Sort Bookmarks add-on for Firefox

Sort Bookmarks is a new Firefox add-on that you may use to sort all bookmarks of the browser using the sort options the add-on provides.

Bookmarks in the Firefox web browser are not sorted by default. When you add a bookmark to the browser, it is added to the end of the folder that you have selected.

This means that you will end up with unsorted lists of bookmarks in Firefox unless you manually sort the selection, or use the sort options that the bookmarks manager provides you with.

Note: Mozilla removed auto-sort options that were part of Firefox.

Both are manual operations that need to be done on a folder by folder basis. Depending on how many folders you have, and how many bookmarks you add to Firefox, you may prefer an automated solution. Enter Sort Bookmarks.

Sort Bookmarks

sort bookmarks

Sort Bookmarks is a simple add-on for Firefox that you may use for two things:

  • To sort all bookmarks folder of the Firefox browser at once.
  • To automate the process for future bookmarks that you add to Firefox.

The extension adds an icon to Firefox’s main toolbar. A click on the icon displays the options that the extension offers:

  1. Display folders at the top, bottom, or mixed in with bookmarks.
  2. Sort bookmarks by title, URL or date added.
  3. Reverse the order.
  4. Always keep bookmarks sorted.

The last two options are optional and need to be checked. The add-on sorts the bookmarks according to the selected criteria. The process should not take long. What happens in the background is that Sort Bookmarks processes each bookmarks folder to sort the folders and bookmarks inside it according to the rules you specified.

Please note that this is an all or nothing approach, and that you cannot reverse the process.

The extension recognizes separators. If you have added separators to a folder, bookmarks won’t be sorted across it. This means that each part that is separated is handled as an individual group of bookmarks.

If you tick the “always keep sorted” box, bookmarks are sorted automatically based on the sorting rules when they are created, changed, removed or moved across folders.

Sort Bookmarks is a WebExtension which means that it won’t be disabled when Firefox 57 is released.

Closing Words

Sort Bookmarks is handy extension for Firefox users who add bookmarks to the browser regularly, and prefer sorted bookmarks instead of unsorted ones.

 

 

 

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All-in-One Sidebar Developer announces death of Firefox add-on

The developer of the popular All-in-One Sidebar extension for the Firefox web browser announced the end of life of the Firefox add-on today.

All-in-One Sidebar is a popular Firefox add-on that lets users open Firefox specific pages in the browser’s sidebar. The extension has more than 123000 users right now and the highest possible rating of five out of five stars on Mozilla AMO.

You may use it to display bookmarks, downloads, the browsing history, and add-ons in the sidebar, and also any internal Firefox about page, for instance about:config or about:support.

While Firefox may display some content in a sidebar as well natively, the bookmarks, history and synced tabs, it does not display other pages that All-in-One Sidebar supports.

all-in-one-sidebar add-on firefox discontinued

The developer has two main reasons for stopping development of the extension. The first reason is that he moved to Chrome as his main browser and has no plans on switching back to Firefox. He states in the announcement that he does not want to spend time developing an extension for a browser that he does not use anymore.

I’m simply not prepared to spend my less free time for developing an extension for a browser, which I don’t use anymore and in which I have no more personal interest.

But even if he would have the desire to continue development, he could not do so because migration of All-in-One Sidebar to the WebExtension format is not possible at this point in time. Migration is necessary as Mozilla will drop support for legacy add-ons (of which All-in-One Sidebar is one), to go WebExtensions exclusive. This will happen when Firefox 57 gets released.

The WebExtensions APIs that are available right now are extremely limiting when it comes to manipulating the browser’s interface and functionality according to the developer of the All-in-One Sidebar add-on for Firefox.

An extension like AiOS, which is heavily changing the interface of the browser, isn’t viable with Firefox 57 onwards.

I have a very clear opinion about the new extension system and the previous unique selling point of Firefox in my point of view. I really hope they will succeed with the new direction – but without me as a user and extension developer.

All-in-One Sidebar will stop working when Firefox 57 Stable is released. The extension will continue to work in Firefox ESR until the Extended Support Release is moved to the next major version in mid-2018.

 

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Firefox tabs Pause toggle for HTML5 media

Play/Pause is a useful browser extension for the Firefox web browser that adds a pause option to Firefox tabs that have HTML5 media playing in them.

Firefox, like most modern browsers, displays an option in its tab bar to mute audio that plays in a tab in the browser. That’s quite handy on its own, but activating mute does not block playback on the site.

Not a big problem if you are listening to Internet Radio, but if you want to listen to something from the beginning to the end, you end up having to rewind to continue playback at the position that you activated mute on.

