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Firefox Hacks
By Nigel McFarlane
March 2005
More Info

How do these hacks stand up? Comment on a hack from the book by choosing the associated "Discuss" link below. You can also view the code from any of the hacks by clicking on the "Listing" or "Code" links. A number of hacks have been selected to be featured online in their entirety; you may view those hacks by clicking on the hack titles that are linked.

Jump to: Firefox Basics  | Security  | Installation  | Web Surfing Enhancements  | Power Tools for Web Developers  | Power XML for Web Pages  | Hack the Chrome Ugly  | Hack the Chrome Cleanly  | Work More Closely with Firefox

Firefox Basics

HACK
#1

Ten Ways to Display a Web Page
Displaying a web page is like painting and hanging a picture: there are plenty of options
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#2

Ten Ways to Navigate to a Web Page
There are a million ways to move from the current web page to the next one. This hack describes 10 such ways
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#3

Find Stuff
Search both the Web and the browser environment with Firefox
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#4

Identify and Use Toolbar Icons
This hack explains the mystery icons that sometimes appear on Firefox toolbars
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#5

Use Keyboard Shortcuts
Driving Firefox from the keyboard is both the same as and different from other browsers
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#6

Make Firefox Look Different
Don't put up with blank walls. You can wallpaper Firefox back into your life
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#7

Stop Once-Only Dialogs Safely
Don't like to be bothered? Here's how to shut Firefox up and how to deal with the consequences
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#8

Flush and Clear Absolutely Everything
Paranoid about Firefox's tendency to store things about web pages? Reset your browser back to zero
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#9

Make Firefox Go Fast
Don't wait for the Web. Firefox can go faster if you just tune it up a bit
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#10

Start Up from the Command Line
You can start Firefox without using the mouse
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

Security

HACK
#11

Drop Miscellaneous Security Blocks
If your computing environment is secure, then Firefox's own security is of limited use
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#12

Raise Security to Protect Dummies
Set up Firefox for nontechnical people
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#13

Stop All Secret Network Activity
Send packets across the Internet only when they come from user actions
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#14

Work with Single Sign-On Servers
If your web content is hidden behind a security regime, here's how to get through
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#15

Work with Web Proxies
Make Firefox automatically discover the settings it should use for accessing the Web
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#16

Fine-Tune Ports and Sockets
You can configure Firefox network access down to the last detail if you want
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#17

Manage Digital Certificates
Who gives Firefox trustworthy advice? You can change that set of advisors
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#18

Digitally Sign Content
Content delivered to Firefox can request special privileges from the user
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#19

Grant Trust with Master Certificates
Control secure uses of Firefox completely with an overriding master certificate
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#20

Restrict Script Behavior with Policies
Internet Explorer has security zones. Firefox has capability classes instead
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#21

Make Yourself Anonymous
Don't let anyone know that you're on the Web
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

Installation

HACK
#22

Edit Configuration Files
Modify configuration files where it makes sense to do so, and ignore the rest
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#23

Play With the Preference System
Dig underneath Firefox's user interface and hack the preference system directly
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#24

Install Complementary Tools
Get the rest of the standard gear you need for a fully featured Firefox
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#25

Migrate Firefox Profiles
Move user data between separate Firefox installations or between separate versions
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#26

Dial Up Automatically on Startup
Save yourself from having to hand-connect to the Internet before surfing with Firefox
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#27

Fix Web Servers to Support Firefox Content
Provide support for the bonus content types that Mozilla technology supports
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#28

Prepare Firefox for Wide Deployment
Choose from several strategies for rolling out Firefox across an enterprise
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#29

Remotely Manage User Configurations
Make sure all users in an enterprise have a uniform set of configured preferences
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#30

Install Fonts and Character Support
Protect your tired eyes from ugly fonts when staring at web pages
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#31

Take Firefox with You
Install a portable version of Firefox so that you can move from computer to computer
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#32

Work with Filtering Systems
Keep your web experience neat and tidy by integrating properly with other Net watchers
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

Web Surfing Enhancements

HACK
#33

Use Fancy Bookmarks
Bookmarks can do more than record web pages. See how they've grown
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#34

Modify Tabbed Browsing
Customize the look and behavior of tabs to any degree
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#35

Govern Image and Ad Display
A picture is worth a thousand words; here's how to make the most out of web page pictures
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#36

Get More Search Tools
Update the Search bar with more search engines, and add some other search tools as well
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#37

Get More Feeds and News
Not getting enough information? You have several different ways to get more in Firefox
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#38

Add Stuff to Your Toolbars
Install extra stuff on the Firefox toolbars and use it to browse in new ways
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#39

Upgrade Firefox Feature Managers
Turn Firefox into Firefox Deluxe with extensions that upgrade standard features
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#40

Integrate Firefox with Other Tools
Juggle all your info tools from Firefox with cross-application integration features
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#41

Create Your Own Search Plug-in
Found a search engine that suits you? Put it up front on the Search bar
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#42

Spider the Web with Firefox
Save lots and lots of web pages to your local disk without hassle
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#43

Waste Time with Toys and Games
Amuse and inspire yourself with these decorative inventions made by bored minds
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

Power Tools for Web Developers

HACK
#44

Tweak and Troubleshoot CSS Designs
Get to the bottom of your CSS difficulties with smart Firefox extensions
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#45

Use Gecko CSS Style Magic
Give your web pages extra style using fancy Gecko CSS extensions
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#46

Write Compatible CSS
Style a web page that benefits from Firefox but that also works in all browsers
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#47

Update Browser Detection Scripts
Work out whether your web page is loaded into Firefox
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#48

Submit Background Form Data
Submit form data without using a Submit button and without replacing the current page
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#49

