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Five fantastic Firefox extensions you might not know

Posted on by Clive Walker in Web Development Web Design

I wrote this post a while back. The content can still be relevant but the information I've linked to may not be available.

Like many other Firefox users, the large number of Firefox add-ons that extend what I can do with Firefox means that it is my default browser. I probably use many of the add-ons that you know and love but I thought it would be interesting to list a few that are not so well-known… but that I find really useful. In no particular order, here they are:

1. LinkChecker

LinkChecker enables you to check the validity of links on a page with a couple of clicks. The extension moves through the page and gives each link a background colour (green for valid etc). It is something that I do quite often and the ability to see valid and invalid links in a colour coded way is really useful, particularly if you have a few personal sites that contain many links. I also find LinkChecker useful when I am asked to work on a website that I am not familiar with; it means I can quickly check page and document links for the client.

2. Feedly

I use Google Reader a lot and it’s a functional RSS reader. However, even its biggest fan will say it’s not so pretty and, in my opinion, it’s rather old-fashioned in its approach. That’s where Feedly (download) comes in. It organizes your favorite RSS sources in a magazine-like start page and integrates with Google Reader, Twitter, and other web services. Feedly has a variety of layouts (digest, latest, most popular etc) and it makes browsing and organising RSS feeds a dream! I love it!

Feedly screenshot

3. Rank Checker

Rank Checker is an extension that enables you to check where your website ranks in the search results. It searches Google, Yahoo (USA and international) and Bing search engines for your domain against specific search terms that you enter. The results show the position of your website for those terms. It makes this task so much easier.

…an easy way to track the effectiveness of your website optimisation/SEO campaign

The best things about the extension though is that you can repeat the process on different dates, store the information, and export as a spreadsheet (perhaps to report back to your client?). With a bit of spreadsheet manipulation you can graph/chart the results as well. The end result is an easy way to track the effectiveness of your website optimisation/SEO campaign. I find this particularly useful when I launch a new website and want to track the search engine positions over the first few months. Sure, there are paid services that do this but the (free) Rank Checker extension works really great!

4. Measure It

Have you ever wanted to take a few simple website measurements when you are working on a layout? Measure It allows you to draw a ruler across any web page to measure the width, height, or alignment of page elements in pixels. You can also move/nudge the ruler in 1px and 5px increments. Simple but effective.

5. Stylish

…change the style for a website and manage the styles you create

Stylish is a great way of managing user styles. For example, if you just hate that font/color/style for a specific website – or even if you just want to try something different for a while – Stylish lets you change the style for that website and manage the styles you create. In addition, there is a companion website that has many user styles from other Stylish users for you to try. I am not suggesting that you go overboard with user styles but they can be useful on some occasions. For example, I tried out the BBC website with different fonts since I am not the biggest fan of Verdana…. or you may have a font that you want to try out on your own website for a few weeks (perhaps before you change fonts). Stylish will let you do that.

More, more, more?

There are thousands of Firefox extensions and I’m sure there must be lots that I don’t know about. What are your favorite ‘unknown’ Firefox extensions?

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  • 17 May 2010 09:24:14

    Having recently looked at extensions available fro Chrome it’s certainly interesting to see what great Firefox ones are available. Firefox still appears to be the browser of choice for many developers, so it is no surprise there are so many great and useful development extensions available for it.

    Out of those covered here, I think ‘Measure It’ is probably one of the most useful, as there are numerous times as a developer when you want to find out the pixel sizes of on screen elements. ‘Stylish’ also seems equally practical as experimenting with fonts is something that can make a big difference to the feel of a page.

    I’ll be interested to see what other users recommend, as there are numerous developer extensions available that are all worth checking out.

  • 24 Jun 2010 09:20:40

    Very helpful tools, thanks for this post.

  • 26 Jun 2011 17:06:23

    I’ve recently had problems getting Page Rank Checker to work in Firefox 3. Anybody got similar problems?

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