Overclock.net › Articles › Why you NEED to customize your web browser

Why you NEED to customize your web browser

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Perhaps I might inspire you all in the process this time around with the newest revision of my web browsing setup. thumb.gif

What customizing your web browser (which is best done with the browser Firefox or Waterfox and use of its large addons repository, as well as extensions such as Stylish and Greasemonkey) can do for you is significantly improve your efficiency and ability to browse the web.


To start off, the number one solutions for full-on customization to whatever you desire are Firefox and its add-on repository.  No other browser has such a huge repository that presents you with so many options.  Chrome may be taking on a lot of the popular addons such as Adblock but the functionality possibilities are not nearly halfway there yet.


Just to showcase the possibilities of what you can configure and do with a highly customized browser (that should be tailored to you and your needs, or you can follow my examples if you wish), here is a showcase of what I have done with my web browser.

I am using:

  • The latest version of Waterfox (64-bit optimized build of Firefox, created by OCN's MrAlex)
  • More than 100 different addons (Need addons?  Check out my Recommended List)
  • Optimization techniques that allow Firefox to perform fast despite add-on count (see my article: xd's guide to browsing faster on Mozilla Firefox)
  • Extensions that go beyond Firefox's built in addons by adding user-choice functionality on their own, for example: Greasemonkey (webpage-specific addon javascript - allows for interesting functions) and Stylish (webpage-specific or general CSS modification).


First of all, I have completely eliminated every interface............



Just kidding wheee.gif well, both that and not kidding.  Pressing CTRL key (addon MinUI) reveals my integrated single toolbar which includes the addressbar, search bar, and two other buttons:



The two buttons on top reveal my vertical toolbar and tab bar (both are also accessible by quick keyboard shorcut):
That's right, I went vertical tab side bar. The big premise for this vertical tab bar though is that it is integrated directly with the Firefox Tab Panorama/Grouping feature - but it's better in some ways.  No visual organizer, but you do have the ability to more quickly select and move several tabs between groups :)
I still use the regular visual organizer (which I access by keyboard shortcut) in a way similar to Windows Flip 3D.


All my functionality is on the left-bound addon bar (Vertical Toolbar).  From here is a command center that allows me to flip back and forth between pages (although mouse gesture and right click -> back has largely replaced that), access page in another browser, open search, bookmarks, history, downloads or addon sidebars (I use sidebars for everything now - even web searches i.e. Google, via addon Briteclick) - access customization settings for Stylish and Greasemonkey, Print functionality, quick e-mail access (Webmal notifier), Sync, Zoom controls and amount, and a Japanese-English dictionary/translation tool (Moji) located in a sidebar.


The rather big thing about this minimalization of all browser interfaces unless necessary though is the opportunities it provides for actually browsing the web.


Tile Tabs addon allows me to split up my tab to include more than one webpage in several different ways.  Here I am browsing an OCN page while making a Newegg combo deal search to recommend an APU combo.  So if anyone was ever wondering, this is how I get those ridiculous part recommendations done so fast!!!! thumb.gif


I can do more than just vertical split by the way.  Here is a triple split with the OCN thread, a Newegg combo search page and an actual Newegg combo page.  You will notice that both the right tabs are zoomed out (ctrl + scroll wheel) so I can actually see stuff on the page:



And this is all just on one of my glorious two 1920x1080p 24" monitors wink.gif When I have browsers running on both monitors (rarely, I'm either watching media on the other monitor or doing something else on it) I can do so, so much


What I love most about this single and simplified interface is that it can work with all needs, all PCs and screens of all sizes (even touch screen tablets due to the positioning of the buttons and auto-hide features) - particularly helpful when I use portable Firefox, then I don't have to adjust to using a modified profile that may work better on a smaller screen.  While my interface customizations seem small-screen/touch-screen optimized, the benefit on desktops is the ability to control most everything by keyboard shortcut.


Customize to such extent with Firefox and you will be able to tell Chrome users that you are STILL able to browse faster than they do despite occasional (probably infrequent) slower load times and lower responsiveness.


Vote xd most ridiculously productive and efficient web browsing guru on the net?  Plzzzzzzzz wheee.gif

Comments (4)

I do love that waterfox!
What additional functionality do you get from having that URL bar minimizing hotkey as opposed to the full screen hotkey? And what additional functionality do you get from split screen that isn't accomplished by windows snap?

The vertical tabs is cool, though. Is there a way to do that in chrome?
Very informative, thank you. I'm actually switching from chrome to Waterfox to play with the addons now b/c of you.
how did u get waterfox drop down menu, address bar, search bar, and control box on same line?
Overclock.net › Articles › Why you NEED to customize your web browser