Firefox Add-Ons

This page contains links to Firefox add-ons I use, a couple Firefox add-ons I modified, and various tips.

You might have the impression that Firefox add-ons are just extra frills you can easily do without - and many are. But NoScript is so extremely useful, since it eliminates so many potential security hazards, that I'm reluctant to browse the web without it (unless I have JavaScript, Flash, Java, etc. all turned off). So, I highly recommend at least getting NoScript.


Note, Sept. 12, 2014: The below page was mostly written in 2011, back when I usually used Firefox 3.6.20 in Windows XP, and Firefox 3.6.13 in the Lucid Puppy 5.2 variety of Puppy Linux*.

Most of this page hasn't been updated since then. However, earlier this month, I finally installed Firefox 32 in addition to Firefox v3.6.13 in Lucid Puppy Linux 5.2.8 version 004, my current usual OS (operating system).

So, I finally updated my modified version of File Title 1.4. The new version is:

Use Page Title as Saved File Name, Change Unusual Chars to Dashes,
and Add Current Date and Time v1.4 ApMod v3.0

It can be installed in Firefox v32, Firefox v3.6.13, and probably other versions.


I welcome requests to build or modify Firefox add-ons, or other software! I can also write documentation, or try to answer technical questions.

Request Free/Libre/Open Source Software or Documentation



General Tips

I think automatic updates are a deplorable feature when they're on by default. Updates can break things that were working perfectly well before - but even if updates couldn't break anything, it's still very inconsiderate and obnoxious to make someone's computer do something drastic or unexpected without even asking the owner's permission first.

I object to unasked-for automatic updates even if the updates actually improve the software or its security. Just imagine if some obnoxious, presumptuous guest in your home, suddenly and without asking, decided to rearrange and replace your furniture and change the locks on your doors. Maybe, if you're lucky, the new furniture actually is nicer, and the new locks really are more secure. But in any case, I still think it's wrong to just impose that on someone without asking.


In Firefox 32, automatic updates for add-ons (and Firefox itself) are on by default, and I'm not sure there's a built-in way to turn off automatic updates for all add-ons all at once. I found this undated official blog post which says to go to about:config and set extensions.update.enabled to false - but commenters who posted in May 2014 claim those instructions don't work.

So, you might have to turn automatic updates off individually for each add-on you have installed.

To do that: go to the Tools menu, choose Add-ons, click the Extensions item at left, and click the small More link at the end of each add-on's description. Then, in the Automatic Updates section, choose the Off radio box.



Firefox Add-Ons I Use


All except those I modified are downloadable at the official Firefox add-ons site.

In most cases, I haven't really explored these add-ons in tremendous depth, so, there's a lot of stuff I don't know about them.

So, my descriptions and off-hand tips should usually not be regarded as comprehensive or complete.


Thank you to all the authors of these wonderful, useful add-ons!




Appearance


Downloading and Saving


Etext Reading


Memory


Privacy


Security


Web Development




Firefox Add-On Modified by Apollia

I haven't made any Firefox add-ons from scratch yet, but so far, I've modified one Firefox add-on by someone else.


Newest version:


Old version:


These add-ons are modified versions of File Title 1.4. The original File Title 1.4 is by Pavel Cvrcek.

Like the original File Title 1.4, these add-ons make it so when you save a page, the page's title is used as the file name (if possible), similar to the way things work in the Internet Explorer web browser or the Opera web browser.

My versions change any file name characters other than A-Z, a-z, 0-9 and - , _ . ( ) to dashes.

These add-ons will be troublesome for anyone who actually wants other characters than those to be in the file names they save. But if you mostly save things with English titles, it might be useful to you.


The newer version adds the current date/time to the end of the file name in this format:

2014_09_12 16,40,46 PM


Though the original File Title 1.4 is quite nice and almost exactly what I need, I made these modified versions because:


Reasons why I made the newer version:


Making the add-on installable in Firefox 32 was a simple matter of changing the file install.rdf to have a different maxVersion for Firefox.

It would have worked even if I didn't fix the ancient AM/PM time-related glitch I had tolerated in version 1.4 ApMod v2.0 since September 2012. (The earlier version - v1.4 ApMod v1.0 - wasn't affected by this glitch, since it doesn't add dates/times to file names.)

But, I also finally fixed that glitch, and cleaned up the code a bit to make it better-indented, more readable and understandable.


Because the original File Title 1.4 add-on is under the Mozilla Public License Version 1.1, I have no choice but to release these modified add-ons under the same license.

Like the original add-on, my modified versions are also free, libre, and open source. If you want to look at the source code, just change the file name extension from "xpi" to "zip", and then you can extract the files within using any program that can unzip files.


Both of my modified add-ons each have their own GUID, so that when installed, they won't overwrite each other, nor the original File Title 1.4, if you already have it.

But, since the original and modified add-ons can interfere with each other, you'll have to manually disable the ones you don't want to use by going to the Tools menu, selecting Add-ons, clicking the Extensions tab, highlighting the add-on you want to disable, and clicking the Disable button.

Here are the GUIDs of each add-on, so you can more easily identify them if you ever go digging around in your extensions folder:

Version 1.4 ApMod 3.0ae945a95-0377-4294-8fb5-cee8a81e6ca5
GUID generated by: http://www.guidgenerator.com/online-guid-generator.aspx
 
Version 1.4 ApMod 1.03240009f-813a-4f7d-9642-f9d38dab5415
GUID generated by this now-gone web page: http://extensions.roachfiend.com/cgi-bin/guid.pl
 
The original File Title 1.4861c8868-e3dc-4dcb-ba2e-866901fc2be8




Tips for Making Firefox Add-Ons

Just a few quick tips, since as of 9/12/2014, I still haven't gotten very deeply into making or modifying Firefox add-ons.




How to decompress an .xpi file

.xpi files are simply plain old .zip files renamed to have the extension .xpi. You can open and decompress .xpi files with any software capable of handling .zip files if you rename the .xpi file to end in .zip.


How to make an .xpi file


What is a GUID? (Globally Unique IDentifier)

In your Firefox extensions folder - maybe located in /root/.mozilla/firefox/[your Firefox profile name]/extensions if you're using something like Lucid Puppy Linux 5.2.8 version 004 - you might be mystified by the often weirdly-named .xpi files in there. (Or folders, if you're using an old version of Firefox.)

The odd strings of characters like ae945a95-0377-4294-8fb5-cee8a81e6ca5 are GUIDs - "globally unique identifiers".

The GUID is stored in an add-on's install.rdf file. I haven't searched deeply enough to confirm my guess, but, I'm guessing the purpose of Firefox add-on GUIDs is to make it so Firefox can overwrite old versions of an add-on with a new version. I assume that both older and newer versions of an add-on might share the same GUID, making it possible for Firefox to identify which add-on to overwrite.


How to generate a GUID


Making Old, Supposedly Incompatible Add-Ons Work

(There are surely a variety of reasons why an old add-on might not work in Firefox. This little note addresses only one.)


If Firefox claims an old add-on is incompatible with the newest Firefox, it might not be true.

The real problem might be, the add-on's install.rdf file might provide a maxVersion setting which is lower than your current version of Firefox.

You might be able to fix the problem by decompressing the add-on's .xpi file, opening the install.rdf file, going to the <!-- Mozilla Firefox --> section, and changing the value in between the <em:maxVersion></em:maxVersion> tags. Then, remake the .xpi file and try again to install it in Firefox.



Last modified: Sept. 12, 2014
This page uploaded to web: March 20, 2011