I've decided I'm going to expand on my earlier post about customizing Firefox with extensions. A lot of the things people have asked for recently can only be accomplished with extensions, so I want to try to give people a very basic handle on creating extensions so I can then give sample code of the specific things people are trying to do.
My goal here is NOT to teach people how to build extensions. You can find that information on AMO or MDN. My goal is give people a very basic understanding of how one particular type of extension works so I can produce simple code snippets you can drop in and use for your Firefox distribution. If you need anything more complex, you're going to have to hire me.
This article on Ars Technica seemed to fly under the radar, so I wanted to make sure people saw it.
Ars browser shootout: which Web browser is best for business?
I was interviewed for the article. You can see my comments on page 4.
I've saved the most powerful method of customizing Firefox for last - writing an extension. Firefox extensions allow you to customize just about every aspect of Firefox. You can override default behaviors, customize the user interface, change and lock default preferences, even replace entire components.
NOTE: None of the methods documented in this post work anymore. The safe mode dialog was changed and I can find no way to prevent it from displaying.
I have one more post planned about customizing Firefox with add-ons and the CCK Wizard, but I wanted to get this out in the mean time.
A lot of people ask how to disable safe mode in Firefox in an enterprise environment. This post will tell you how to do it with an add-on.
Update: I have made major modifications to this post. I was not aware that Firefox copied the contents of the defaults/profile directory on the file system after using the files on omni.ja(r).
This next method of customization is not as widely used, but it is still worth mentioning. It involves changing the files that Firefox uses when creating a new profile. We'll also take this opportunity to talk about userContent.css and userChrome.css which we mentioned earlier.
In many of my previous posts about installing add-ons into Firefox, I have mentioned the distribution directory. While I've primarily indicated that it is a place for installing add-ons, it's actually useful for more than that. Files in the distribution directory are what allow for custom Firefox distributions like Firefox with Twitter or anything produced by build your own browser. Besides installing add-ons with a distribution, there are two other things you can do: install search engines and customize preferences and bookmarks with a file called distribution.ini.
We're almost done with autoconfig files. My previous posts covered what an autoconfig file is and how to create one. Now we're going to discover how truly powerful the autoconfig feature is.
In my earlier post, I went over the basics of enabling an autoconfig file. In this post, I'm going to give more detail on what is in an autoconfig file, as well as how to debug autoconfig files. Before we get started, though, I need to provide some new information about offline autoconfig.
I’m doing a series where I go over each method of customizing Firefox (that I know about) and detail how it works and what it can change. Next up in our series on customizing Firefox is the infamous autoconfig file.
Before I go into detail about how autoconfig works, I want to give you a quick history lesson. This is the story of Netscape Mission Control Desktop (MCD).
IMPORTANT: As of Firefox 21, there are two locations for default preferences, defaults/pref and browser/defaults/preferences. Because of the order in which Firefox loads files from these two locations, some preferences can't be set in defaults/pref. If you find a preference doesn't work in one location, try it in the other..
One of the most talked about subjects on the Enterprise Working Group Mailing List is customizing Firefox. There are quite a few different methods that people are using today, and there are more that people don't know about.
I'm going to do a series where I go over each method (that I know about) and detail how it works and what it can change. This should allow people that are customizing Firefox to make more informed choices about which method to use.
The first method we're going to talk about is adding default preference files.