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Using Extensions in Firefox
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Sage--The Lightweight RSS and ATOM Aggregator

One of my favorite extensions for Firefox is Sage, a lightweight RSS and ATOM feed aggregator that transforms your web browser into an RSS reader.

You can find Sage here. Once it's installed, go to Tools -> Sage to run it.

In Figure 6, the left column of the page displays the news feeds I've subscribed to. The right column provides a summary of the selected feed's content.

Figure 6
Figure 6. Reading a news feed using Sage

What's more, you can subscribe to a news feed simply by browsing that page and then clicking on the Discover Feeds icon (the magnifying glass shown on the left in Figure 6). Figure 7 shows how I add the Microsoft WebBlogs feed by going to and then finding a feed. To add one, select the feed you want and click on Add Feed.

Figure 7
Figure 7. Adding a news feed in Sage

Googlebar--Google at Your Fingertips

Another handy extension that you might want to install is Googlebar. Even though Firefox already comes with a Google toolbar installed, Googlebar comes with more features and makes Googling much easier. You can download the Googlebar here.

When Googlebar is installed, you will see a toolbar containing a list of icons (see Figure 8). All these icons contain shortcuts to the various functions in Google.

Figure 8
Figure 8. Using the Googlebar

Web Developer--The Swiss Army Knife for Web Developers

If you are a web application developer, then the Web Developer extension is a godsend. Web Developer adds a menu and a toolbar to the browser with various web developer tools such as converting POSTs to GETs, hiding and disabling images, outlining block-level elements, disabling styles, and so on. You can obtain Web Developer here.

Figure 9 shows the Web Developer toolbar displayed in Firefox. If you are a hard-core Web developer, you'll have a great time exploring all the features that Web Developer provides. I will leave it to you to explore this great extension.

Figure 9
Figure 9. Using Web Developer

Firefox Toolbar--Search Engine Aggregator

If you use multiple search engines, Firefox Toolbar is a useful download. Firefox Toolbar allows you to access various popular search engines such as Google, Gmail, AltaVista, Yahoo, and even You can download the toolbar here. Figure 10 shows Firefox Toolbar installed on my Firefox.

Figure 10
Figure 10. Using Firefox Toolbar

Besides Firefox Toolbar, you can also download five different toolbars that make posting and navigating your own blog easier. These five toolbars are Bloglines, Blogger, TypePad, LiveJournal, and Technorati. Figure 11 shows the LiveJournal toolbar (the one with the pencil icon) installed on my Firefox browser.

Figure 11
Figure 11. Using the LiveJournal toolbar

Getting Updated Extensions

If you had an extension installed on a previous version of Firefox and you install the 1.0 Preview Release, the extension may no longer work. You can check for udpated versions of the extension, though, by choosing Tools -> Extensions, clicking on the extension you want to update, and clicking on Update. If there's a newer version available, you'll be able to download it; otherwise you'll be told no new version is available. You can also have Firefox automatically check for updated versions of extensions by choosing Tools -> Options, clicking on the Advanced button, and, in the Software Updates section, checking the box next to My Extensions and Themes.

Wei-Meng Lee (Microsoft MVP) is a technologist and founder of Developer Learning Solutions, a technology company specializing in hands-on training on the latest Microsoft technologies.

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