Search across all Firefox tabs with Search Multi Tabs

Search Multi Tabs is a new extension for the Firefox web browser that enables you to search across all open Firefox tabs at once.

Veteran Firefox users may remember extensions such as Tabby2 from 2011, Findbar Tweak from 2013 or Hugo Search All Tabs from 2013 which offered the same functionality. All of these extensions are not compatible with Firefox 57 anymore as Mozilla removed support for the classic add-on system in that release.

Search Multi Tabs

firefox search multi tabs

Search Multi Tabs is the first WebExtensions-based extension for Firefox that supports searching across all open Firefox tabs.

The extension adds a new sidebar to Firefox when you install it. It opens automatically after installation but no shortcut key is mapped to it. You may use the extension’s icon to open the search interface. Use the View menu of the menubar (press the Alt-key to display it), or an existing shortcut such as Ctrl-B, to open the sidebar alternatively.

Search works as you’d expect it to. Enter a search term and hit the search button to get started. Search Multi Tabs searches all open tabs and displays the hits in its interface.

It displays the favicon and title of the page, and buttons that you may use to interact with it. Use the buttons to reload a tab, close it, duplicate it or to erase the list. Buttons are provided to go to the first tab or to open a blank tab.

Hits on the page are listed below each entry which you may click on to jump to that position directly.

A click on details displays search parameters that you may modify. The extension searches the body by default, and you may enable “highlight”, “entire word” and “case sensitive” parameters for that search type.

You may switch to “title or URL only”, and also include private browsing tabs in the search.

The extension searches loaded pages only. If Firefox is configured to lazy load tabs, only those that are loaded will be searched.

Closing Words

Search Multi Tabs is a useful extension for the Firefox web browser to run searches across all open tabs in the Firefox web browser. Firefox users who open lots of tabs in the browser may find it more useful than users who run one or only a handful of tabs at a time.

Now You: Do you use search extensions for your browser?

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Bitdefender TrafficLight for Firefox 2.0 released

Security company Bitdefender has releaser Bitdefender TrafficLight for Firefox 2.0, a security extension for Mozilla’s Firefox web browser today.

The new version of Bitdefender TrafficLight for Firefox is the first version that is based on the WebExtensions system.

It introduces new functionality such as whitelist functionality and a system and design update among other new features.

Bitdefender Trafficlight

bitdefender trafficlight for firefox

Bitdefender Trafficlight for Firefox is a standalone browser extension; a running Bitdefender security solution is not required to use the program.

The main feature of the browser extension is to inform you about the detected security level of web pages that you open in the browser.

This works similarly to how other security extensions handle it; whenever you load a site in Firefox, Bitdefender TrafficLight checks with Bitdefender to find out whether the page is flagged.

The extension displays a green icon for safe pages and a red icon for potentially malicious or risky pages. The extension checks each page for malware, phishing or fraud flags and reports its findings to you on page load.

malware flag bitdefender

Bitdefender TrafficLight displays its safety icons on supported search engines as well. It works on some search sites only; while you get the icons on Google Search, Yahoo Search, DuckDuckGo and Bing, you don’t get them on Startpage, Yandex, or Baidu.

The extension adds the icon in front of the page title in the results. One issue that you may have with that is that this makes identification difficult on some search engines. DuckDuckGo, for instance, displays icons of the site as well which may lead to confusion and mistakes.

The third and final reporting feature that Bitdefender TrafficLight for Firefox supports is the extension’s tracker detection feature. The extension detects loaded trackers and lists them in its interface.

The tracker feature is limited to the detection of trackers; functionality to block some or all trackers is not available.

The extension’s settings page lists options to turn of any of the core features of the security extension. It does not make much sense to disable all three but you may use it to disable redundant functionality or features that you don’t require. The Tracker Detector is probably the feature that is turned off the most considering that it is not overly useful (other than to reveal how many trackers a site uses).

You may add sites to the whitelist. BitDefender TrafficLight won’t check sites that you add to the whitelist.

Closing Words

BitDefender TrafficLight for Firefox offers security readings for sites that you visit and sites listed by supported search engines. The extension is an informational tool only, it does not block you from visiting flagged sites.

The extension does display an intermediary page when you visit a flagged site. You can still proceed or whitelist the URL in question.

The newest version of the extension worked well during tests. The checking of individual visited pages and search results did not slow down the rendering of these pages noticeably. Some users reported higher CPU use after installing the extensions on some sites but I did not experience any of that.

Now You: Do you use security extensions?

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Dark Reader dark theme extension for Firefox

Dark Reader is a popular browser extension for Google Chrome which its developer, Alexander Shutov, released for Mozilla Firefox recently.

The basic idea of the extension is to turn any website design to a dark theme design for better readability especially at night when too bright sites become harder to look at.

Dark themes are quite popular and users who want to use them on sites have multiple options. Common options include installing extensions or userstyles for the purpose.

Dark Reader is an open source extension that is available for Chrome and now also for Firefox.

Dark Reader

dark reader

Dark Reader changes the color scheme of any site you visit to a dark one by default. It adds an icon to Firefox’s toolbar which you can activate to interact with the extension.

You can toggle the functionality on the activate site or disable the extension’s functionality there.

The extension supports two main modes: the first changes the theme of any site automatically to a dark one while the second does not. It switches to a dark theme only for selected sites that you have whitelisted in the program options.

Dark Reader comes with the handy shortcut Alt-Shift-A to add sites to that list. This shortcut does not work properly in Firefox however as the Alt-key is mapped to the menu bar. So, instead of adding a site to the Dark Reader listing, you open the Firefox menu bar instead.

Considering that this is the first version for Firefox, it is probably only a matter of time before this gets fixed.

