Here are 5 tools I use to completely take control of my web browsing experience in: speed, security, productivity, convenience, and even creativity. This list is great for designers, developers, and casual browsers alike.
1. Firefox (Web Browser)
Firefox is the king of all browsers. I will accept the use of Chrome or Safari, but if you’re still using Internet Explorer, I’m going to hit you with the “evolution” stick. It’s time to upgrade. Firefox is a free and open source web browser from Mozilla. That being said, it’s already leaps and bounds ahead of competitors.
Most of the following tools require Firefox so it’s time to pick it up if you don’t already have it.
2. Firebug (Firefox Add-on)
Firebug is very useful for testing web pages for errors and for applying CSS style tests before actually implementing them. I’ve also used Firebug in other ways, removing portions of a page so I could read an article, or copy some reference text, etc.
3. Stylish (Firefox Add-on) | paired with userstyles.org
Stylish allows you to style websites and the browser itself to your liking. For instance, I have a ton of bookmarks and there is no scrollbar by default. I’d have to press the down arrow on my keyboard and wait. But now, with Stylish, I’ve added a scrollbar and I can zip through and find things quickly.
4. Greasemonkey (Firefox Add-on) | paired with userscripts.org
Greasemonkey allows you to add scripts to websites. It’s similar to Stylish, but you can do much more advanced things with it. For example, altering Facebook’s UI is pretty popular. I’ve added a script that allows me to view and download photo albums with ease. Greasemonkey and Stylish essentially allow you to redesign the web as you see fit. Instead of being a consumer in the mass millions, complaining about features you want, just add them yourself!
5. iMacros (Firefox Add-on)
iMacros is really handy for automating repetitive and data-entry type tasks. I was managing a Facebook page for a client and they could only afford to pay me once a month to manage it and go through and clean up spam (it was wildly popular page).
Using iMacros, I could record deleting one of those annoying Animal Farm requests (this was before Facebook had better blocking capabilities), then, once I recorded that action, I could set it to replay 1000 times and walk away, come back later, job done. This is the same technique I used for accepting friends requests and there are endless other uses for automation.
I’d love to hear other uses for these tools that you may have. Also, recommendations for other great web tools.