February 04, 2005
Mozilla: The Highly Extensible Browser

Diveintomark put it this way last year: mozilla is the emacs of browsers. What does this mean? emacs is a popular text editor for geeks, and one of its core principles is that it is highly extensible: you can add functionality and change behaviour to suit your needs. There are some people that basically spend all their computing time in emacs, using it as a software platform on which they develop and work.

Now take a look at some of the popular extensions for Firefox, the most popular browser from mozilla:

  • ForecastFox - weather right in your browser window.
  • BetterSearch, which gives you thumbnails (plus some extra handy links) when using all the top search engines and some of the popular bookmark management sites.
  • Greasemonkey, which lets you add custom behaviours to sites that you browse. (This extension basically makes it easier to extend mozilla. If that doesn't scream emacs, I don't know what does.)

These add to Firefox's functionality in useful and interesting ways, without requiring any help from the mozilla team itself. Firefox has become a software platform of its own, attracting tons of smart people that want to do cool things on the web and use Firefox as their main tool. As it continues eating away at IE's browser share, you'll see more and more activity in this area. This month's wired has the story behind its development.

PS: If you want a brief explanation of why you should be using Firefox (if you're not already), read this.

Posted by Bill Stilwell at February 04, 2005 06:16 PM
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