Okay… first, if you don’t know what a browser is (don’t feel ashamed if you don’t – and no, it is not Google) but a browser is a program that allows you to access websites. Here’s a quick video explanation:
The 4 most popular web browsers are: Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome and Safari. Internet Explorer is the most dominant at 60% of the market (which is much lower than I was actually expecting), followed by 20% Firefox, 8% Chrome and 7% Safari. The latest versions of all 4 of these browsers allow you to add extensions.
As a web developer, extensions have become very important with helping me get through everyday things – mostly with debugging (i.e. finding issues). These are a few notable ones that I find the most useful.
1. Firebug (Firefox and Chrome)
2. Screen Capture (Chrome) and Screengrab (Firefox)
Both of these are nice screen capture extensions. Yes, you can take screenshots by pressing CTRL + PrintScr (or ALT + PrintScr for a specific window only) but these are much better. For one thing, they allow you to choose between just capturing the visible content (which CTRL + PrintScr only allows), the whole page or even just a specific region. Screen Capture also has an additional feature that allows you to highlight/underline certain areas in your screenshot.
First, FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. FTP clients are used to copy one file from one host to another. So whether you have your own web hosting account or you are trying to access someone else’s, a FTP client lets you move files to and from that host. FireFTP is nice because you don’t have to install another standalone FTP client, such as SmartFTP or WS_FTP. Instead, you can easily open it directly as another tab right in your browser.
4. Web Developer (Firefox and Chrome) and IE Developer Toolbar (IE Versions 7 or Less)
For IE 8 users, you don’t need to install a separate toolbar. It automatically comes as part of the browser. You can find it under “Tools” -> “Developer Tools” or just press F12.
5. HttpWatch (IE and Firefox) or HttpFox (Firefox)
This one also is mostly for developers also. It’s great for monitoring how your website loads. If you were ever wondering if a certain element was slowing your site down, you’ll be able to see exactly in the order that it is loaded on the page and how long it took. You can also see other details in the headers and cookies.