Firefox on steroids: my 5 browser extensions for power surfing

I love Firefox. I love everything about Open Source, generally speaking, but I especially love Firefox. It’s fast, stable, standard compliant and cross-platform. I can export/import my old bookmarks from Linux into my new MacBook Pro without any hassle. I know that all the familiar websites I used to surf will look the same regardless of the underlying operating system. And I know I won’t have to restart that browser several times a day.

But what you do when the browser is not enough for your day to day job? You load it with some extensions, of course. Which is another beautiful thing about Firefox: its modularity allows third party developers to build cross-platform extensions that will make your life easier.

Here’s a list of my top 5 Firefox extensions that I constantly use. I have a lot of other, more contextual extensions that I use from time to time, but these are the ones that lasted in all my work environments. I know that I will use them in any Firefox setup I will make in the future.

1. Stumbleupon toolbar. If you haven’t heard yet about Stumbleupon, I bet you’ve just discovered the Internet. Because everybody knows about Stumbleupon. I constantly “stumble” new sites that I like, and, after a certain activity amount, I noticed that my blog posts are started to be stumbled too by other users, which means I started to receive a very focused and valuable traffic through this service. From the extension page here’s a little description:

StumbleUpon lets you “channelsurf” the best-reviewed sites on the web. It is a collaborative surfing tool for browsing, reviewing and sharing great sites with like-minded people. This helps you find interesting webpages you wouldn’t think to search for.

2. bookmarking tool. Keeping bookmarks on your hard-disk is so web 1.0. All the social stuff is happening outside, in the real world. Like, the leading bookmarking website (as far as I know). I use this extension several times a day, almost in the same way I use the Stumbleupon toolbar: after I let the world knowing that I like a website, I put a little bookmark to myself to remind me of that. Here’s an excerpt from the extension home-page:

  • Search and browse your bookmarks
  • Access your bookmarks from any computer at any time
  • Keep your bookmarks organized with tags
  • Share your bookmarks with friends or anyone on the Web
  • Import your existing Firefox bookmarks

3. Google Toolbar. A classic. I guess no serious web power user can’t live today without knowing about the Google Page Rank. And the Google Toolbar is the most exact instrument for showing this rank. Of course there are other functionalities on the toolbar other than that, like:

  • Bookmark frequently visited pages and access them from anywhere
  • Search smarter with instant suggestions as you type in the search box
  • Share web pages with friends

And what’s even better, is that Google is showing a great support for Firefox users, making a version of
[aff] which bundles all together. And the latest version will also let you extend it by adding your custom buttons, a very web 2.0 and social feature :-). After playing a little with this tool, I’ve put together a tutorial for creating your own google toolbar button, if you are interested. And you should be ;-).

4. Seo Quake. A very serious tool for further investigate and optimize what Google Toolbar offers. Basically, this will show all the important ranking metrics available for a specific page. It can also be further integrated with your search engine of choice, and, once mastered, will become indispensable. From the extension home-page:

Beginner web masters will find SeoQuake useful for estimating effectiveness and competitive ability of their SEO efforts. In the hands of professional SeoQuake will become a powerful and indispensable tool for analyzing optimization and promotion level of internet web-projects

5. Firebug. This is an incredible tool. I work a lot with web pages, either as a user and developer. And as a developer, I found Firebug to be an enormous help: I can move my mouse pointer over each element on the page and see in a window the exact CSS value of that element. Of course, this is just a tiny little thing that you can do with Firebug, because this extension can make anything you want, except coffee. Here’s the (very modest) description on the extension home-page:

Firebug integrates with Firefox to put a wealth of development tools at your fingertips while you browse. You can edit, debug, and monitor CSS, HTML, and JavaScript live in any web page.

That’s all for my 5 extensions for power surfing. If you haven’t tried them yet, I strongly encourage you to do it, they will make your life better, as a blogger, as a web developer, or just as a normal power surfer.

4 thoughts on “Firefox on steroids: my 5 browser extensions for power surfing”

  1. Greetings! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering
    if you knew where I could get a captcha plugin for my comment form?
    I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having difficulty
    finding one? Thanks a lot!

  2. I love Firefox myself but I’ve had problems with SEO quake running very slowly and causing annoyance to me; so much that I have actually disabled it. Do you experience any delays with it and lack of fluid performance?

  3. Great list! I love Firefox and I’ve been using StumbleUpon for awhile. I haven’t used the other plugins you mentioned, but will definitely take a look. 🙂


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