While sharing my browser during a DEN webinar last night, I was surprised to see the hot topic of conversation wasn’t the public beta of the new DEN website that I was sharing…. rather it was the various bookmarklets and links that I have saved in my Bookmarks toolbar.
I guess I don’t really think about it much, but that really is a bag of tricks that I depend on daily, and there’s some fantastic tools there that I’ve gathered together over the years. SO, I thought that I’d share a brief glimpse into my ‘dashboard’, the view that surrounds my view, all the toys gadgets and gizmos that customize my browsing experience.
First of all, my browser of choice is still Firefox. I’m on the verge of switching to Chrome, as I think it’s faster and more stable, but for now I like the suite of plugins and utilities that I have set up in Firefox better. Since I often have more than 25 tabs open at a time, real estate is always at a premium. That’s why I go with the Classic Compact Firefox theme. It’s about as small as you can get while still having actual icons for the primary buttons. Clean and minimal, that’s how I like my browser themes. The only plugin I have that adds actual buttons to the browser is Delicious. And to be honest, that can probably go as I don’t use any more functionality than I would out of a bookmarklet. However… My space for bookmarklets is pretty limited as you’ll see shortly.
In the status bar (that bar along the bottom that displays what URL you’re about to click on when you hover over a link), I have five tools. The first is the MeasureIt plugin, which resides in the lower left. This is a simple tool, but I use it almost daily. Click on it and your screen goes grayish. Then, you can draw a box anywhere on your screen and it will tell you how many pixels each side is. Incredibly handy for measuring web elements, pictures, embedded objects and so on. Honestly, it’s pretty darn close to indispensable. On the right hand side I have the Delicious notifiers, and a Google Wave notifier, but to be honest I rarely look at those. They could go away and I wouldn’t notice. I also have an indicator letting me know that Greasemonkey is running, another that I don’t really even ‘see’ anymore. But then we come to the far lower right, which is reserved for something I check nearly every day: Woot Watcher. It displays what the deal of the day is for Woot, and during a Woot Off it displays roughly how many of an item is left before it switches. I’m a big fan of Woot, and yes, I do glance down at that daily.
This brings us to the heart and soul of my web based toolbox: the bookmarklets. For those that don’t know, a bookmarklet is basically a bookmark, but instead of taking you to a favorite web page, it performs a function. I actually wrote a post on bookmarklets a few years ago, but the info looks to still be valid. I have quite a few of them in my browser bar and use most of them pretty regularly. In that they appear in my browser bar, here’s my current list:
Flickr2Facebook – Just a simple exporter that will help you move photos from Flickr to Facebook. Go to a Flickr page, click the bookmarklet, and choose what Facebook album you want it to go into. Easy!
Since you can store folders on a Browser bar, I do actually have a couple of those as well. In side I have a slew of websites that I want easy access to. You can even put folders inside folders, to create a nice hierarchy of sites that you want to be able to access quickly. Nothing fancy, but it does work pretty well.
So that’s my browser bag of tricks. Got any that I’m missing? Or something you think people ought to know about?