Modern Web Browsers and Extension Suggestions

Firefox LogoAs web marketers and developers we sometimes get too involved in all things web, and it’s a great idea to occasionally step back and view the technologies we are so used to interacting with from a new or different perspective.

Recently, a client was reviewing her newly developed website while using the outdated and no longer supported web browser Internet Explorer 6 (IE6).  Modern web development often uses advanced techniques that will not display correctly in IE6; instead of a nice orderly layout, the header might be completely missing, and among many other problems, the content columns are often found haphazardly placed on the page.  We were happy to quickly resolve the discrepancies of her broken browsing experience by suggesting a browser change to Firefox, and an upgrade for Internet Explorer.

Because modern browsers make it possible for the web to be a more advanced and feature rich place, it’s a good idea to evaluate your web browsing tools and options and make sure your preferred browser is up to snuff and up to date!

Here are the browsers that will provide an optimal browsing experience on today’s web:

  • Mozilla Firefox – with an active non-profit development team focused on innovation, as well as a wide variety of useful add-ons, Firefox is a powerful browser.
  • Google Chrome – Google’s official browser.  Chrome is fast, free, and has a growing base of add-ons (extensions).
  • Internet Explorer 8 or 9 – if you’re a Windows user and you aren’t comfortable installing a 3rd party browser, it’s best to make sure your Internet Explorer is updated to the latest version.
  • Safari – if you’re a Mac user and you aren’t comfortable installing a 3rd party browser, it’s best to make sure your Safari browser is updated to the latest version.

If you’re using Firefox and you’d like to take advantage of the ability to install add-ons, below are a few of the extensions we recommend and use every day:

  • Update Scanner – regularly scans web pages and alerts the user if changes have been made.
  • Rapportive – provides in-depth details about your Gmail contacts inside your inbox.
  • Pearl Crescent Page Saver – one of many screen capture extensions, Pearl Crescent covers the basics and works well to capture an entire page as well as just the visible portion.
  • PageRank Client – With Google Toolbar no longer supported past Firefox version 4, PageRank Client replaces one of  Google Toolbar’s functions by providing you with a web page’s Google PageRank.
  • GBookmarks – similar to the PageRank extension above, GBookmarks replaces a function previously found on the Google Toolbar: access to your Google Bookmarks in the browser menu bar.
  • MeasureIt – an invaluable web development tool, MeasureIt allows you to draw a pixel ruler overlay on a web page to determine the width or height of elements on the page.
  • Firebug – another invaluable web development tool, FireBug is an incredibly full-featured web development debugging tool which is used in all aspects of web development.
  • Copy Pure Text – adds the handy ability to strip formatting off of copied text.

Chrome’s web store also provides MeasureIt and Firebug (Lite version), as well as equally awesome extensions for most of the functions found in the list above.

What are your tips and tricks for a more powerful web browsing experience? What browser extensions could you not live without?  Please let us know your suggestions and favorite browser extensions and tools in the comments section below!

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