Firefox 3 is officially out, so go and get it. Wondering why you should be excited about a new web browser? Here’s three quick reasons why you should got get Firefox 3 now:
2. It’s even easier to manage add-ons and downloads. The real power of Firefox is the ease of creating and installing extensions, and the interface has been improved making it easier to find new add-ons. The download manager has been polished as well, which should help end the old “where did that file go” blues.
3. The smart address bar is very cool. I almost never have to finish typing urls anymore… and it gives me immediate feedback on typos as well. Hopefully this will put a damper on lame business models like typosquatting.
I’ve played around with Firefox’s Greasemonkey add-on here and there but never really delved into it until recently. I found most of the common uses for it to be either too specific to someone else’s use habits or already covered by other extensions. For example, there are probably a million ad blocking scripts out there, but I already have Adblock.
I’ve grown to appreciate Greasemonkey a lot more since I learned that you can make AJAX calls in scripts – now we can do some real damage. But this post is not about that, it’s about a totally different use case that I hadn’t thought of before.
If you’re a web developer with any friends or family you’ve probably heard this one before:
“Something’s wrong with my web site, can you take a look?”
This can be really, really useful in some situations. So now it’s officially added to my volunteer/web-developer/brother-in-law toolbelt.
I have a Firefox extension called Procrastato. It reminds you to get back to work when you’re mindlessly surfing the web. Procrastato is a very simple add-on but I’ve found that getting started in developing Firefox add-ons isn’t so simple.
Although I’ve just dipped my feet into the world of XUL and Firefox Extension development I thought I would share what I’ve been using to get up and running.
First things first – take a look at the Building an Extension page at Mozilla.org. Make sure you at least read through that page before getting started. It can be a little disappointing to see how much you need to have in place in order to do a simple “hello world” test extension, but it’s worth getting an overall picture before jumping in.
Also, before getting to “hello world,” there are a couple of extensions that are useful for developing extensions:
If you’ve used Eclipse for Java or PHP development you’ll probably want to use it for extension development with the XulBooster plugin. XulBooster is useful for two reasons:
- It helps with housekeeping chores like setting up your install.rdf and chrome.manifest and exporting a .xpi package.
- It give you some code coloring and syntax highlighting for those .xul files.
Now you should be ready to go.
A couple of notes:XulBooster will automatically include an empty <em:updateURL/> element in your install.rdf. If you don’t have a secure URL for updates (starting with https://), you might get this warning from addons.mozilla.org when you try to upload your new version:
Add-ons cannot use an external updateURL. Please remove this from install.rdf and try again.
Just open the install.rdf file and deleted that line to solve the problem.