Add-ons or extensions are small pieces of software that can add new features or tiny tweaks to your browser. They can add niche search engines, change the look of your browser tool bar, block annoying pop-ups, preview links, organise your browsing history and do much more.
Mozilla Corp, which recently set a world record with Firefox 3, recently held its annual competition that recognises the year's best Firefox add-ons.
This year's contest focused on add-ons that took advantage of its latest open-source browser Firefox 3. Here's listing what Mozilla crowned best Firefox add-ons.
Topper in the Best New Add-on category, Pencil is a free tool for making diagrams and GUI prototyping.
Top features include: Built-in stencils for diagramming and prototyping, multi-page document with background page, on-screen text editing with rich-text supports, PNG rasterising, undo/redo support, installing user-defined stencils, standard drawing operations like aligning, z-ordering, scaling and rotating, cross-platform support and adding external objects.
Once installed, from the Tools menu choose "Pencil Sketching" to launch the Pencil editor. There a user can literally design software, Web pages, or just sketch out diagrams using the menu of prefab shapes and widgets that Pencil provides.
There's also option to drag and drop annotation tools, shapes, lines, text boxes, labels, buttons and more onto the Pencil canvas and save work as a Pencil document in its tabbed editor.
Facing trouble adding bookmarks in Firefox 3? Also, have issues while organising them? Here's help, Tagmarks. Second prize winner in Best New Add-on category, Tagmarks add a set of icons to the location bar for quick and easy bookmarking and tagging.
Firefox 3 comes with the blue star icon at the end of the address bar for quick, one-click bookmarking. Tagmarks extension takes this concept further with another set of one-click icons that bookmark and assign frequently-used tags to the current URL.
Once installed, users can see several new images next to the Bookmark star when they hover the mouse on the star. With Tagmarks, users have a lot of different options of icons to click when adding a site to your bookmarks, instead of just the Bookmark Star. When you click on each icon, it will add the page to the bookmarks and associate that icon with that page, through the use of tags.
Clicking on one icon has the same effect as clicking on the star: it will add the page to the bookmark; but with an added benefit: it also applies a tag to the page and always remembers and shows that icon when the user is on that page.
HandyTag is an extension that provides relevant keywords for associating with bookmarked sites.
HandyTag basically picks relevant tags for users, using several techniques. Once installed, the add-on adds a few extra buttons to the Bookmark dialogue window, and each button uses a specific source to generate a list of tags.
For example, the Perso button lists all the tags that user has used previously, while the Webmaster button shows a list of keywords specified in the particular Web page.
As the name suggests, the Digg button retrieves a list of tags used by others to tag the same bookmark on the Digg bookmarking service. No matter which button the user chooses, the process of adding tags remains the same: tick the preferred tags in the list and press Done
The winner of no. 1 spot in the 'Best updated Add-on' category is Read it Later, an easy bookmarking alternative. As the name suggests, users can keep track of their daily to-read list with Read it Later.
Different from Readeroo (another Firefox extension), which integrates directly with Del.icio.us, Read it Later keeps user's reading list local until they read it and decide whether or not they want to bookmark it. In case a user wants, he has the option to bookmark on any number of popular bookmarking sites, say from Del.icio.us to Digg.
In simple words, Read it Later lets users create a reading list from interesting links. Once installed, they can right-click on any web site or link to save it to their reading list.
HandyTag and Tagmarks can a user speed up the tagging process, but when it comes to locating bookmarks using tags, the TagSifter extension is a better bet.
TagSifter adds a menu and a sidebar that can help a user to quickly find bookmarks by their tags. The Bookmarks TagSifter menu provides a hierarchical menu containing all user's tags, and he can locate the bookmark he is looking for by drilling down the menu.
The TagSifter sidebar is divided into two panes. The upper pane contains a list of all tags. Just click on a tag in the list, and the related bookmarks appear in the lower pane.
The user can also select multiple tags to make his search more precise. TagSifter also includes so-called set operators that allow users to create sophisticated search queries. For example, a user can create a query that finds bookmarks the names of which contain the word say "cellphone" and which are tagged as "Apple."
As the name suggests, Bookmark Previews is an extension that adds album and thumbnail views of bookmarked sites.
Bookmark Previews can be a handy tool for organising and cleaning out bookmarks, since rather than inspecting each link to determine what it's pointing to, a user can just check the thumbnail to determine whether or not he needs it.
Bookmark Previews creates previews each time a bookmarked site is visited, however, since previews will be empty when a user installs it, it can also create previews for all of bookmarks automatically in the background
Mozilla's winner in the 'Best Music Add-on' category is a sure shot respite for music junkies. Fire.fm gives users direct access to the music library on Last.fm, the UK-based Internet radio website.
Users can find people with similar music taste, discover artists, can listen to their friend's favourite tracks and so on.
Also, just by typing a few letters in location bar, users can access their favorite stations.
Similar to its closest competitor, IE8, Firefox too has Webslices feature that lets users access or subscribe to frequently updated portions, or 'slices' or 'chunks' of certain websites.
To put it simply, it allows users to "follow" an area of a Web page through a dedicated feed bookmarked in a new toolbar. On clicking, it shows users the information of their choice in a pop up, without opening the entire page.
Instead of spending time visiting three or four websites to get updated information from a portion of each of those sites, users can simply use this add-on tool to pull that information in a single location.
A site such as eBay, for instance, lends itself to the Webchunks feature. Say, for instance, that a user is participating in or monitoring several auctions on eBay. Typically, he would need to visit eBay multiple times in a day to check the status of these auctions.
However, with Webchunks, he can simply subscribe to a section of the auction page.
Adds iPhone-like information badges to Web pages indicating new unread items, like on Gmail or iGoogle. Badges on Favicons adds information badges to the tab favicons. Favicons or favourite icons are associated with a particular website.
The add-on uses Badges which define the appearance of the badge like size of the text, colour, position and how to get the data from the page it is attached to.
Badges show numeric snippets on a web page, for example, 15 unread mails from Gmail or the stock quotes from Economictimes.com. This helps users view information while they are navigating from one tab to another.
This add-on comes with three sample badgets: Gmail, iGoogle Reader and Zenbe. However, users can also install their choice of badgets for their preferred site.
Tired of deleting your browsing history and cookies everytime? Here's a solution. This Firefox add-on lets users close the current tab and 'forget' about their visit.
It deletes the related cookies and removes any trace of the site from the browser history (can also visit all those X sites without a trace).
Close ‘N Forget adds a toolbar button that "closes and forgets" the current tab. This means it deletes the page from the user's history and its cookies. If configured, Close 'N Forget can remove the whole domain from history.
6 months ago