Thoughts on software and life.

Wednesday November 10

toolbar clutter

I am excited about the flurry of Firefox extensions being produced lately, but it is a little disheartening to see that extension authors don't always share the same design standards that Firefox's own developers do. One particular example that really stands out is the cloud of toolbar extensions, like those for Google, Yahoo, A9, and many many others.

The obvious problem with these toolbars is that they generally have one or two controls you want to use, and a whole bunch that you probably won't ever use. It's ok to bundle extra features, but these toolbars take an entire horizontal row on the toolbar and cannot be broken apart. Install just one of these things and already you've blown away all of the elegance that defines Firefox.

It doesn't have to be this way. Firefox's toolbars are customizable, and extensions can install their toolbar controls so that each one can be moved around or removed by the user with the Customize Toolbar dialog.

I suspect that many extension authors just don't know about this feature, and that some documentation would go a long way towards resolving the situation.

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