Our browser of choice here at Formstack is Firefox. We also like Safari, Chrome, and pretty much any browser that isn’t Internet Explorer. I may do a post in the future about the pros and cons of each web browser out there, but the main reasons we like Firefox are that it works, it conforms to modern web standards, and it has a ton of useful extensions that make life easier.
The most important Firefox extension we use is probably Firebug. Firebug helps us quickly troubleshoot HTML and CSS on forms and user’s websites. If you have any issues embedding a Formstack form on your website, such as weird spacing or borders, you can highlight the offending area on your webpage and click “Inspect element” and Firebug will show you the problem area in your code.
Along those same lines is the Web Developer extension, which is useful for measuring page elements, matching colors, and many other things.
My favorite Firefox extension is probably Autofill Forms. This extension, as the name implies, allows you to fill out long forms with the click of a button. As I spend half my day filling out and testing user forms to solve issues, so this extension is a huge time saver that I wouldn’t want to do without. It also comes in handy in my normal life for filling out forms for myself on other websites.
Another one of my favorites, since I have multiple Gmail accounts, is WebMail Notifier. It lets you know when you have new mail at web-based email services such as Gmail, Yahoo, and Hotmail. It also let’s you log into those services with a click of the mouse. I use this at work so I always know within a few seconds when I have new email.
MeasureIt is a simple extension that lets you draw a ruler across any web page to check the width, height, or alignment of page elements in pixels. It’s a good way to see how large you’ll want to make a header image for a specific template, for example.
As I’ve mentioned previously on this blog, we use Yammer to communicate internally here at Formstack. I like these notifications to pop up in my browser so I don’t have to run yet another bloated, stand-alone client. For this I used to use YammerFox, but Yammer dropped support for this extension a couple years ago for some reason and it no longer works with Firefox 4+. Luckily, a kind Yammer user has updated the extension to work with Firefox 4+ and released it for free here.
I don’t use it myself, but Kyle recommends Awesome Screenshot for taking screen captures. He uses this to take screen captures for blog posts and support tickets. I use a paid program called Snagit, which has their own Firefox extension. Our customers use screenshots to show us specific issues they are having with our product.
Another extension I’ve come to rely on is PDF Download, as I deal with a lot of PDFs and Firefox’s native PDF support is weak. You can use this to view your exported Formstack Report PDFs.
Finally, to avoid running a standalone Twitter client, I run Echofon to bring my Twitter notifications into Firefox. With emails, Yammer and Twitter all in my browser, they’re much less distracting and easier to keep on top of while doing other things. If you’re easily distracted from building your forms or doing other work, I would advise you to do the same.
If you have a Firefox extension that makes it easier to use Formstack or just makes your life easier in general, we’d love to hear about it. Please share it in the comments below.