Firefox tabs Pause toggle for HTML5 videos

firefox play pause videos tab

Play/Pause adds controls to pause videos to the Firefox tab bar. Some sites add a play indicator to the tab bar automatically when a video plays, while others don’t. Play/Pause adds the indicator to the tab regardless of whether the site does so as well, and it even works for pinned tabs on top of that.

Activating play or pause does not switch to the tab which means that you can use it to control playback on inactivate tabs in the Firefox browser.

The extension is compatible out of the box with popular video, audio and streaming sites such as YouTube, Vimeo, Spotify, Pandora, Google Play Music, VK, Amazon, Twitch or Ted Talks.

You may enable support for all embedded HTML5 media to extend support to sites that are not explicitly mentioned by the add-on’s description.

You may furthermore change the following options in the settings:

  • Invert Play/Pause logic — Swaps play and pause buttons. So, instead of highlighting the active state, it highlights the action when you click on the toggle.
  • Smart Pause — This extends the play and pause functionality to all tabs of the browser, not just the active one.
  • Play/Pause hotkey — Set a hotkey to toggle the functionality.

Closing Words

Play/Pause is a very handy extension for the Firefox web browser that gives you full control over HTML media playback in any tab. It adds controls to toggle playback to tabs, so that you can control playback without having to activate these tabs first. This is especially handy for users who like to play audio in the browser (either directly or by listening to the audio of videos) while doing something in the browser at the same time.

The extension is not a WebExtension unfortunately. It is unclear whether it will be ported.

Now You: Which audio/video sites do you use the most?

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uBlock Origin WebExtension lands on Firefox AMO

The WebExtension version of the popular content blocker uBlock Origin has landed on Mozilla’s official Add-ons website for the Firefox web browser.

A big upcoming shift from legacy add-ons to WebExtensions forces add-on developers to port their legacy add-ons to ensure compatibility with Firefox 57 and newer versions of the browser.

Mozilla plans to cut off legacy support in Firefox 57 Stable which means essentially that add-ons that are not WebExtensions by the time won’t work anymore in the web browser.

Legacy add-on developers face three major issues: first that Mozilla is still working on WebExtension APIs, second that WebExtensions will be limited in what developers can do with them when compared to legacy add-ons, and third that it is just a couple of months before the switch happens.

uBlock Origin WebExtension on Firefox AMO

ublock origin webextension

Work on a WebExtension version of uBlock Origin began back in October 2016. The extension was released on GitHub back then which meant that it was not signed at that point in time. Users who were interested in the new version were only able to install it as a temporary add-on. Good for testing, but not really practicable for every day use.

The move to being distributed through Mozilla’s official add-on repository takes care of the issue. The WebExtension version of uBlock Origin is available on the development channel on AMO currently.

Firefox users who want to install the extension can do so in the following way:

  1. Load the official uBlock Origin page on the Mozilla website.
  2. Scroll down on the page until you find the Development Channel section on it.
  3. Click on Development Channel to expand it.
  4. Either click directly on the “add to Firefox” link to install the latest build — which is the WebExtension version of uBlock Origin”, or click on “see complete development channel history” to list previous versions as well.

Note: Existing uBlock Origin users will notice a delay during the process. This is caused by the importing of data from legacy storage to WebExtension storage. The process may take up to five minutes. The legacy storage won’t be touched during the process so that it is possible to return to the legacy extension at a later point in time. The WebExtension storage will be deleted however when you uninstall the uBlock Origin WebExtension.

Other things worth noting are:

  • The new version is a hybrid extension right now. It will show up as legacy in about:addons.
  • script:contains filter do not work.
  • cosmetic filters are limited as the browser’s user styles cannot be used for that anymore.
  • Users who are on the “legacy” dev channel will notice that the “dev channel will cease to work”. These users need to install the new version manually it appears.

Closing Words

The publication of the WebExtension version of uBlock Origin on Mozilla AMO marks the next step in the development of the new version of the popular add-on for Firefox. There is work to be done for sure, but Gorhill still has several months before the change hits Firefox.

The first version is less powerful right now than the current legacy add-on version for Firefox. Most Firefox users may want to stick with the legacy add-on version for now because of that.

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Firefox Add-ons WebExtensions State July 2017

Back in March 2017 and April 2017 we published two articles about Firefox add-ons and the progress that was made towards WebExtensions compatibility.

This article is a follow up to those previous articles. It analyzes the situation in July three and two months after we published the initial articles.

