eLearning Development: Useful Firefox add-ons

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Mozilla’s Firefox is a preferred web browser for many. Since its last major release in June 2009 it has already crossed one billion downloads and to celebrate that Mozilla Foundation has even launched this website. http://www.onebillionplusyou.com.

What makes Firefox different from other browsers is it being open source and highly customizable using Firefox add-ons. Anyone can create add-ons to suit their needs and then share it for others to use through Mozilla’s add-ons website.  There are more than 5000 add-ons available for download.

We have found several of these add-ons to be really helpful in the eLearning development. Here I list some of them:

  1. Flash Switcher – Adobe Flash being the most commonly used development tool for Upside Learning, testing Flash content in different versions of Flash Player is a pain. You have to install/uninstall various plug-ins and then only can you test the content. Flash-Switcher makes things easy by allowing you to have multiple Flash Player plug-ins installed in the browser at the same time. You can switch between the various plug-ins based on the requirement real-time.  Note: after switching the plug-in, the browser would restart to be ready for using selected plug-in.
    flash-switcher2

    Using Flash-Switcher you can also add or remove different versions of Flash Player.

  2. IE tabs – This allows developers to check how HTML page would look in IE, without leaving Firefox. Click the ‘IE tab’ (shown below) to change rendering engine. This add-on comes in handy for HTML courses or for website rendering. While normal browsing if if something is not looking ok in Firefox, you could simply switch to IE mode. Note: IE tabs work with Windows OS only (you would have guessed that anyways!)
    ie-tabs
  3. HttpFox – This analyzes and monitors all incoming and outgoing HTTP traffic between the browser and the web. It is useful while debugging eLearning content specifically in an LMS.  While trouble shooting the bad file requests at times are due to case sensitivity issues with file names. This add-on can be launched very easily with the single click of the small icon in status bar of Firefox.
  4. CacheViewer – This helps to read the cache [temporary files] of Firefox. It allows searching, organizing and saving the Firefox temporary internet files. It is useful in situations when while the browsing the web you came across some good animations, sound effects, or video, you can use this to search the cache quickly using filters and extract the files to store them for future reference. Another use could be while debugging an eLearning course or a web application you may like to delete the specific files from the cache instead of clearing the whole cache.

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