Skip to content


(I was learning)

Firefox follow-up

Personal preference only

I previously wrote about some ways to make Firefox a little more usable, which also happened to make it a little more Safari-like. This time I have three more ways to make Firefox behave a little more like Safari, however it has nothing to do with general usability, but only my own preference and habits that come from using Safari as my primary browser.

The first two are regarding the location bar, which was also touched upon last time.

Old skool location bar

I have not yet become accustommed to the FF3 location bar dropdown. There is just too much going on there for my tastes. The simple little plugin oldbar does a good job of calming things down to the way they were in FF2, getting rid of all the color and collapsing each entry into a single line.

Location bar inline completion

When I first started using Safari the location bar’s inline completion just about drove me mad. But I eventually got used to it. Now I prefer it, and typing old URLs into Firefox made me twitch everytime I had to hit the down arrow for the first result. A simple how-to on the How-To Geek reveals the preference for Firefox’s inline completion.

The article demonstrates the point-and-click, about:config method. That works just fine, but I prefer to keep my modifications in my profile’s user.js file. You’ll find it at ~/Library/Application Support/Firefox/Profiles/[gibberish]/user.js

// Auto-complete location bar Safari style.
pref("browser.urlbar.autoFill", true);

Tab to form elements only

Often my testing in Firefox involves forms. I prefer working my way through forms with the tab key. (And I get angry when designers remove the focus ring from form elements with their CSS reset. But that’s another discussion for another day.) I hate having to tab through every dang link in the page to get to the form! It’s a waste of time. Rather, I prefer to tab between every form element, and nothing else.

Fortunately I found a tip for setting tab key preferences. This preference will also go into our user.js file. The article says that a setting of 2 will not focus on textarea elements, but it does for me. </shrug> Setting it to 3 may also work.

// Tab-focus on all form elements, not links.
pref("accessibility.tabfocus", 2);

Happy Browsing, New Year

I hope these tips make your life a just a smidgen easier, as they have mine. I wish you happy browsing and a Happy New Year!