Mozilla plans to release Firefox 57 as a WebExtensions supporting browser only in regards to add-ons. This means that any add-on that is not a WebExtension by that time will stop working. Firefox 57 will be released on November 14, 2017 according to the schedule of Firefox releases.

Legacy add-ons include all classic browser extensions but also themes and some other types of add-ons for the browser.

Note: While Firefox 57 is the target, the change may be postponed by Mozilla, for instance to hit the browser after the next major ESR release in March 2018.

The total number of WebExtensions

firefox 57 compatible addons

Back in the end of April 2017, 2273 add-ons were listed to be compatible with Firefox 57. While the methodology may miss add-ons, it is the best indicator that we have right now.

If you load https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/tag/firefox57 right now, you get 3252 add-ons that are listed as compatible with Firefox 57, an increase of about 50% in two months.

To put this in perspective, Mozilla lists a total of 19550 add-ons on Firefox AMO at the same time. The 3252 add-ons are included in the total which means that about 16% of all add-ons are compatible with Firefox 57 at this point in time. The number is up more than 4% when compared to the situation two months ago.

There are several explanations for the rise. First, that some developers have ported their extensions. New APIs became available in the meantime, and that contributed to the rise as well.

Another reason why WebExtensions are on the rise is that new legacy add-ons are not accepted on AMO anymore. This means that the number of legacy add-ons stagnates, or drops (considering that some add-ons may be removed eventually).

Top Firefox Add-ons and their WebExtension Status

I checked the status of top Firefox in the second article. I checked add-ons with the most users, the highest rating, and the top featured add-ons for that.

Note that the listing is in flux all the time. I decided to concentrate on the add-ons listed in March as it allows me to compare the progress.

Firefox Add-ons with the Most Users

Top-Rated Firefox Add-ons

Top Featured Firefox Add-ons

Stats

  • Working: 7
  • Being Worked On: 5
  • Unknown: 31
  • Won’t be available: 7

The overall situation has not changed much. One extension is now available as a WebExtension, and one was pulled from AMO. This means that the status of most extensions is still unknown. Some are likely being worked on, while others will probably not make the cut.

There is a possibility that some add-ons won’t be ready when Firefox 57 hits, but that they will be released at a later point in time.

Closing Words

About four months are left before Firefox 57 hits the release channel. A lot will happen in those four months, and it is quite difficult to estimate how well things will turn out for users of the browser in regards of ported legacy add-ons.

Now You: Let me know what you think in the comments below.

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TTSFox: Firefox Text to Speech add-on that works offline

TTSFox is a new add-on for the Firefox web browser that adds text to speech functionality to the browser, even when the device is offline.

It can sometimes be useful to have something read aloud to you. This can be the case if you do something that is not directly in front of the monitor, or if the Firefox window is not the active window.

Accessibility may also play a role, for instance if your eyesight is not the best anymore, or if you prefer to listen to text as it is easier for you.

One way for doing so in the Firefox web browser is to use the web browser’s built-in Reader Mode.

Reader Mode works by default on blogs for the most part, and one of the latest versions of it supports voice as well.

TTSFox: Firefox Text to Speech add-on

firefox text to speech

TTSFox is a new Firefox add-on that enables you to listen to any text that you highlight. The add-on is a WebExtension, which is good as it means that it will continue to work once Firefox 57 gets released.

If you have not heard, Mozilla will block classic Firefox add-ons from working in the browser at that point in time. So, any add-on that is not a WebExtension by then, will stop working.

It works by selecting text on the web page that you are on, and clicking on the icon the extension placed in the main Firefox toolbar afterwards.

The interface that opens up looks like the one on the screenshot above. The highlighted text is displayed in the right text field automatically. The left side lists the available speech engines or variants, as well as three sliders to modify the pitch, speed and volume.

The available voices depend on the operating system that you run. On Windows, you get Microsoft David Desktop and Microsoft Zira Desktop. The first is a male voice, the second a female voice.

A click on the speech button starts the read aloud process. You can click on cancel at any time to stop it, but that is in terms of functionality right now.

The add-on is more flexible than Firefox’s Reader Mode when it comes to text that can be read aloud. Virtually any text that you can highlight in a browser tab can be read aloud.

The downside is that you need to highlight text to use the extension. Reader Mode works differently, as it will automatically read all text aloud that is displayed after the page’s conversion to a better readable copy.

TTSFox has an ace up its sleeve however. You can paste or type text into the field as well, to have it read out aloud to you. This means that you can use the extension directly, for instance by pasting a full Word document into the interface.

