Web Browser Wednesday

Last week we covered 10 Firefox extensions that would keep your information private and make your browsing experience as safe as possible. Going beyond the security we need to also think about what cool (and sometimes productive) extensions we can install that will make Firefox even better. Let’s target tab browsing this time…

–Tab Mix Plus (Download Page/Homepage)–
Tab Mix Plus Firefox ExtensionIf you use Firefox, I’m sure you have heard of Tab Mix Plus. When I setup computers for people this is always one extension that I install for them just so that they can harness the real power of Firefox. I mean really, those buttons that you see all over the place that say “Download Firefox with Google Toolbar” should really read “Download Firefox with Google Toolbar and Tab Mix Plus.” Nah, scratch that, it should just be included with Firefox.

I think that this extension actually has more options within itself than the actual Firefox preferences has. You’ll find everything to tweak the session restore functionality all the way to customizing the context menu of the tabs.

If you decided to venture off and test out Firefox 2 Beta 1 then you should use the developer version of Tab Mix Plus to ensure proper compatibility. You can also check out my Firefox 2 Beta 1 tweaking guide for a how-to on customizing the built-in features.

Getting overwhelmed and don’t know what all of the options do? Go ahead and open this PDF which explains every option in the extension.


–Firefox Showcase (Download Page/Homepage)–
Firefox Showcase Firefox ExtensionThis extension pretty much had its concept taken from the upcoming Internet Explorer 7…except this takes it even further. The interface looks so simple that you would think it lacks in features but that is very deceiving.

For starters you can Ctrl or Shift click on any of the thumbnails to select multiple “tabs.” Then you can perform tasks such as Close Selected, Close Other Tabs, Duplicate in New Window, and Merge In New Window.

It also has its own Find feature that is activated the same way that it is normally used: Ctrl+F. The difference is that the Firefox Showcase Find feature will search all of your thumbnails for the text including the URL and title of the sites.


–IE Tab (Download Page/Homepage)–
IE Tab Firefox ExtensionIE Tab brings the Website compatibility of Internet Explorer into Firefox. At the press of a button you can switch from a page being rendered by Firefox to it being rendered by Internet Explorer.

You can also permanently set a site to open using IE Tab which makes it extremely easy to do your Windows Updates. The newest version that is available now supports the use of your Internet Explorer passwords which has been a requested feature for a long time.


–Tab Sidebar (Download Page/Homepage)–
Tab Sidebar Firefox ExtensionOkay, the first time I saw Tab Sidebar I just had to try it. If you have looked at the screenshot closely, you can already see how cool this is. This is a replacement to your tab bar and it will actually hide the tab bar when you make the sidebar visible.

Yes, those are fully functional navigation buttons on the bottom of each thumbnail. If you choose to you can even drag the “tabs” around to reorder them.

You don’t have to worry about those thumbnails not refreshing either. They will automatically update themselves each time you visit a new page. Heck, they will even update when you refresh the page!


–Page Title Eraser (Download Page/Homepage)–
Page Title Eraser Firefox ExtensionThis extension is for when you’re at work with people looking over your should you don’t want to have them see what tabs you have open. Page Title Eraser cures that problem by giving you the option to hide the title and icon on any tab. If you have multiple sites open there is an option available that will let you hide all the titles on all of your open tabs.


–Tab Preview (Download Page)–
Tab Preview Firefox ExtensionThe concept of having a preview of a tab has become one of Opera 9’s nicest features. This extension for Firefox will give you a little more control over the appearance versus Opera.

You get to choose the size of the preview box that is displayed. Maybe you want it to be 50% as wide as the browser’s window is or, if you are like me, you just want it to be as wide as your tabs are. The choice is yours.


–Colorful Tabs (Download Page/Homepage)–
Colorful Tabs Firefox ExtensionColorful Tabs is nice because it makes finding certain tabs a little easier. When I have a bunch of tabs open it will sometimes start to look like one large tab with a horrid number of icons. I can find the site I am looking for 10 times quicker if I use this extension in conjunction with the Tab Preview one that I just mentioned.


–Ctrl Tab Preview (Download Page/Homepage)–
Ctrl Tab Preview Firefox ExtensionAre you an Alt-Tab addict? This is the Alt-Tab option except for Firefox. Yep, you can shuffle through all your open tabs and see small previews by simply using the Ctrl-Tab keyboard combination.

Without this extension Ctrl-Tab will go through all of your tabs showing you the most recently open ones first. I have written an article on these type of extensions before if you want to see other alternatives.


–PageStyle2Tab (Download Page/Homepage)–
PageStyle2Tab Firefox ExtensionThis extension and Colorful Tabs have some similarities. The goal of Colorful Tabs is to make each tab stand out so that you can easily recognize different sites. Well, PageStyle2Tab actually makes it easier in my opinion. The color of the tab will match the style of the current page you are viewing. I am sure there are several sites that you visit that have a unique theme to them. Using this extension means you would be able to identify those sites even quicker.

If you really want to take it to the extreme, you can have the site’s style go beyond just the tab and on to your toolbars. That is a bit much for me but you may really like the themes of the sites you visit. :)


–Viamatic Tabnail (Download Page/Homepage)–
Viamatic Tabnail Firefox ExtensionEveryone loves to use thumbnails in extensions they create. The downside to Viamatic Tabnail is the fact that you must use up a large portion of your screen space. Actually, the size of the thumbnail is up to you which means the amount of space the extension uses is at your disposal.

It is also pretty cool because the thumbnail will show the Website in real-time as the page loads. Wouldn’t that be something if they could just make those tiny links clickable. It might not be practical but it would still be cool.


So those are the extensions that I either currently use or I have used in the past. They all serve one purpose or another but some of them actually help me to be more productive, such as the Firefox Showcase extension. Let us know what other extension make your tab browsing experience better!