Firefox

Link: /firefox

One of the best software packages to come out in recent years is the Firefox browser. When IE 7 came out I did a comparison and Firefox did things that IE didn't and Firefox has progressed since then getting even farther out ahead. There are things that Firefox can't handle. Access to some of Microsoft's products or sites is limited for example. That's how Microsoft does business.

While Firefox continues to grow and offer features that users actually use much of IE use now may be institutional. The corporation runs Windows so they use IE. In many cases they have to.

Apparently Microsoft has abandoned the fight to be the best browser based on performance. (That's not to say they won't announce another earth-shattering upgrade in the near future.) Microsoft is now using their deep pockets to venture into many other areas tangent to computers such as communications search engines. Their interest isn't in providing excellent software; it's in creating a monopoly. Of course you might say that about most any national company whose name is well known.

Anyway back to the review. This isn't really a review though. There are probably several of those on the web. Firefox has matured and all the problems I had with it when it first came out have vanished. Their Bookmark manager is now an excellent feature that works like you want it to. Their history sidebar sorts visits by date and by site with other view options available. The Search Bar is another feature I use all the time. I've almost forgotten the days when you would have to pull up the search engine before you could do a search.

This is just a list of a few other things I use and really like.

Tabs Lately I do a lot of internet research and end up with several pages I want to review compare or work with. One of the greatest inventions to make this possible is tabs. Firefox introduced tabs several years ago and has excelled in applying tab features to browsing. You can bookmark all of the tabs in a window into one folder. You can rearrange tabs. You can drag a link to a tab or to an empty spot to open a new tab. You can drag a link in one page to a tab in another. When it comes to IE7 there are limitations to how you can use tabs. And if you aren't using XP or later you can't use IE7 anyway which is probably a good thing.

Add-ons One of the coolest things in Firefox is the ability to include add-ons. Even cooler is that the add-ons are usually free. Firefox has a site that lists many of these and those they recommend.

ScrapBook and Clipmarks One nice add-on that has features similar to tabbing is the ScrapBook. With this add-on you can save the actual pages you browse not just the links to them. With Clipmarks you can save just the portion of the page you want.

FireFTP This adds a utility to do drag and drop file transfers. With FTP sites that is.

For programmer types here are a few others.

Web Developer My latest add-on is Web Developer. I spotted it with an upgrade to 2.0.0.8. Web Developer adds a toolbar and a menu with options to view the different elements on the page like CSS Images Forms Outline. The menu is under Tools > Web Developer.

ColorZilla This is a button that enables a + browsing icon. With that you can preview the color specifications of any element on the page. The code is shown at the bottom of the window.

Then there's Firebug and DOM Inspector that each use expanding menus to view elements with the code.

If you're not using Firefox you should give it a test run. Yes there are some things that need IE but you could always run it when you need to. Although there is another Firefox add-on (IE tab) that may do what you need. ;Firefox

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