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Turn FireFox 3 Into A Blogging Toolbox

Posted By Jeff Chandler 5th of November 2008 Blogging Tools and Services 0 Comments

FireFox3 LogoToday Jeff Chandler shares with us how FireFox 3 can be a great tool for bloggers.

If there is one thing that sets FireFox apart from any other web browser, it would have to be the third party support in the form of themes and extensions. There are so many extensions available for the browser, you can virtually do just about anything. As I become more entrenched as a blogger online, I’ve started to transform FireFox into more than just a browser,  it has become my ultimate blogging toolbox. The following twelve FireFox extensions will give you a head start on turning FireFox into your own personal blogging toolbox.

GbuttsMany Google Services In One – These days, it seems as though Google has a bazillion services. Having individual buttons for each service in FireFox would not only be cumbersome but it would also take up valuable screen real estate. Thankfully, there is an extension which enables access to all of the Google Services from one button called Gbutts. After installing this extension, you can configure which Google Services show up in the drop down menu, allowing you to only see the ones you actively use.

In Browser Feed Reader – I use FeedDemon as my stand-alone FeedReader of choice, but I also use one within FireFox called SageToo. I use this extension primarily to keep tabs on forums I am a member of. Since I need to have the browser open to reply to a forum post or start a new thread, having quick access to new posts/threads within the browser is a time saver versus reading the feeds in a stand alone feed reader.

ScribefirePublish Content Right From The BrowserScribeFire should be of no surprise for longtime readers of Problogger. ScribeFire enables me to have quick access to a blog editor. If the publishing system you use has XML-RPC support, you can configure ScribeFire to connect directly to your blog. I use ScribeFire to quickly publish drafts or full blown posts to my own blog, right from the browser.

See Ranks Without Researching – With the SearchStatus extension, you can easily see a particular URL’s Alexa Ranking as well as its Google Page Rank. Finding this information used to require researching the site by putting the URL through a Page Rank service.

SnagItTake Snapshots From The Browser – People are continuously surprised to find out that TechSmith has a FireFox extension (SnagIt Extension) available particularly for those who use their SnagIt software. This software makes it easy as pie to take screen captures. The extension takes things one step further by enabling access to the software through the browser. In my arsenal of tools, this extension is probably used the most as publishing how-to articles or reviews requires an abundant amount of screenshots.

Built In FTP Client – One of the reasons why I used Internet Explorer long after FireFox was released was because of the built in FTP client. Convenience of the client kept me from using alternatives. Once I discovered the FireFTP extension however, I really began to fall in love with FireFox. FireFTP adds an FTP client right into the browser which I have found to work better than any stand alone software alternative I have tried.

TinyURL CreatorEasy to Digest URLs – Thanks to services like Twitter which limits messages to 140 characters or less, we now have a myriad of services online which aims to shrink that mile long URL into something more manageable. Despite the other services that are available, I am been a big fan of TinyURL. So it should be no surprise then that I am recommending the TinyURL Creator. This extension can create tiny URLs from links, page links, and the text that is displayed in the address bar of the browser. On top of that, the TinyURLs that are created are automatically copied to your clipboard leaving you with the only step of pasting the link.

Tweeting From The Browser – Although Twhirl makes for an excellent stand alone application to handle your Twitter needs, having access to Twitter from within FireFox adds a convenience factor not to mention it is one less program running on your machine. When accessing Twitter from the browser, I recommend the  TwitKit extension. When activated, Twitter will load in a sidebar within FireFox with a list of the 10 latest tweets. I typically use TwitKit to publish quick thoughts or links without the distraction of being sucked into the endless stream of information that Twhirl provides. As an alternative, you can use TwitterBar.

Auto Fill FormsAuto Fill Forms –  Most blogs have a commenting section made up of four fields. Name, URL, Email and a text area for your comment. Instead of typing in your Name, URL, and Email over and over again, you can use the AutoFill Forms extension and configure it so that when you press a keyboard shortcut, these fields will automatically be filled in with the configured values. This extension has saved me a ton of time as well as keystrokes. One caveat though, this extension does not work on blogs who use a third party commenting system such as Disqus or CoComment.

