Firefox is completely extensible, which means you can literally build your dream browser by installing any of over 700 extensions (and counting!). Installation is a piece of cake, and you can find instructions in Chapter 20. After you install an extension, you can access the features it offers through the main Firefox interface as if they'd always been there.
This chapter outlines la crème de la crème of the Firefox extensions. Because developers can update their extensions at any time, specific directions would soon be obsolete, so in this chapter I try to provide a general overview. Most extensions are very simple to use and offer their own help systems. Have fun!
Extensions are created by the extended community, not by the Firefox team itself. I don't tell you this to frighten you; the extensions available on the official Firefox Web site are used by plenty of people every day. My point is that the Firefox developers don't decide when to upgrade or stop distributing a given extension. This means that by the time you read this, some of the extensions I discuss here might have changed drastically, and others might not even be available anymore. I hope that isn't the case and will do my best to prevent that, but it's a possibility.
I have three other notes before you get started:
Check out Chapter 20 to familiarize yourself with the Firefox extension system before proceeding. That chapter explains where to find the extensions I discuss here, as well as how to install them. Remember that you need to restart Firefox after installing an extension!
You can configure many extensions from the Options windows that you access through the Options button in the Extension Manager (Tools Extensions), as I describe in Chapter 20. Some extensions also put shortcuts to their options on the Tools menu.
Many extensions quietly add buttons to the Customize Toolbar window. You can drag these buttons to your Firefox toolbars, as I explain in Chapter 18, to access the extension's features quickly.