New Firefox app lets users pimp their browsers

'Fashion Your Firefox' Web app simplifies choosing and installing add-ons

Mozilla Tuesday unveiled a Web application that speeds Firefox customization by offering users several sets of pre-selected add-ons.

Dubbed "Fashion Your Firefox," the online application provides nine sets of Firefox extensions, each with a catchy label and some descriptive text.

"Digital Rat Pack," for example, touts itself as an add-on collection to "keep track of favorite sites, bookmarks and blogs." Other sets range from "News Junkie" and "Finder and Seeker" to "Shutterbug" and "Executive Assistant."

Each set includes between three and eight separate add-ons, which can be installed individually or as a group after checking boxes beside each desired extension. In the News Junkie group, Mozilla offers Forecastfox, which puts weather forecast information in the browser's toolbar or status bar; Wizz RSS News Reader; Morning Coffee, an add-on that automatically opens a user-defined set of sites; and Read It Later, a plug-in that lets users quickly save pages for later reading without having to clutter up Firefox's bookmarks.

"One of the best parts about Firefox is the amazing richness of our 5,000-plus free add-ons," Mike Shaver, vice president of engineering, said in a statement Tuesday.

The Fashion Your Firefox application requires Firefox 3.0, and is currently available only in English; support for other languages is "in the works," however according to Mozilla.

In a post to his blog , David Rolnitzky, the add-ons program manager, said Mozilla would probably add more collections later, and cited a trio of possibilities: "News Hound," which would focus on news alerts; "Web Monkey," a group of extension specifically for Web site developers; and "Multi-media," which would concentrate on video-, music- and photo-related add-ons.

Also according to Rolnitzky, Firefox users have downloaded a total of 1 billion add-ons since the browser debuted in 2004.

More information about Fashion Your Firefox is available in a short FAQ on the Mozilla site.

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Gregg Keizer

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
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