Copy Only The Text – Ever copy a section of text from a website and then paste it into a Word Document or into a WYSIWYG Text editor? Generally, not only is the text pasted but so is the formatting. I know at times, this has driven me insane. Thankfully, there is an extension which prevents this from happening called Copy Plain Text. This extension adds an option to your right click context menu that will say, “Copy Plain Text” which does exactly what it advertises.

ShareaholicSharing Across Multiple Services With One Button – While I tend to stick with using the Delicious Bookmarks extension as that is the only bookmarking service I use, I figured that limiting the bookmarking services to just delicious would be premature. So, introducing Shareaholic. Shareaholic is similar to the GButts extension in that, users have access to multiple social bookmarking/networking sites from one icon.  After configuring the sites for which you have accounts with, sharing a site is as simple as a few clicks of the mouse. At least seventeen different services are supported which should be enough to get you started.

Relevancy In The Browser –  When you’re writing that next blog post, don’t bother spending time using Google to look up related posts, images, etc. Instead, use the Zemanta FireFox Extension. Zemanta presents images, links, articles, tags in a simple interface. It encourages re-use and linking to other content with as little effort as possible. In the world of blogging, being related is usually a good thing.


These extensions are what make up my own toolbox, but why stop there? Perhaps you use an alternate extension to get a chore done versus the one I suggested. This is your chance to tell me which extensions you use to make you a more productive or efficient blogger. Based on your responses, there may be a follow up post filled with reader suggestions.

This guest post was written by Jeff Chandler who is currently a writer for Performancing, BloggerTalks and is the host of two podcasts, WordPress Weekly and Perfcast.

  1. How about Google Chrome, rowse?

  2. thanks darren for this info.excellent.

  3. yes i agree with blogywalkie.com.How about Google Chrome?

  4. i am wondering where you get this wonderful info and write such nice like this?well done.

  5. Hmm I actually wrote a post on a similar theme yesterday. Check it out:


  6. darren your explanation very detail.i like it.

  7. Great post Darren :)

    Btw blogywalkie and amirulcyber, you can not mention Chrome as a blogging toolbox, firstly as its still in the process of development and many loopholes are to be thought about, and secondly that there are no plugins or add-ons that adds to the user-friendliness of the browser.

    Whereas, Firefox is a full fledged and well worked browser and thousands of add-ons in it make it a perfect tool for browsing the web, publishing in blogs and any other thing.

  8. Btw one of the best plugins which you forgot to mention would be TwitterFox add-on for firefox which is the best that one would say when talking about twitter.

    Not sure if you tried it already.

  9. Awesome tips! I’ve been using Firefox 3 for awhile now but have not downloaded any of these extensions except for SnagIt. It works like a charm.

  10. For Firefox and Gmail I would suggest the experimental extension integrated gmail.
    My post in german: http://blog.tim-bormann.de/integrated-gmail-in-gmail-reader-kalender-notebook-uvm.html
    The englisch-version: http://www.firefoxfacts.com/2008/11/03/integrate-gmail-with-everything/
    Note: Give the Link no follow if you want. this shouldn’t be spam ;-) I like the extension!

  11. Laura says: 11/05/2008 at 1:04 am

    Flock 2.0 is the best social/blogging tool there is. I also have a list of add-ons that make the whole experience even more fun and productive.

  12. I use the ShareThis extension for bookmarking. It resides up in corner by the search bar out of the way then pops down when you need it.

  13. I still see no reason to use FireFox on a Windows-based machine. Its a good choice for Linux, though.

  14. I’ve used quite a few of the extensions from time to time. It really is the availability of these extensions that makes Firefox stand apart from IE and other browsers.

    In addition to these, what other extensions are people using most?



