Firefox Browsing for Power Users • The Register

There are tons of choices in web browsers, and we’re not going to try to convince you that one is the best. However, Chrome’s ever-increasing market share suggests that many people don’t know how to get the most out of their browser, as there are still some things that you can’t easily achieve in Chrome that are in Firefox and its Relatives.

Of course, some of the snags of Chrome and its derivatives like Microsoft Edge are that they give away your data and your credentials to large, profit-making companies. Browsers based on Google’s code also limit what ad blockers can do.

Brave’s marketing suggests it’s the privacy-conscious choice, but we’re skeptical. Brave dabbles in cryptocurrencies and actually has its own. the reg FOSS Desk considers all cryptocurrencies a Ponzi scheme and that alone would be the devil for us… But there is more. Brave has a history of quietly rewriting affiliate links and pocketing the proceeds. And of course, his boss, Brandon Eich, left Mozilla due to his controversial support for anti-gay marriage legislation.

But for us the reg FOSS Desk, the killer feature that makes Firefox better than most Chrome-based browsers, is vertical tabs. Even if you’re not used to it if you surf a lot, you have to try to get used to a vertical tab bar. You have a whole list of advantages:

  • They make more efficient use of horizontal screen real estate, which is abundant on modern widescreen displays
  • You can have dozens open at once and still read their titles when horizontal tabs shrink to uninformative icons
  • Optionally, you can arrange them hierarchically, group related tabs, and hide, show, or bookmark groups as one
  • The larger minimum tab size allows the tab to display status information for each page
  • Finally, some add-ons allow you to search or sort your tabs

Vivaldi can do some of this, although our testing revealed that its vertical tabs don’t work well with its new email client. Microsoft’s Edge has a pretty good version. We also read that Brave is experimenting with its own version of the feature, but we haven’t tried it.

There are Chrome add-ons that fake it, but not on all sites, and worse, they can’t hide the built-in horizontal tabs at the top – so you’re just wasting more screen real estate instead of saving space.

It’s worth it. Try it for a week and we’ll guess you’ll convert, and thank you for that. But there are more tools on offer. For the sake of clarity, this applies equally to the current Firefox forks Waterfox and LibreWolf. With a little experimentation, you can achieve something similar in Pale Moon, Basilisk, or Seamonkey.

There are several vertical tab add-ons for Firefox so you can choose based on the features you want

There are several vertical tab add-ons for Firefox so you can choose based on the features you want

If only one objective piece of evidence could convince you, it’s the sheer number of different extensions available that implement this feature. We tried five. Vertical Tabs Reloaded has a simple, flat-looking implementation, but with a major catch: you can’t drag a tab out of a window and make it its own window, nor can you move a tab from one window to another.

Sidebery brings some interesting new features, like including bookmarks in the sidebar, but we found it a bit unstable. Tab Center Reborn works and its tabs expand to show two lines of description when you only have a few open enough to fit. Tree Style Tab is one of the oldest extensions of its kind, and it’s so customizable that it even has its own extensions. If you like a hierarchical tab bar, we recommend this one. However, if you’re new to vertical tabs, we recommend keeping it simple with Vertical Tabs, which does the basics and nothing more.

Once you’ve chosen one and installed it, you’ll notice a new problem: now you have two tab bars. An unfortunate change in recent “quantum” versions of Firefox is that extensions can’t easily hide or close the built-in tab bar, which is one of the reasons we sometimes feel that Mozilla’s goal is customizability lost sight of late. But don’t worry, you can still do it. All that is needed is a tiny configuration file.

Waterfox users are ready from the first install, but if you’re using upstream Firefox, you’ll need to enable such customizations first. Enter about:config in the address bar and confirm the warning that appears. Type “Legacy” in the search box and you should see a setting called toolkit.legacyUserProfileCustomizations.stylesheets. Usually it is set to false; double click on this word to toggle it true.

Now you need to figure out where to put the file. Modern versions of Firefox hide the menu bar in another attempt by Mozilla to ape Chrome. We like traditional menus, so let’s turn them back on: press Alt to open menus, go to outlookthen down toolbars and tick menu bar. Now go to the Help menu and select More troubleshooting information. In this screen there is a line called profile directory and this includes one open directory Button. Click on it and it will open your Firefox profile folder. Create a new folder there with the name chrome (all lowercase). Go to the new folder and create a new file named userChrome.css. Here you will find the settings for hiding the tab bar.

Open the new file in a text editor, copy and paste it:

/* to hide the native tabs */
#TabsToolbar { visibility: collapse !important; }
/* to hide the sidebar header */
#sidebar-header {
    visibility: collapse;

Save the file and restart the browser.

If someone from Mozilla is reading this, you might You’re welcome make this process a little easier? That would be great. Many Thanks.

If you regularly use more than one computer, Firefox Sync will sync bookmarks, passwords, etc., and will also work between Firefox, Waterfox, and LibreWolf (although in the latter you’ll need to enable it in Settings first). .

There are dozens more on Mozilla’s extensions page. Here is our must-have collection. UBlock Origin reduces a lot of distractions from the web (but we’d be grateful if you whitelisted it the reg). The Multithreaded Download Manager has recently supplanted DownThemAll as our favorite download manager. Tab Hunter quickly finds tabs lost in multiple windows. Disable autoplay stops many annoying self-playing videos. Sometimes Firefox Sync can result in multiple copies of some bookmarks, in which case Bookmark Dupes will take care of it.

Once you have a dozen or so add-ons, your browser's toolbar can get a little cluttered, but there's a solution for that, too

Once you have a dozen or so add-ons, your browser’s toolbar can get a little cluttered, but there’s a solution for that, too

Once you have all of these installed, your toolbar might start to get a little cluttered, but that’s easily fixed. Right-click anywhere on the toolbar, choose Customize Toolbar, and you can assign lesser-used add-on icons to the overflow menu. You can also remove unneeded spacers or controls by simply dragging them off the toolbar, optionally hiding the title bar, and so on.

Customize your toolbar and easily drag less used buttons to the overflow menu.

Customize your toolbar and easily drag less used buttons to the overflow menu

There are too many other tweaks and customizations to list. Among the practical ones, we like “Zoom text only” (on the View|Zoom menu), which keeps images and layout unscaled when zooming in and out. There are separate keystrokes for zooming the entire page or just the text, as well as controlling media playback and most other features. There is a task manager to monitor memory or CPU hogging tabs.

Waterfox has come out on top in some cases, e.g. B. when integrating with Unity’s global menu bar, but Firefox runs on more different operating systems. For that vulture, 20 years after its release, Firefox (or Waterfox) remains our favorite and default browser on every desktop and laptop operating system we use. It runs on Windows, macOS, Linux, all BSDs and mobile operating systems. It keeps all of our settings in sync, blocks a lot of distractions, and consumes fewer resources. OK, we’ll admit we usually keep Chrome or Edge with us, mainly for webmail and a few other communication tools, but Firefox remains our weapon of choice. ®

About Willie Ash

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