Every so often, I like to take inventory of my most used applications and pare down to just the essentials. I’m one of those people who loves shiny new toys, but when it really comes down to actually using the program, oft times I either forget or realize I truly have no need for it.
With that said, I’d like to share my current list of most used, invaluable, and can’t live without Firefox plugins:
BBCode – I use this on a daily basis to quickly add bits of BBCode and XHTML code to the forums/blogs I frequently comment in. It also has a nice function for quickly creating lists which I use for blogging as well
Web Developer’s Toolbar: Another plugin I use on a daily basis. This plugin is such a productivity tool, it should be a requirement for all web developers. It gives me quick access to screen sizes, validation services, and all the tools to help me do website assessments within a semi-decent amount of time – and not only that, it’s configurable should you have any other services you’d like to check quickly
IE View and Launchy: While Launchy can open a page in IE, I find that View in IE gives me quicker access with just a few clicks of the mouse and is perfect for switching between Firefox and IE on certain pages. I typicaly use View in IE on a daily basis and I use Launchy more towards the end of development when I’m testing across the board. Launchy also allows me to quickly send source code to my text/HTML editor with just a few clicks.
Firefox View: Some applications still don’t get it when your default browser isn’t IE and they’ll still open their webpages in it. This plugin is sweet because I can click to open the page in Firefox and close out the IE window. I also find that I use it quite a bit while I’m reading feeds because my feedreader uses the IE browser, I can right click on links and choose to open them in Firefox instead of the feed reader application
SEOpen: This is a great plugin for quickly checking site stats across the board for your own sites, or even the sites of your competition. While I don’t use this plugin every day, I do use it on a regular basis.
ColorZilla: Ingenious little color tool that lets you select a color from anywhere on your browser screen with an eye dropper and it then opens a color palate allowing you to copy/paste the hex or RGB values for the selected color. You can even add colors to your favorites for later reference.
MeasureIt: This plugin has saved me quite a bit of time on many occassions by allowing me to simply outline the object I need the dimensions of. By doing this, I can get a rough estimation of the area I need to fill or make use of without needing to track down the graphic or ad code. I also use it for a few other obscure purposes, but none the less, it gets used very regularly.
PDFDownload: Ever been ambushed by a huge PDF file that you thought was going to be an HTML webpage? Well, this plugin minimizes those ambushes by allowing you to choose whether you want to download and save the PDF, open it in a new window, or just cancel the request altogether. Definitely a must have if you don’t like having the PDFs open in your browser window without notice.
Secure Password Generator: I use this plugin regularly to generate random passwords for my clients when the need arises. This saves me brain energy from needing to come up with a "good" and "random" password on my own for each of my clients.
View Cookies: Mainly for tracking and research purposes, this plugin definitely gets used regularly to see who’s leaving their tracks and where.
HTML Validator based on Tidy: This plugin lets me see at a glance what errors/warnings exist on a page which allows me to correct the problem before I head over to the W3 validator. It also has a function to "clean up" the HTML code, however, I don’t use that very much.
SpellBound: Yes, I majored in English – No, you wouldn’t know it from my writing. This little plugin lets me quickly catch any spelling errors I may have overlooked while typing. It doesn’t catch everything, so it’s not a substitute for good proofreading, but it certainly helps
Adsense Notifier: This plugin is for the Adsense stat addicts, it quells your desire to see how your Adsense is doing by providing the information in your browser progress bar updating regularly. It also gives you right click access to your Adsense account if you need to login for any reason.
Menu Editor: Firefox has a rather annoying quirk. When your menu contains too many items, right clicking on a particular section of a webpage means your top menu items will be cut off an inaccessible. A bug on the issue has already been filed, but the suggestion in the meantime is to trim your menus, and this is what this does. I don’t use it on a regular basis, but it does serve its purpose well.
This list is by no means exhaustive and I am constantly testing out new Firefox plugins to see which ones are keepers, but it’s a list of the plugins I use regularly and am quite fond of. They definitely make work and browsing much easier.