  15. Hello Jeff,

    Thanks for the suggestions. I downloaded two of them. FireFox definitely is the way to go when it comes to web browsers (for me anyway).

    Some FireFox add ons I like and use:

    Firebug – You can edit, debug, and monitor CSS, HTML, and JavaScript live in any web page.

    KeyScrambler Personal – scrambles keystrokes for a little better security online.

    McAfee SiteAdvisor – when you search for something in search engines it will show which website links might possibly place something harmful on your computer (or spyware).

    Check4Change – lets you check a website’s text for changes and when it does it will alert you. Great for monitoring when tech support replies and anything else.

  16. Great post jeff and good to see you hear. When I saw in the feed reader, I got confused in initially as Performancing and ProBlogger feeds are sitting next to each other :)

  17. Great list of extensions, thanks! I am a firefox addict!!! I haven’t bothered to try Chrome yet and don’t plan to, as FF meets my needs and then some!

    Feature Blogger at Engineer a Debt Free Life Blog

  18. @Mike

    Are you serious? I see no reason to use IE on a Windows based machine…. FF has so much more to offer. Once you start using some of the add ons, you’ll never go back!

    Feature Blogger at Engineer a Debt Free Life Blog

  19. Nice article Darren, i use alot of the addons you mention

    for screenshots try screengrab it works like a dream

    I also use TwitterFox which is really nice as it doesnt take up to much space in my browser

  20. amirulcyber, can you please stop spamming this web site. You continue to comment spam every day on here.

    Darren, can you please stop him from commenting 10 to 15 times on your posts?

  21. Great post! I had no idea Firefox was so adaptive.

  22. Pamela says: 11/05/2008 at 3:44 am

    Hi Darren, Great Post, very helpful I will think of you when I am saving enormous time on my blog. Thanks again

  23. Hi Darren, Thanks. Though I was using many other firefox aware of many of the above mentioned features. Shortly I will start using at least few of its features.

  24. HI!

    I´ve been using Snipurl now for months. http://snipurl.com/

    Tiny is way cool and easy to use, but snipurl gives me a chance to see statistics. How many people checked your short-URL? Has it been relevant to your followers?

    try it! ;-)

  25. Good post Darren, read your post always get good infomation. thank you

  26. Thanks Darren for this excellent info. I’ll certainly checkout some of the firefox pluggins that might be quite useful for me.

  27. Although Firefox is very extensive and powerful, but I still prefer to blog with Desktop software – My favorite BlogJet.

    Another nice blogging tool I used is BlogDesk, although many said that Live Writer is good, I seldom use it for the slow performance…

  28. I’m surprised no one mentioned the following extensions for Firefox:

    Web Developer, the ultimate in toolbars. Validate pages right from toolbar, look at CSS (nicely formatted, better than hunting for it manually), disable or enable multiple items (java, colors, font size) on a page by page basis, tools for forms, utline blocak level elements, frames and much more, instant resize of page, and so much more.

    Dust Me Selectors: Find unused classes and ids in your page to tighten up css (very handy)

    One of the many short URL creators (I’m using is.gd right now).

    Those are my “Must Haves” for Firefox.

  29. Some nice suggestions but they are not all that great, I use Zementa which is okay for generating keywords but the links are mostly from article base which i think defeats the purpose of linking to other blog posts (any way you can use trackbacks)

    As for the pic’s they are unpredictable, I have stopped using them as they leave loose formatting all over the post.
    G-Buttons; I don’t see the point in this if you already have Google Toolbar. The tiny url plugin would be useful, and saves a lot of time.

    The copy plain text plugin is a handy add-on as is the Auto fill form plugin for blog comments. I do find that keeping your applications to the bare minimum is more preferable. It a case of personal preference i suppose, but the more plugins you load on to your browser the more “stopped responding” messages you will get.

    K-Gen is good for researching your keywords for seo, and of course you have your favourites like StumbleUpon and Delicious.

