Firefox for power users
If you’ve been using Firefox for a while you might like to look at some of these tips and tricks to get more from your web browser. If you’re not using Firefox to find out what all the hoopla is about.
Get newer, optimised builds
Firefox, like most applications, is compiled without optimisations for specific processors. Some third parties such as Moox make processor-specific optimised builds available for download.
As well as the Firefox 1.0 release you can also download a trunk build. These are built directly against the source tree the developers use and can sometimes be rather unstable although the 20050206 one I’m using has been pretty good except for a view source bug. Make a backup of your %USERPROFILE%\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox directory first and unpack the trunk version somewhere new to give it a whirl.
If you don’t understand those just instructions you might want to wait for the any-day-now Firefox 1.0.1 release although it contains only essential bug-fixes.
We all know sometimes pages take a few seconds to load and knowing how many files to load and the current transfer rate is something geeks love to know. Firefox’s extensions architecture allows third-parties to add such functionality, so grab Extended Statusbar.
The network settings in Firefox are a little on the conservative side for broadband users. As with Internet Explorer tweaking you can allow more simultaneous connections (it’s the HTTP connection and pipelining section although the other tuning tips are certainly worth considering).
Once done, visiting a page will start loading all images used on a page together rather than just two at a time. It will also mean you can download more than two files simultaneously from the same web site.
Advertisements have gone too far, they’re now incredible obtrusive, annoying and can often cause pages to load slowly. Get rid of them with the AdBlock extension.
Learn short cuts
Switching from the keyboard to the mouse to perform a single operation is incredibly slow. Get used to the following short cut keys (Ctrl on Windows, Command on Apple)
- F, Find text in the page (IE too)
- N, New window (IE too)
- L, Position to the address bar (F4 in IE)
- K, Position to the search bar
- B, Open bookmarks sidebar
- H, Open history sidebar
Tabbed-window specific short cuts:
- T, Open a new tab
- W, Close current tab
- 1 to 0, Jump to specific tab
- Tab, Cycle between tabs
If you develop web sites for a living then the Web Developer extension is essential. Features include:
- Editing and identifying cascading style sheets (CSS) on the fly
- Validating page and CSS structure
- Examining HTTP response headers
- Modifying cookies
- Highlighting page structure and layout
Windows corporate use