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Quickly navigating Web pages with Firefox extensions

By Shashank Sharma on March 24, 2008 (8:00:00 AM)

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Two things annoy me a lot when I'm browsing the Internet. First, I hate unclickable links, where I have to select the text link, open a new tab, paste the link, then press enter. I'd much rather deal with links that I can just click to open. The other issue is being forced to manually edit a URL in the address bar if I want to browse up one level on a site. Linkification and Uppity are two Firefox extensions that make my annoyances go away.

Extension logo

Installing these Firefox extensions, like installing any other Firefox extension, is just a matter of clicking the shiny green Install Now button from the extensions' homepages. You'll find both the extensions enabled after a browser restart to complete the installation.

Clickable links

For an example of why you might want to use the Linkification extension, visit its home page. Notice the unclickable links under the Developer Comments section? With the Linkification extension installed and enabled, you can open such links with a single click. By default, all modified links, when clicked with the middle mouse button, the left mouse button, or double-clicked, open in a new tab in the same browser window, and you can't modify this behavior.

To configure the extension, click Tools -> Addons and then Preferences after selecting Linkification from the list. All configuration settings for the Linkification extension are divided into four tabs on the Linkification Options dialog box. Under the General tab, you can choose whether Linkification should reside in Firefox's status bar and enable auto-linkification. From the Links tab you can define colors for linkified text. I consider this a convenient option since I like to know just by looking at a link whether I have to thank Linkification for it. Other options under the Links tab let you decide what types of Links should be linkified on any page. For instance, you can configure Linkification to not linkify email addresses or URLs for images.

The extension also has a configurable whitelist/blacklist. Click the Functionality tab and under the Auto-Linkify Whitelist/Blacklist heading, click the "Never Auto-Linkify the following domains" check box. You can then fill in the names of all sites you want the Linkification extension to ignore in the text field at the bottom. You'll notice that Linkification is configured by default to ignore google.com. Remove it from there, click OK, and make a search on google.com, and you'll see why google.com is in the blacklist. To similarly create a whitelist, click the "Only Auto-Linkify the following domains" check box. You can enable either the whitelist or the blacklist, but not both at the same time.

The fourth tab on the Linkification Options dialog box is Advanced. You can specify text protocols and their relevant link protocols here. By default, Linkification maps h...s to https, h??p to http, f.p to ftp, and so on. Whenever Linkification encounters one of the protocols in text, it will automatically substitute it with the relevant link protocol and make the link clickable.

Clicking on the Linkification element on the status bar linkifies all text links on the current page whether or not that page is in the blacklist.

Changing levels

To cater to my other complaint, the Uppity extension, when installed, places a green-colored up arrow on the status bar. Every time you click this little arrow when browsing through a Web site, you will navigate up one level on that site. Depending on what Uppity encounters first, it will remove an in-page anchor, query strings, file name, or the last directory from the current URL to move you up. For instance, if you're reading an article on Wikipedia and have used the Contents menu to jump to a section of the article, when you click the Uppity arrow on the status bar, it will remove the in-page anchor and jump you back to the top of the article. If you click the arrow again, you'll be taken to the main page.

Similarly, if you're reading through some forum thread, clicking the Uppity arrow will move you to the parent forum section. And, if you click the Uppity arrow when leafing through pages of search results produced by Google, the query string will be removed and you'll immediately go back to Google home page.

Every Monday we highlight a different extension, plugin, or add-on. Write an article of less than 1,000 words telling us about one that you use and how it makes your work easier, along with tips for getting the most out of it. If we publish it, we'll pay you $100. (Send us a query first to be sure we haven't already published a story on your chosen topic recently or have one in hand.)

Shashank Sharma specializes in writing about free and open source software for new users and moderates the Linux.com forum boards. He is the coauthor of Beginning Fedora, published by Apress.

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on Quickly navigating Web pages with Firefox extensions

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Quickly navigating Web pages with Firefox extensions

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 208.67.219.228] on March 24, 2008 08:51 AM
Quickly navigating? Come guys, proof read?

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Re: Quickly navigating Web pages with Firefox extensions

Posted by: Nathan Willis on March 24, 2008 05:46 PM
"Come guys, proof read?" Come on, anonymous guy. Preview.

Nate

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Quickly navigating Web pages with Firefox extensions

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 90.37.124.239] on March 24, 2008 09:43 AM
With the same idea than uppity, I really like digger :
https://addons.mozilla.org/fr/firefox/addon/1467
You have a drop down menu and you are able to navigate up several levels at a time.

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Quickly navigating Web pages with Firefox extensions

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 78.23.231.83] on March 24, 2008 01:15 PM
Uppity also has a drop down menu.

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Quickly navigating Web pages with Firefox extensions

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 59.36.156.205] on March 24, 2008 04:21 PM
How could you write about quick navigation without mentioning mouse gesture navigation such as MileWideBack?

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Quickly navigating Web pages with Firefox extensions

Posted by: Norberto Bensa on March 24, 2008 07:07 PM
Too bad Mozilla is promoting FF3Bx stable enough for everyday usage and these extensions only work with FF2...

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Quickly navigating Web pages with Firefox extensions

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 78.163.112.225] on March 24, 2008 07:54 PM
Navigations are good on mozilla.But i dont like last version


[Modified by: Nathan Willis on March 24, 2008 03:34 PM]

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Quickly navigating Web pages with Firefox extensions

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 169.3.131.50] on March 24, 2008 09:45 PM
man are we getting to the point where we can't just hit the backspace button anymore :P I do like digger's "you are able to navigate up several levels at a time" though.

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Quickly navigating Web pages with Firefox extensions

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 199.64.0.252] on April 03, 2008 05:16 PM
The Google Toolbar also has the same functionality as uppity, but more powerful (like digger). Google toolbar rules.

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Quickly navigating Web pages with Firefox extensions

Posted by: toronto on April 05, 2008 01:51 AM
But some people don't like using the big G toolbar.

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Quickly navigating Web pages with Firefox extensions

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 85.107.228.242] on April 10, 2008 10:25 AM
I am using the above mentioned Firefox extension for some time and i must say that it clearly speed up my browsing. Extensions are the main reason that i choose Firefox as the flexibility should be the key point. I have just started a new site about <a href="http://www.prcodes.com/pagerank-increase-but-how.html">Google pagerank increase</a> and the <a href="https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/2007">live pagerank extension</a> for Firefox which displays the pageranks of the browsed web page instantly is also one of my favourite Firefox extension.

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