    Thanks for the list, i will try out one or two (-:

  30. Thank you for this Darren and Jeff. I switched to Firefox a couple of weeks ago and am verrrry slowly getting accustomed to it.

  31. Very nice Firefox extension collection. Good work indeed!
    I have tried most of them, and for those i haven’t I will!

  32. Nice post. I’ve already been using ScribeFire and Zemanta for some things, but I had no clue about FireFTP. I installed it and am thankful that you mentioned it. It’s a lot smoother and easier to use than the free stand alone FTP program I’ve been using. Anyway, thanks again and great post!

  33. I currently use the FireBug and StumbleUpon extensions on FireFox 3.03 for the Mac. Used to use several others, including Alexa, Web Developer and Zotero, but they made FireFox very unstable, so I took them out.

    I really like the extensibility of FireFox, but it is very unstable and crashes often, despite emptying caches, etc. I wish I could use it as my main browser, but can’t. Oh well…

  34. I’ve been using a few of those add-ons for the past 2 years for blogging and they work great. Probably, one of the best free blogging “software” out there.

  35. i’ve used scribefire, twitter, and google tools for a while but i’m interested to check out twitkit and twitterbar. i currently use twitterfox.

    thanks A TON for the snagit extension!!! that makes things a lot easier.

    i star posts in googlereader and/or note them in google notebook as a quick way of laying out post ideas on the fly. gnotebook is great b/c it automatically links the page you’re on with the “note this” feature.

  36. Thanks darren for this great info.


  37. Love Firefox and all it has to offer the user. I have to check into some of these extensions. Thank you for the great list.

  38. Great tips. But I too heard that Flock is becoming the browser of choice among bloggers.

    Would love to read a review about it, because I do not intent to try it (have no time) before someone lays all the benefits in front of me.


  39. In the RSS/Feed Reader category, did you ever had the chance to try out feedly (http://www.feedly.com)

  40. Christopher says: 11/05/2008 at 8:40 am

    These are great tips darren!
    i prefer chrome, its faster, safer… lol

    i created an ‘application’ with my feedreader and emails! its easier to use!

    anyways these are still great tips for peaple who still like chrome!!! im currently creating a (personal) browser with most of these built in using chromium (chromium.org – the open source code for chrome) im considering putting it up for anyone to use if my idea works.


  41. I was already using some of those and had others installed, that I wasn’t using until now.

    This remembered be I have to check them,

  42. This is a lot of great information! Thank you!

  43. It’s “Firefox,” not “FireFox.” And please stop capitalizing prepositions and articles in article titles (e.g., “into” and “a” should be in lower case in this blog post’s title).

    Thanks much!

  44. This is a great resource post. Not only did it give me the motivation needed to launch my (it will never be good enough) blog but even gave me an article topic to cover at the same time!

    I just spent most of the afternoon installing Firefox 3 and most of these plugins and already I got 5 times more stuff done than usual.

  45. Great post, I like this very much. Thanks

  46. What a wealth of information. I’ve recently started using Firefox a great deal. As a web publisher, I appreciate the fact that WordPress and Firefox make a beautiful team.

    This is exactly the post I needed to enable me to use Firefox to its fullest extent. Zemanta sounds especially fascinating. Thanks for a very well-researched and well-written post!

  47. Steve says: 11/05/2008 at 1:10 pm

    Thanks for the info. I love Firefox and learning more tricks is great!

  48. Sage too looks nice and promising :) Thanks for compiling the list.

  49. There is a reason Firefox is the best browser.

  50. Thank you all for the great response to the article and for contributing by listing the extensions which you thought should of made the list. I don’t see Chrome as being highlighted anytime soon since it doesn’t have the extensive third party user base that FireFox has.

    As for a review of Flock, that could very well be a future post somewhere down the line. As for future posts, I am thinking about doing an in-depth review of Sphere to see what the service is all about. Stay tuned.

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