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Why you NEED to customize your web browser

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Also viewable as an OCN article

 

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............

3310165878-orig.jpg

 

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:

3310113942-orig.jpg

 

The two buttons on top reveal my vertical toolbar and tab bar (both are also accessible by quick keyboard shorcut):
3310125633-orig.jpg
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.

3310232046-orig.jpg

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:

331108039-orig.jpg

 

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


Edited by xd_1771 - 2/3/12 at 5:10pm
post #2 of 9
I'll say one thing, you really spend time customizing your browser.

Me? I have a fairly stock Chrome with only a theme, adblock, an addon to view YT videos blocked in my region and mightytext, which gives me a notification when my phone gets a text. biggrin.gif

Anyway, nice thread thumb.gif
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post #3 of 9
Very nice.

Where can I cast my vote?
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post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

Ah, the magic of portable browsers! wheee.gif

Here is my same customized Firefox profile with absolutely no compromises running on a school computer with XP 32-bit installed, on a smaller 1280x1024 screen and not even maximized at the moment:

3808161077-orig.jpg

 

Despite the smaller screen it is no less functional with all the features I'd expect being there without taking up any extra room; I can auto-hide or keyboard-shortcut-hide any UI elements to regain screen real estate.  Here it is again with all toolbars disabled:

3808244811-orig.jpg

 

And despite the significantly less powerful processor (2.4Ghz C2D E4500 with 2GB RAM) compared to the one on my desktop (x6 1055T 4Ghz with 8GB RAM) it's not any slower either; even my dad's old laptop with a 1.7Ghz single core Pentium M runs this version well.  Even on this PC, thanks to the functionality tweaks, optimizations and addons like Yet-Another-Smooth Scrolling, I find my browser to be a lot more usable and at times snappier than the browsers installed on the computer - even Google Chrome, which is normally thought to be faster.  This is running off a Corsair Voyager 16GB USB3 flash drive connected in USB2 mode.

 

This probably owes to the recent browser version and frequent/daily re-optimization techniques (see the other link in my sig).  With Firefox Sync everything is hassle-free, with bookmarks, history and other important data always with me on the go.

 

thumb.gif

Know customization techniques and you can be ridiculously productive on the web, anywhere you choose.  You NEED to consider taking your browser customizations to the next level or starting if you haven't done so already!


I think I'm going to prepare a second article later today about why you NEED to be using portable web browsers off your flash drive.... I should mention that I also have full portable versions of Flash 11 and Java on my Flash Drive so everything runs independently of the host computer.


Edited by xd_1771 - 2/8/12 at 2:27pm
post #5 of 9
any alternatives to tree style tabs and tab mix plus that will allow me to hide the tab sidebar with a shortcut key? need something with the same features, this is the only problem i have with my setup, autohide is something i dont like using

338
post #6 of 9
Wow that's a lot of effort. I'm running chrome as it comes out of the box and honestly can't see many ways of making browsing faster for what I use it for. I do quite like not having a UI on display the whole time but I don't think it would make me any more productive. I'm always tab switching so like to have everything on view.
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post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 

@ mrsmiles: Try MinUI. Ctrl key is the shortcut key.  Seems perfect for you.

@ olli3: There are endless customization possibilities. Go down a path that suits you. I'm just showing my own and hoping it inspires someone tongue.gif

post #8 of 9

Meh, I don't need customization on my 1440p. I can open up 3 websites side by side. =P

 
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post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by xd_1771 View Post

@ mrsmiles: Try MinUI. Ctrl key is the shortcut key.  Seems perfect for you.
@ olli3: There are endless customization possibilities. Go down a path that suits you. I'm just showing my own and hoping it inspires someone tongue.gif

i have minui but it doesnt seem to hide the sidebar created by tree style tabs/tab mix plus, i tried using an addon called hide tabbar and while it did hide the tabs it didn't hide the panel containing the tabs and this is the problem im running into....
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