Firefox add-ons (sometimes written as addons or add ons) are free software routines or ‘miniature programs’ that work within the Mozilla Firefox browser to customize and personalize it. Firefox is an open-source browser, meaning all of its internal code is freely available to developers, hobbyists, and to the public. This allows a wide range of applications to be written by enthusiasts that bring new, handy features to the browser. The always-growing library of Firefox add-ons are posted at the Firefox website for perusal and download. Firefox installs and updates chosen add-ons automatically with the user’s permission, which makes using Firefox add-ons a snap.
It is nearly impossible to overstate the vast array of optional features available in Firefox through the add-ons library. Some examples include download managers and accelerators, automatic copying of highlight text in a webpage, automatic mapping of a highlighted address, language translators for highlighted text, and dictionary lookup for right-clicked words. There are also many utility add-ons, such as an Internet Protocol (IP) finder that shows the current website’s numerical IP address in the task bar, a cache cleaner button, and a cookie manager add-on that brings up all cookies with the click of a button, allowing deletion or other options. Below are a few more popular Firefox add-ons.
NoScript: This extremely popular add-on places an icon in the system tray and blocks potentially dangerous scripts as a matter of course. To enable scripts on a site-by-site basis, one only has to click the icon and choose to allow scripts for the site either temporarily or permanently. The program generates a “white list” in this way, allowing only those sites you trust to run scripts.
FlashBlock: If you’re tired of annoying flash animations the Flashblock add-on will replace flash scripts with a button. If you want to see the flash display, just click the button. This decreases page-loading time, allowing for faster Web surfing.
ReminderFox: Do you forget things when you’re online because you’re busy cruising your favorite sites? Do you start looking past post-it notes on the refrigerator when they’ve been up a few days? ReminderFox might be just what you need. Add reminders or make a to-do list and let ReminderFox know if you want to be reminded on the day or ahead of time. You can get notices by the minute, hour, day, week, month or even year. Whether you just don’t want to miss your favorite TV program, an eBay auction, a dental appointment, or you need a reminder to pay those bills, ReminderFox can be your personal secretary.
ForecastFox: This add-on brings your local weather forecast to your Firefox task tray. Configure it to show the current temperature and conditions, and the five-day forecast. Highly configurable, view live radar images and much more weather information with the click of the mouse.
SunCult: If you like to keep track of the phases of the moon, sunrise and sunset, SunCult is for you. An icon of the sun and moon sit in the system tray of Firefox, with the moon’s phase reflected by the moon’s icon. A mouseover of the icon brings up the times for sunrise, sunset, moonrise and set, the moon’s phase, and more.
These Firefox add-ons and hundreds more make Firefox the most customizable browser on the Internet. Authors of add-ons provide support in the way of Web forums and often through personal replies if an issue is not covered elsewhere. Firefox themes and plug-ins are also available through the website.
It is important to note that certain add-ons are not compatible with each other. For example, the auto copy and auto-mapping add-ons both rely on highlighting text to perform different functions. As a rule it’s best to load one add-on at a time and make sure Firefox functions correctly before adding another. Firefox add-ons are easily disabled and uninstalled through Firefox.