Needed: Firefox: Control Extension Installation

21Jun10

This morning, I’m looking at Firefox add-ons that provide a certain function.  There are a dozen of them.  Some are experimental; some have mediocre reviews; some have unique features that, if they work well and cooperate with other add-ons, would be a real help.  How can I sort them out?  I don’t want to install them all — they might wreck my Firefox installation — but I don’t want to just make a list of them somewhere, which either I will never use or will have to resurrect lots of information to figure out whether they still seem worthwhile.

What I need, for this purpose, is better control over installation of add-ons.  This calls for several changes:

  • When I indicate that I would like to add an extension to Firefox, before restarting Firefox to install that extension, I would like to state the mode in which I want it installed.  Now that I’ve sorted through my list of a dozen add-ons that provide the desired function and have selected a half-dozen that look like they might do the job, I want to go down the list of those about-to-be-installed add-ons and indicate which ones will be started in Disabled mode.  That way, I can be ready to use them, but can enable them one at a time, using each one for a few hours or days before turning on the next one that I selected in this morning’s browsing.
  • Once I have installed an extension, I would appreciate it if the Add-Ons window would show me the current rating (e.g., four stars) for each of my add-ons.  That way, I can become aware of any that may initially have seemed promising but have been allowed to lapse or have more recently developed problems.
  • For each installed extension listed in my Add-Ons window, ideally I would have a link (or, better yet, a mouseover preview) showing me (semi-transparently?) the Mozilla add-ons homepage for that extension, so that I can quickly check whether others have had a kind of problem I have had.  Better still, I would right-click on that extension, in the Add-Ons window, and would type in a search term that would highlight related text on the add-ons page.
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