Closing Words

TTSFox is a handy add-on if you like to use or even need text to speech functionality in the web browser.

Now You: Do you use text to speech?

 

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TTSFox: Firefox Text to Speech add-on that works offline

TTSFox is a new add-on for the Firefox web browser that adds text to speech functionality to the browser, even when the device is offline.

It can sometimes be useful to have something read aloud to you. This can be the case if you do something that is not directly in front of the monitor, or if the Firefox window is not the active window.

Accessibility may also play a role, for instance if your eyesight is not the best anymore, or if you prefer to listen to text as it is easier for you.

One way for doing so in the Firefox web browser is to use the web browser’s built-in Reader Mode.

Reader Mode works by default on blogs for the most part, and one of the latest versions of it supports voice as well.

TTSFox: Firefox Text to Speech add-on

firefox text to speech

TTSFox is a new Firefox add-on that enables you to listen to any text that you highlight. The add-on is a WebExtension, which is good as it means that it will continue to work once Firefox 57 gets released.

If you have not heard, Mozilla will block classic Firefox add-ons from working in the browser at that point in time. So, any add-on that is not a WebExtension by then, will stop working.

It works by selecting text on the web page that you are on, and clicking on the icon the extension placed in the main Firefox toolbar afterwards.

The interface that opens up looks like the one on the screenshot above. The highlighted text is displayed in the right text field automatically. The left side lists the available speech engines or variants, as well as three sliders to modify the pitch, speed and volume.

The available voices depend on the operating system that you run. On Windows, you get Microsoft David Desktop and Microsoft Zira Desktop. The first is a male voice, the second a female voice.

A click on the speech button starts the read aloud process. You can click on cancel at any time to stop it, but that is in terms of functionality right now.

The add-on is more flexible than Firefox’s Reader Mode when it comes to text that can be read aloud. Virtually any text that you can highlight in a browser tab can be read aloud.

The downside is that you need to highlight text to use the extension. Reader Mode works differently, as it will automatically read all text aloud that is displayed after the page’s conversion to a better readable copy.

TTSFox has an ace up its sleeve however. You can paste or type text into the field as well, to have it read out aloud to you. This means that you can use the extension directly, for instance by pasting a full Word document into the interface.

Closing Words

TTSFox is a handy add-on if you like to use or even need text to speech functionality in the web browser.

Now You: Do you use text to speech?

 

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Snap Link Plus: now with checkbox selection

Snap Link Plus is a long standing Firefox add-on that enables you to draw rectangles around links and other content to activate actions.

You can draw a rectangle –using the mouse– around links for instance to open them all at once in the browser. Very handy as you don’t have to click on each link separately to do so.

The process works well on any site: on Google search result pages, on forums, image board, blogs, file hosting sites, torrent sites and any other site where multiple links are provided that you may want to open some or all of.

Snap Link Plus may not offer the same impressive functionality as the — now pulled Multi Links add-on for Firefox — but it offers the core functionality that made it great.

Snap Link Plus

snap links plus

Snap Link Plus works by holding down the right mouse button to draw a rectangle around links or other page elements, and letting go of the right mouse button once the rectangle encloses the content.

Links are opened in a new tab automatically, and Snap Links Plus switches to the first page afterwards.

Another option that you have is to hold down the Ctrl-key before you release the right mouse button. This copies the content to the Clipboard of the operating system.

The Alt-key is also used by the extension. Snap Link Plus works only with elements that have the greatest font size. So, if you enclose links with different font sizes, only the largest is selected. This is useful when sites add smaller links, say author, date or category, links close to links so that they are selected automatically when you draw the rectangle around the core links.

You can bypass this by holding down the Alt-key before releasing the mouse button.

A new feature of Snap Link Plus 3.1.04 is the ability to draw rectangles around buttons, checkboxes, and radio buttons.

Buttons are activated when you release the mouse button, checkboxes selected, and the first button of the selected radio buttons is selected.

The checkbox feature can be quite useful. If you are a WordPress administrator for instance, you know that some admin features such as post or comment selection uses checkboxes. Instead of having to select each checkbox individually, you could use Snap Link Plus for that to save time and some sanity.

The one downside is that Snap Link Plus does not offer any options whatsoever. There is no option to open links in a new window, or bookmark them, for instance. The great Multi Links offered more options, such as mapping functions to the middle and left mouse button, or downloading the linked content directly.

Closing Words

Snap Link Plus is a handy  browser extension for the Firefox web browser. It offers the core functionality that made Multi Links great, and that should be sufficient for the majority of users. It could use a couple of extra options though.

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