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Chrome Extensions That Replace Firefox For Web Designers

I’ve always preferred the speed and UI of Chrome over Firefox, but stuck with Firefox as my primary browser because there were too many add-ons I relied on daily for work (web design/development) and personal browsing.

However, I finally set aside an afternoon to research available chrome extensions and discovered replacements for almost everything I use in Firefox.  I was initially concerned that installing too many extensions would impact performance, but discovered Chrome runs tabs and extensions in separate processes, so none of the extensions can affect the entire browser as add-ons do with Firefox.

So I’m now officially using Chrome as my primary browser.  I still think Firefox is a good browser, but with too many add-ons installed and tabs open – it slows to a crawl, which annoys me.   This isn’t a ‘Chrome is better than Firefox’ post.   Instead, it’s just my personal list of favorite chrome extensions that do the equivalent of what I did with Firefox for my work.

Color Pick by qufighter

Color Pick by qufighter

Highlights:
Provides a zoomed view of target within the popup area in addition to a color swatch preview next to eye dropper.  Easy to copy hex code.

Drawbacks:
Author says picker may not always be exactly accurate because color is taken from screenshot of page instead of the page itself.  However, every test I’ve tried so far shows it to be exact.

View Selection Source by webkitchen.cz

View Selection Source

Highlights:
Selected source already highlighted, with surrounding code also included (I suppose this could be an unwanted feature for some, but I like it).

Drawbacks:
No option to wrap long lines or resize pop-up,  so you always have to scroll horizontally to view longer lines of code.  Can’t right click to copy, but can use keyboard shortcut to do so.

Web Developer by Chris Pederick

webdeveloper

Highlights:
Provides almost every tool I used in the Firefox version.  I think popup and UI is more accessible and easier to use. .

Drawbacks:
Doesn’t have the ‘View Style Information’ that outlines block elements, which I used often for quick access to style info.  There’s a ‘Display ID and Class Details’ option in the chrome version that outlines block elements, not as feature rich.

Pendule by Christian Frey

pendule

Highlights:
Provides useful developer shortcuts in an easy, quick-access pop-up.  The Web Developer tool above provides most of the same stuff, but it takes longer in their UI.  There is also a color picker and measurement tool available in Pendule that replaces a couple of standalone add-ons I’d used in Firefox.

Drawbacks:
Not as feature-rich as Web Developer, but accomplishes common developer tasks more quickly.

Measure-It by nirzoref

measureit

Highlights:
Quick access to pixel measurements.  Similar tool available in Pendule, but this one is faster to execute.

Drawbacks:
Unlike the measurement tool in Pendule, you can’t move selections around.

Pixlr Grabber by Pixlr

pixlr

Highlights:
Allows you to capture visible page, full page or custom selection.  Ability to save to desktop, upload to Imm.io or edit in Pixlr.com

Drawbacks:
When saving to computer, only option is PNG – though I don’t really consider this a real drawback.

Lorem Ipsum by niko.pufal

loremipsum

Highlights:
Generates lorem ipsum text.   You can choose the number of paragraphs and characters per paragraph.

Drawbacks:
Opens in new tab (I wish it just popped up inline on the page).  Doesn’t give you the option of using alternate text or variate the length of each paragraphs.

IE Tab by Blackfish Software

ietab

Highlights:
Allows you to view a page using the IE rendering engine directly from Chrome.

Drawbacks:
None that I can think of.  It does what it’s supposed to.

SEO Site Tools by Carter Cole

seotools

Highlights:
A lot of really useful SEO related data and tools.  Shows social network back links and indexing/rank details with major search engines.  Alerts you to validation errors and provides suggestions to fix.  Displays server information.  Ability to choose light or dark theme.

Drawbacks:
A tiny bit ugly bulky looking,  but works great.

Image Search by WebVolcano.com

imagesearch

Highlights:
Allows you to perform a google image search of the keywords provided.  You have the option of filtering the search by image type and image size.  Very useful for searching stock image sites all at once like dreamstime or istockphoto.

Drawbacks:
The UI icons are somewhat of an eyesore, but otherwise it works fine. I wish there was an option to choose sources so I’d only get results from stock sites.

Google Mail Checker Plus by Anders

googlemailcheck

Highlights:
Ok, so this isn’t really a developer tool…but as I use Gmail as a hub for checking my work domain mail – I find this extension really useful for my business.  It displays the number of unread messages in your inbox and provides a preview of those messages when the icon is clicked. If there are no unread messages, the icon takes you to your inbox. Additional configuration options available, one of which is to always use SSL when connecting to gmail.

Drawbacks:
I can’t really think of any.  It works great.

Additional Useful Extensions:

Copy Without Formatting by jinjingforever:
Allows you to copy selected text from a web page as plain text, which is really useful if you’re about to paste it into a rich text editor.

Firebug Lite by pedrosimonetti:
Chrome’s built-in developer tools does for me what I had previously used Firebug for in Firefox.  However, there’s an extension for it if you prefer it.

Session Buddy by Hansifer:
Allows you to save and manage sessions.  I didn’t end up using it as much as I thought I would, so I uninstalled it – but I could see it being really useful for some people.

goo.gl URL Shortener by giakomino:
Not really web design specific, but I use it a lot when I need to send clients a long link.

Still Missing

The following are things I was able to do in Firefox for work, which I can’t (or not as easily) in Chrome:

View Background Image (From firefox context menu)
Doesn’t exist in Chrome, but you can sort of work around it by right-clicking and choosing ‘Inspect Element’.  On the right you can click on the image link defined for that particular block element style and then save it from there.


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  • Tara Says:

    @Carter: Now I feel bad for saying it was a tiny bit ugly. :-) I’m probably more critical on visuals than what a casual user would be – but in terms of what I personally think would make it look better:

    - The toolbar icon has a black jagged line around the magnifying glass, which gives it kind of a rough look.
    - The font sizes for interior category labels (Google, Bing, Alexa, etc) seem too large and crowded together for the UI. I think reducing the font size a bit and adding more whitespace above those labels in each section could help make it appear less bulky or overwhelming. Also vertically aligning those labels to the icons.
    - Pretty much everything is in bold text…which adds to the bulky/heavy feel. Perhaps keeping data labels bold but putting the data itself at normal weight would help even it out.

    But please don’t get me wrong or take offense at anything above – I still think this is the best SEO-related extension available and am grateful to you for it. I tried a handful of similar tools, but yours was the most feature rich and the only one I kept installed. In the end, how it performs is more important than how it looks. And I don’t think the UI is awful or anything (which is why I used words like ‘tiny bit’). Just a bit on the bulky side.

  • Carter Cole Says:

    how is SEO Site Tools ugly? you know there is a “light” version of the theme that some people think is easier to read… how would you change the design? thanks for the review of my tool im always looking for ways to improve it…

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