Web Browser Wednesday

With the Firefox 3 release right around the corner I thought this would be a good time to look over the extensions available, and see which ones haven’t been updated. There’s actually a descent amount that still need to be updated before they will work with the final release, but if you look around many have pre-release versions that they are getting ready to roll out.

So what we’ve got for you today are instructions on downloading/installing extensions that aren’t officially compatible, a list of extensions that currently have Beta versions that work with Firefox 3, and finally a few extensions that already appear to be extinct. The lists are by no means comprehensive, but I also figured that everyone can chime in below with your own findings.

–Forcing Compatibility–

Using the trick we’re about to show you it’s possible to bypass any compatibility checking, which means you’ll be able to install (not necessarily run) any extension. This is obviously not recommended for everyone, and you should only use this as a last-ditch effort.

  1. In the Address Bar type about:config followed by the Enter key. Continue through the warning message if it’s shown.
  2. Right-click in the main area, and select New -> Boolean
    firefox new boolean.png
  3. Enter extensions.checkCompatibility into the box that appears, and click the OK button.
    firefox checkcompatibility.png
  4. Then choose false in the next window.
  5. Now you can install any extension, but remember that they are not guaranteed to work. I’ve seemed to have pretty good results with this though.

One problem that you might notice is that when you go to install an extension that’s not compatible with your version of Firefox the “Add to Firefox” button will be grayed out. This is quickly remedied by going to the “All Versions” page, and you’ll find a link to that following the description of the add-on:

firefox all versions.png

Once on that page you can download the most recent version of the add-on without the site checking what version of Firefox you’re running, but you’ll need to follow the steps outlined above before being able to actually install it.

–Currently in Development–

I know that some of you are waiting for certain extensions to get upgraded before you’ll make the jump to Firefox 3, and so I’ve assembled a list of eight rather popular ones that will definitely have new versions coming out. Each of these already have a pre-release version publicly available, which may persuade you to make the switch a little early. ;)

  • Sage [Homepage]
    This is the much beloved RSS feed reader, but it hasn’t been updated since January 2007. Someone else has begun reworking it to make it play nice with Firefox 3, and the new version can be downloaded here.
  • FEBE [Homepage]
    You can use this to backup your extensions, and for some people it’s a rather critical extension to have. They are currently working on the next milestone release, and the Beta version is available which works with Firefox 3.
  • FireFTP [Homepage]
    Ever want to have an FTP client in your browser? With FireFTP you can, but you’ll need to download the preview release if you want Firefox 3 compatibility.
  • FoxyTunes [Homepage]
    Controlling your media player has never been so easy, but Firefox 3 users were starting to get worried that this add-on wasn’t going to be updated. Despite not having released a new version in almost a year they do have FoxyTunes 3 Beta publicly available, which includes Firefox 3 support.
  • Firebug [Homepage]
    Most web developers absolutely love this extension, and the good news is that a version for Firefox 3 is right around the corner. If you’re a bit anxious you can hop on over and download Firebug 1.2 Beta.
  • ColorfulTabs [Homepage]
    Make your tabs more identifiable with this extension, and Firefox 3 users will find a Beta version here.
  • Tab Mix Plus [Homepage]
    It’s safe to say that this is the all-in-one solution for anything you want to do with tabs. And work for a Firefox 3 version is always going on.
  • Smart Bookmarks Bar [Homepage]
    Save some room on the Bookmarks toolbar by only showing icons. The latest release, available from here, is compatible with Firefox 3.

–All Good Things Must Come to an End–

There are a handful of extensions that I have come across which you shouldn’t hold out too much hope for. These three look like they will become extinct:

  • VideoDownloader [Homepage]
    With this extension you can download videos from 60+ movie sites, but it has been kicked back into the “experimental” stage (meaning you’ll need a Mozilla account to download it) even though it has an astounding 13 million downloads. It would likely be one of the most downloaded extensions right now, but it hasn’t seen an update in nearly 2 years. So don’t get your hopes up for this one.
  • MinimizeToTray [Homepage]
    A lot of people are going to be disappointed to hear that the MinimizeToTray extension doesn’t work with Firefox 3, and it doesn’t look like there are any plans to fix it. The last update was in October 2006 just in time for Firefox 2, and there’s been no mention of a new version being worked on. Yikes!
  • Tab Groups [Homepage]
    This project didn’t last very long, and that’s disappointing because it’s an extension that I really enjoyed. It’s only had one release, and there’s no sign that the developer is still working on it.


And now we turn the keyboard over to you, our trusty readers. Let us know in the comments below which extensions you’re holding out for, and which ones have pre-release versions that you’ve been tinkering with.