I’ve been using ForeFox (nee FireBird, a.k.a. Mozilla Browser) as my preferred browser on my PC for the last month or so. I started using it mostly for its tabbed browsing and pop-up blocking (having been spoiled by Safari), but I have been tremendously impressed by its extensibility.

The first thing people may come across is FireBird’s capability to install different Themes to change the browser’s appearance. Personally, these type of things leave me cold. Most user-designed themes are garish eye candy that doesn’t come close to the simplicity and elegance of the default look (this, BTW, goes for pretty much any product that’s themable).

The thing that does get me excited is the ability to install Extensions that enhance the browser’s functionality. Some extensions, such as Copy Image you’d expect to be a built-in part of the browser. Most extensions I have absolutely no need for and I’m glad that this functionality is not included in the browser. But then there are brilliant extensions that do something extremely useful for a targetted user audience — and usually in a well-thought-out way.

My two of my favorite extensions are EditCSS and Web Developer.

EditCSS allows you to view the style sheet used by the current page in a separate pane. It also allows you to edit the style shees and applies your edits live to the page. It’s definitely the fastest and most user friendly way of trying out new tweeks and looks on your page — without actually modifying your source.

Web Developer adds a toolbar of useful web devolment tools. Many tool allow you to highlight page elements that violate different standards and recomendations (HTML, CSS, missing alt tags on images, 508 Accessibility, etc.) Other tools highlight the structure of the page, such as outlining block elements, displaying CSS class names, etc. I used to add borders on most of my CSS classes during development for tuning their placemnt and layout. Web Developer does this for me with a click of the mouse. Sweet!