Experiments in Tinkering Around with Firefox 4
Sometime around 2008, Google released Chrome and simultaneously, the top secret body of Browser UI Designers Worldwide decided the hip new way to make a browser is by un-making the browser and stripping out everything most people don’t really need. It took a while for the memo to reach me, but it did, and now I spend an inordinate amount of time tricking out my Firefox 4 install into looking like this:
I know, it’s amazing! I never thought President Saleh would step down. But also awesome is that browser UI you’re looking at. It’s a single strip with back/forward, a Gmail app-tab, the tab bar and a couple of useful buttons at the end. I haven’t figured out a way to solve the ugly-looking caption buttons at the very end. Maybe if I did, the browser would look awesome, it would refuse to work. It’s a theory.
The address bar, search and the gloriously orange Firefox button show-up when you hover over the top strip. This might seem annoying, but it actually isn’t. Also, the top-strip (I call it that because it’s kinky) has one uber-new-tab-button, which says “Click anywhere on me to make a new tab” (mostly it just says “+”).
Here’s another screenshot, with my totally pimped out context menu.
It isn’t perfect though, there’s a lot of inelegancies left. For one, the add-on bar stays down until I manually call it up with the Ctrl+/ shortcut key. The need for the bookmarks bar was eliminated with the help of Fast Dial for Firefox, which is a much more fun way to store and use bookmarks anyway. The bookmarks bar itself only shows up on new tabs/fast dial tabs, as it has my RSS feeds on it (can’t do without RSS feeds in my browser). This makes things look cluttered.
Seeing as how the hover-bar is unlikely to be lapped up by every browser user on the planet, I’ll be modest and not call this the browser UI of the future. It’s just the browser UI of the future’s future.
Most customisations have been achieved with a wealth of Stylish userstyles, most of them modified by me for compatibility. Add-ons helped a lot too, but mostly just the Moveable Firefox Button add-on, which should totally be an in-built feature in Firefox 5.