Web Browser Wednesday

Making one browser look like another has been a trend for ages. More often than not users like the functionality of a browser, but don’t exactly like how it looks on the particular operating system. That’s how I am with Firefox on just about any operating system I use it on, and that’s despite the fact that they’ve redesigned Firefox 3 to take on characteristics of the various operating systems.

In the past we’ve already shown you how you can make Firefox fit in a little better with Windows Vista, and that’s especially true if you install this extension which gives Firefox 3 the Aero glass effect. Today, however, we’re going to jump to the other side of the pond and show you how to make Firefox 3 take on a look that’s more in line with Mac OS X’s Safari browser. We’ve got a few tricks up our sleeve that should get the job done.

–The Theme–

Firefox 3 does include a new theme for Mac OS X that fits in well with the operating system, but it still doesn’t look like Safari. So the first thing that we need to take care of is finding a near-perfect replica of the Safari theme, and we’re in luck because there happens to be one that’s already compatible with Firefox 3. It’s called GrApple Yummy, and it’s as close to Safari as it gets:


You might recall us having written about this theme before, and it’s important to note that it has a nearly identical twin brother called GrApple Delicious. We won’t bore you with all of the minor differences again, but it’s safe to say that GrApple Yummy is the theme that’s the most Safari like for Firefox 3.

Okay, we’re off to a good start… now let’s move on.

–The Address Bar–

Safari uses the Address Bar to show users how much time a page has until it finishes loading, and it actually looks pretty nice, too. To get this feature all you need to do is install the Fission Firefox extension and you’ll be ready to go.

This is what the Address Bar will look like while loading a page once you have Fission installed:

firefox fission.jpg

–The Status Bar–

Personally I would go crazy in a day’s time if I didn’t have the Status Bar in my browser, but for some odd reason Safari has decided to disable it by default. For the sake of consistency… if you want to ditch the Status Bar just pull up the View menu and uncheck the Status Bar option.

–Resizable Text Areas–

In Safari you can resize text areas, such as the comment box we have located below, simply by grabbing onto the corner of the box and dragging it to the size you desire. Firefox 3 users can enjoy the same experience with the Resizeable Textarea extension.

firefox resizeable textarea.jpg

–Find as you Type–

Safari has a rather slick find-as-you-type feature where it grays out the background as you shuffle around the page looking for specific words. The current selection is not only highlighted in green, but it also bounces up and down to really help it keep you’re attention.

It takes a little bit of work, but as we’ve previously outlined it’s very much possible to get a search feature just like this in Firefox. We also put together a video demonstration in case you want to see it in action.

find as you type.jpg

–Stop / Reload Button–

Once you install the Stop or Reload extension you will notice that a button is missing on your navigation bar. Don’t worry, the stop button will be visible whenever a page is loading, otherwise it will serve as the refresh button. Clever, huh?

stop reload.jpg


Now if you followed through on a lot of the stuff in this article you should find that it’s difficult to distinguish the two browsers when glancing at them. Here, see for yourself:

firefox 3 safari.jpg