27 August 2008 - 16:32Auto Dial Add-on for Quick Page Access

Aza recently suggested a zero-configuration speed dial interface [azarask.in], so I started hacking on an add-on to do just that. After plenty of user feedback and reviews over the last couple days, you can get Auto Dial 4 [addons.mozilla.org] as a public add-on without needing to log in.

The add-on creates a page that fills up the screen with links to your frequently visited pages with the most frequently visited ones at the top being the easiest to click. As you go further down in the list, the links become smaller for the pages that you less frequently visit.

Auto Dial Add-on
Quick access to frequently visited pages on new tabs (Ctrl/Cmd-T) (larger)

The Auto Dial page shows up every time you open a new tab. So after you hit Ctrl/Cmd-T, you can type into the Smart Location Bar as usual to search through your history as well as easily access your frequently visited pages with a click. With the Auto Dial page, you can click any of the pages like a normal link (middle-click or Ctrl/Cmd-click to open in a tab).

Other features in the current version include letting you to type the page’s number to jump right to it (hover over a link to see its number), moving selection with the keyboard and stripping off “http://” from URLs. There’s also a collection of about:config preferences to tweak to your liking: how many pages from the same site to have, how big the largest button should be, how fast the number of buttons grows, and how long you get to type the page number.

Auto Dial Add-on [addons.mozilla.org]

“.. adds incredible functionality. It’s like Active desktop for the browser.” “i love it! instantly my became my first useful home page” – Michael, zac

Thanks again for the feedback through email, my blog, IRC, and AMO.

74 Comments | Tags: Add-on, AwesomeBar, Mozilla

20 August 2008 - 11:25Gmail Keyboard Commands

Being able to read, write, organize, search mail in Gmail without ever having to touch the mouse is really convenient. I’ve even installed a Greasemonkey script, Modified Gmail Macros v. 2.0 [userscripts.org] that lets me label messages just by pressing “l” then typing part of the label.

Unfortunately, sometimes Gmail doesn’t know that you’re typing — keyboard commands all of a sudden stop working.

I’ve noticed this a lot recently when I use [alt]-[enter] to open a new tab from the location bar. This often happens when I’m reading a bugmail and want to see what a bug is, so I copy/paste the bug number and type “bug 395739″ into the location bar and hit [alt]-[enter] so that the keyword search opens the page in a new tab. After switching back to the Gmail tab, I can no longer press “u” to return to the message list; instead, find-as-you-type finds a random link containing “u”.

Gmail Macros Bugzilla
Adding labels to bug messages just by typing

So to address this issue, I’ve written a simple Greasemonkey script that fixes the problem that I’ve been running into. It even lets you hit [tab] from the location bar (to the search bar) to the web page and have keyboard commands working in Gmail.

If you have Greasemonkey [addons.mozilla.org] already installed, all you have to do is click the following link to install the fix:
Gmail Fix Focus [ed.agadak.net]

For those curious, the reason why this focus problem occurs is that when Firefox opens a page in a new tab, it decides to move focus from the location bar into the page. However, Gmail is made of a bunch of IFrames, so focusing the outermost-top page doesn’t send the keyboard presses to the right place.

4 Comments | Tags: Add-on, Google, Mozilla

5 August 2008 - 10:03Enter Selects Add-on for the Efficient

Firefox 3′s Smart Location Bar learns to show you the page you want when you type in some search terms. In many cases, it already knows what you want when you type just a single letter. So for many people, going to a page is very efficient — only requiring 3 key strokes: typing the letter, pressing [down] or [tab], and hitting enter.

If you want to be even more efficient, take a look at Enter Selects [addons.mozilla.org]. This add-on gets rid of the middle step for you by automatically selecting the first result when you hit enter.

Enter Selects Add-on
Pressing enter will select the first result

If you don’t want the first result to be selected, press [esc] or [left]/[right] to close the suggestions. However, if you’re typing in a URL or editing one from the suggestions, it’s smart enough to do what you want. You can even type in a domain like “ed.agadak.net” and not worry about it automatically selecting the first result.

“I install this on every instance of FF3 I get my hands on thus saving buckets of extraneous keystrokes a day.” “Wow this just makes the AwesomeBar so much more usable.” – danhorst, pacifika [addons.mozilla.org]

Quick update on my other add-ons. The functionality of Hide Unvisited, Edit Middle, and Show Keywords have made it in to the nightly versions of Firefox 3.1, so if you’ve already got those installed, you won’t need them for the next major release.

35 Comments | Tags: Add-on, AwesomeBar, Mozilla