Everyone these days seems to have a particular application which they label their killer app. As I depend on FireFox more and more to get things done, I have come to rely upon a set of extensions which really enhance my productivity. Here are the extensions which I consider to be the ones that give FireFox the title as “Killer App“.
Built In FTP Client – By using the FireFTP extension, I have access to the various FTP servers of the sites that I write for at the click of a button. Having an FTP client built into the browser means I can get things done faster as acquiring links to files is a matter of switching tabs rather than application windows. If you would like to learn more about this particular extension, please see this article. (FireFTP – The Best FTP Client I Have Ever Used)
Easy Access To Google Services – Despite the funny name, Gbutts is a FireFox extension which provides easy two-click access to the majority of services that Google Provides. I am only two clicks away from Google Docs, Gmail, Google Earth, etc. The extension can be configured so that only those services that you use, appear in the drop down menu. Since I routinely access Google Docs and Google Maps, this is yet another time saver.
Measuring Pixels – If you do any design work, you’ll know that at times, it can be time consuming to figure out the pixel size of an image. Thankfully, the MeasureIt extension takes the guess work out of the equation. MeasureIt provides an easy interface to measure things within the browser window by pixels. This extension saves time because you no longer have to open an image within an editor to figure out its dimensions.
Keeping Tabs On Forums – I’ve noticed in my own self monitoring that I spend a lot of time checking out the newest posts on the Hive and on various other forums I participate in. Intead of visiting the forums, I’ve since installed a RSS FeedReader for FireFox called SageToo. SageToo is a continuation of Sage with additional functionality. Essentially, it is a feedreader for FireFox. I use this tool to check out the latest forum posts on multiple forums from a sidebar rather than having to view the actual forum. This saves time because I tend to click on other things once I reach the forum and before I know it, I’m a long ways away from where I started.
Multi Blogging – Long time readers of Performancing will recognize this next extension called ScribeFire. Although I’d like to think that I don’t have any time to publish articles on my own blog, ScribeFire changes that by allowing me quick access to a blog editor which if configured correctly to take advantage of the XML-RPC features of WordPress, I can quickly write an article, place it in a category, tag it and then publish it live on my blog, all without thinking about it.
Page Rank And Alex Rank Without Searching – Ever come across a cool site within your niche and wondered what their Alexa rank or Google PageRank values were? Typically, you would have to use a tool and type in their domain name to figure out the values. With the SearchStatus extension, that information is provided to you within your browser. You can even check out the Compete rankings with this extension.
Creating Screen Captures – One thing every blogger has in their toolbox is a service, program, or extension in which they use to capture images. In my personal toolbox, I use a piece of software known as SnagIt by Techsmith. Although I don’t use the specific software by itself, having the software installed gives me access to the SnagIt Extension. This extension has saved me a boat load of time when it comes to creating images since I can create them on a per pixel basis within the browser window, edit them within the SnagIt software, and then save them to the desktop. Although the full version of the software is not free, this is the best screen capturing tool I have used. As an alternative, you can use Jing Project which is a project sponsored by TechSmith.
Creating TinyURLs In Seconds – Long URL’s are a pain in the rear to send someone whether it be in an email or a message that can only contain 140 characters or less. Navigating to the actual TinyURL web page to create the tinyurls can be time consuming. That’s why I’ve included the TinyURL Creator extension. This bad boy makes it as easy as a few mouse clicks to create a tiny url from a page or from a specific url. When created, the url will automatically be saved to your clipboard leaving you the only step of pasting it into the desired location. Definitely another time saver if only convenient.
TwitKit – I don’t care what anyone says, Twitter is a great service for networking and conversation. However, using Twitter through the actual website is a time consuming and mundane process. It’s much better to use a third party application such as Twhirl or in this case, TwitKit. Now, I typically use Twhirl for all things Twitter but when I want to quickly share a link or publish a quick thought, accessing Twitter through a sidebar in FireFox is a time saver.
Real Time Monitoring – Often times, I have no idea if my blog has received a major spike in traffic through the likes of Digg or Stumbleupon until after the fact. Watching these types of traffic spikes in real time is exciting and an amazing boost of confidence, even if the feeling only lasts for ten minutes. Whos.Amung.Us is a service that has been around awhile which is used by many to keep tabs on who is browsing their site in real time. After registering your site with the service, they provide you with a unique 8 character key which you then plug into their FireFox extension. The extension will then display the number of concurrent visitors on your blog in real-time and upon clicking on the number, you’ll not only be able to see the number of people browsing your site, but the URLs in which they are viewing and the number of people per URL. Woopra, and Pmetrics have this LIVE capability but having it built into my browser is convenient and notifies me of when I am in the middle of a traffic storm.
FireFox is an awesome piece of software but the extensions for it are even better. The motto for FireFox used to be, “Take Back The Web” and that is exactly what the browser enables you to do. I tend to think that FireFox is a cockpit and each extension is like a gage or control that I can use as I navigate the web. With the extensions I have listed within this article, you are sure to save time and become more productive. Just be sure to disable that StumbleUpon toolbar during working hours!
If you have any FireFox extensions that are either alternatives to the ones listed above or, that solve a particular time sync which makes you more productive, please share them in the comments.