Dark Reader displays some customization options when you activate the menu. You can switch between dark and light mode, and can change brightness, contrast, grayscale and sepia values individually.

A switch to the font menu displays options to change the font type but not other font related values such as size.

The final tab, sites list, lists all sites that you added to the extension. There you may also switch from “apply the dark theme to all sites” to “apply it only to sites that I have added”.

The dark layer that the extension applies to sites works fine on most sites you visit. If  a site needs work in particular, you can either disable it so that it won’t get the dark theme treatment, or report the issue to the developer in hope that he will address the issue in future versions.

Obviously, you could also install a userscript or userstyle for particular sites and use these in combination with Dark Reader.

Closing Words

Dark Reader is a powerful extension that brings a dark mode to any site you visit in Firefox and Chrome. It features the right level of control with its ignore or whitelist only approach to things.

Now You: Do you apply dark themes to sites?

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Firefox 60 with new preference to disable FTP

Mozilla plans to release Firefox 60 with a new preference to disable support for the FTP protocol. The preference is disabled by default so that FTP sites can still be accessed in Firefox 60.

FTP, just like HTTP, is on its way out. Browser makers, site operators and hosting companies move to newer protocols that support encryption among other things to better protect user data against spying and manipulation.

The next step in the migration from HTTP to HTTPS is the flagging of HTTP sites as insecure in browsers. Google Chrome will do so in Chrome 68, and Mozilla plans to launch it in the Firefox private browsing mode when Firefox 60 is released.

FTPS, also known as FTP Secure, or FTP over SSL, is an extension to the FTP protocol.While most browsers support the FTP protocol, the same cannot be said for FTPS support.

Mozilla, for instance, never implemented the functionality officially in Firefox. In fact, the organization put the FTP protocol on life support more than 2 years ago when it began to resolve security issues exclusively.

Mozilla employe Patric McManus highlighted as much two years ago on Mozilla’s official bug tracking site.

We are in a period where ftp is clearly deprecated and in general, making changes to the code is riskier than letting it ride unless there is a patch and reviewer available to make a good judgment about it. So I’m going to wontfix ftp bugs related to enhancements, interop errors, etc.. We will be better off putting our energy into including a different js based ftp stack.

We ran a story back in 2015 that Google and Mozilla might drop support for the FTP protocol in the future.

While Mozilla has not set a date for the removal of the protocol yet, it is a given that Firefox will stop supporting the protocol at one point in time.

network.ftp.enabled

The first step towards the goal is the introduction of a new Firefox preference to disable the FTP protocol in the browser. The preference network.ftp.enabled is set to true which means that it has no effect on protocol support at this point in time. Firefox users and administrators who want to disable FTP can do so by setting it to false.

  1. Make sure you run Firefox 60 or newer.
  2. Load about:config?=network.ftp.enabled in the Firefox address bar.
  3. Double-click on the preference to set it to false. This disables the FTP protocol in Firefox.

You can reset the preference at any time by double-clicking on it or right-clicking on it and selecting “reset” in the context menu.

Firefox redirects any attempt to load a FTP resource to the default search engine if the FTP protocol is disabled.

Closing Words

I’m worried about sites that do get left behind once browser makers decide to block HTTP or FTP. Not all sites or servers will be migrated, abandoned sites may not for instance, and it is unclear to me whether there will still be options to access these resources in future versions of the browsers.

Granted, it will take years before Mozilla, Firefox or Microsoft pull the plug but as it stands now, that day will come.

Now You: What’s your take on this? (via Sören)

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uBlock Origin Development Add-on for Firefox

Raymond Hill (Gorhill), the developer of uBlock Origin, released the Firefox add-on uBlock Origin dev build to Mozilla’s Firefox Add-ons website recently.

Active uBlock Origin Beta users on Firefox may wonder why the development build version was released as a new add-on and not on the beta channel of the primary uBlock Origin add-on listing.

The release notes on the project’s Github page provide an explanation for that. According to the posted information, Mozilla will disable the option to publish beta versions of extensions using the beta channel on AMO next week.

I’ve received an email from Mozilla informing me that starting February 22nd, 2018, the beta channel on AMO will no longer be available for developers to publish beta versions of their extensions.

uBlock Origin Development Add-on for Firefox

ublock origin dev build firefox

The decision means that developers cannot publish release and beta versions of add-ons using a single add-on listing anymore. Developers who maintain development and release channels of their extensions for Firefox need to create multiple add-on listings now to continue that practice.

Existing beta version users of uBlock Origin will be moved to the latest release version of the extension automatically once the stable version reaches a version that is greater than that of the beta version.

As per email, those using the beta version of uBO will be automatically moved to the latest release version of uBO when the release version become greater than the last version available in the beta channel.

Firefox users who want to use the development build version of uBlock Origin need to install uBlock Origin Dev Build, a new add-on, to do so.  This version works just like the old beta version but is maintained now on a separate channel.

Since the extension is not linked in any way to the stable version (or vice versa), all settings and subscriptions will be set to default upon installation. Users who want to retain the settings need to use the extension’s settings backup and restore functionality to address the limitation.

Here is how that is done:

  1. Load about:addons in the Firefox address bar.
  2. Activate the uBlock Origin options.
  3. Select the “back up to file”option under Settings, and save the text document to the local system.
  4. Remove the stable version of uBlock Origin from Firefox.
  5. Install the development version of uBlock Origin instead.
  6. Select “restore from file” in the uBlock Origin settings, and then the previously saved text file to import the settings again.

Closing Words

We don’t know how many add-ons are affected by the change but it will change things around quite a bit: Mozilla AMO will list multiple versions of the add-on now instead of just one, users who run beta editions need to switch to development builds (if offered) to continue using these, and the separate listing of development add-ons may lead to the installation of these add-ons by users who wanted to install the stable version.

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