. The extension will continuously check in the background for you and alert you, opening a new tab with the now working web site.
The Mr Uptime website has screenshots and a better description of the other features.