Script Plug-ins
Drive your plug-ins from JavaScript using the new NPAPI features
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#50

Quality-Assure Your Web Pages
Make sure your web development work is polished and professional
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#51

Display HTTP Headers
See the raw information exchanged between Firefox and web servers
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#52

Stomp on Cookies
Track, trap, configure, kill, create, and otherwise diddle with HTTP cookies
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#53

Probe HTML with the DOM Inspector
Mozilla's powerful DOM Inspector tool deconstructs web pages for your benefit
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#54

Turn Off Absolutely All Caching
Be sure that the web page you're viewing is freshly retrieved from across the network
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#55

Web Document Debugging Tricks
Firefox has a potpourri of small tricks you can use to debug your web page
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#56

Debug JavaScript with Venkman
Sick of alert( )? Trade up to Venkman, Mozilla's GUI-oriented script-debugging tool
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#57

Handle Hangs and Other Bad Juju
Firefox is only nearly perfect. Here's how to manage when it's not
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

Power XML for Web Pages

HACK
#58

Pick Display Modes for HTML and XML
Firefox has several display options for web content. Here's how to pick between them
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#59

Get Tools for XML Validation
Complement your XML content development processes with life-saving tools
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#60

Mix Content with XML Namespaces
An XML document can combine content of several different types
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#61

Make MathML Content
MathML (Mathematical Markup Language) provides the set of tags with which to express mathematical equations on web pages
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#62

Make SVG Content
Create dynamically changing diagrams based on vector graphics instead of static images
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#63

Use Client-Side XPath
Use XPath to enhance your XSL transformations
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#64

Use Client-Side XSL
Apply XSL stylesheets to XML without using a standalone XSL processor
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#65

Work with Mozilla SOAP Services
Your web pages and XUL apps can speak the native language of web services
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#66

Work with Mozilla XML-RPC Services
Want web service scripting, but don't need SOAP's complexity? Use XML-RPC
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#67

Work with Mozilla WSDL Services
Want an easy way to use SOAP web services? WSDL might be the answer
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#68

Make Applications and Extensions with XUL
Make an application rather than a web page by filling a Firefox window with XUL
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#69

Make New Tags and Widgets with XBL
Don't like the set of HTML or XUL tags that browsers provide? Make new ones
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#70

Work with RDF Facts
Make Firefox act like a small database server that is smart about RDF data
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#71

Work with RSS Feeds
Suck syndicated news and blog updates into Firefox using scripts
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#72

Connect SQL to XUL
Use Mozilla technologies to send and retrieve SQL queries
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#73

Generate XUL Using PHP Libraries
There's more than one way to create XUL content. Here's how to do so using PHP libraries
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#74

Get a Taste of E4X Scripting
Learn the future of XML scripting techniques
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

Hack the Chrome Ugly

HACK
#75

Do Groundwork for Ugly Chrome Hacks
Learn the first steps required to modify Firefox without using formal release processes
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#76

Spy on Chrome with the DOM Inspector
Put a microscope to the XUL that makes up the browser chrome with the DOM Inspector
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#77

Customize Firefox's Interface
Tweak and modify the browser's interface to suit your needs
[Discuss (1) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#78

Rebadge Firefox
Dig into Firefox and change some of its brand livery to something that suits you better
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#79

Make Firefox Match the Desktop
Take away Firefox's distinctive look, so that it appears to be just another desktop soldier
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#80

Make a Toolbar That Can't Be Hidden
Decorate window pop ups with a toolbar that no web page can remove
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#81

Content Filter Without Your Smart Friend Noticing
Hide a content filter in Firefox's core to make web sites vanish like Ninjas in the dark
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#82

Add a New XPCOM Component
Extend Firefox's component library with a new object that's usable in the chrome
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#83

Add a New Command-Line Option
Customize the startup process and the process of starting windows by adding support for new command-line arguments
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

Hack the Chrome Cleanly

HACK
#84

Do Groundwork for Extension Development
Understand how extensions, themes, and locales fit into the Firefox architecture
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#85

Study Packages with the Chrome Manager
Demystify the way the chrome system is organized with this handy tool
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#86

Create a Chrome Package
Packages are the fundamental concept underlying most chrome content. Here's how to make one
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#87

Make a Bottom-Up Overlay
Bottom-up (RDF-driven) overlays allow existing Firefox GUIs to be enhanced
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#88

Make, Bundle, and Publish an XPI
Create an XPI installer for your extension and publish it for others to discover and use
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#89

Build an Installable Theme
Build an installable theme that changes the way Firefox windows look
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#90

Identify Reusable Toolkits
Don't code everything from scratch: reuse bits and pieces of Firefox
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

Work More Closely with Firefox

HACK
#91

Handle Cross-Platform Differences
Manage the differences among standard Firefox installs on different platforms
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#92

Get a Custom, Prebuilt Version
Find versions of Firefox that are different than the standard installation
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#93

Make Firefox Software
Turn Firefox source code into an executable program
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#94

Run Multiple Mozilla Browsers
Run as many Mozilla browsers as you want on your single desktop
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#95

Make Extensions Work Outside Firefox
Extensions are designed for Firefox, but sometimes you can use them elsewhere
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#96

Turn on Firefox Diagnostics
Make Firefox spew out every last detail that it knows
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#97

Find the Right Forum for Your Issues
Find the right people to discuss the outcomes of your Firefox investigations with
[Discuss (1) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#98

Survive Bugzilla
Survive and thrive in the scary world of Mozilla's Bugzilla database
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#99

Find Out What Has Been Fixed
Work out the differences between minor Firefox versions without reading the code
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]

HACK
#100

Help with the Future of Firefox
Much of the work done to make Firefox successful is volunteer effort. You too can help
[Discuss (0) | Link to this hack]


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