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March 29, 2005

"Firefox Hacks": Hacking the Next Generation Web Browser

Sebastopol, CA--From popup blocking and tabbed browsing to first-class security and privacy protection, the reasons listed under the heading "Why Use Firefox?" on Mozilla.org might lead you to ask, "Why use anything else?" Imagine a world with no more spyware, vastly reduced spam, built-in search, RSS integration, hassle-free downloading, and amazing customization possibilities. It's a novel idea--a browser you can like and enjoy using.

"Firefox is the web browser that upholds the highest principles of the World Wide Web," says Nigel McFarlane, author of Firefox Hacks (O'Reilly, US $24.95). "It supports and defines the Web as a good place to be--a place where all people can freely and safely participate, without having to tip their hat to anyone." And he adds, "Those are fighting words."

In the battle for browser usage, Firefox's victories have been swift, bloodless, and impressive. McFarlane calls it "the equivalent of D-Day for open source on the Windows desktop." The browser is an open source software product made by the nonprofit Mozilla Foundation. With nearly 40 million downloads, Firefox has achieved significant inroads on the consumer desktop. "Its next battle is to make itself known on desktops in organizations," notes McFarlane. "A fair amount of Firefox Hacks is aimed at helping IT people come to grips with the technology."

Casual users or IT professionals will find all the user-friendly tips, tools, and tricks they'll need to make a productive switch to the popular browser. "Don't expect a traditional web development book or a book on searching the Web," McFarlane cautions. "This is quite a technical book about how Firefox is held together as a product. Like all books in the Hacks series, the more inquisitive or technically minded you are, the more you'll get out of it."

Firefox Hacks explains how to customize Firefox's deployment, appearance, features, and functionality--delivering techniques, tools, and strategies for making the most out of Firefox's flexibility. Readers will learn how to:

  • Make Firefox look different with skins, extensions, and themes
  • Integrate Firefox with other tools, and safely migrate Internet Explorer bookmarks, history, passwords, and other data
  • Browse anonymously, turn off caching, stomp on cookies, or flush and clear absolutely everything
  • Install, use, and customize extensions, widgets, toolbars, and plug-ins
  • Increase security by stopping all secret network activity, fine-tuning ports and sockets, digitally signing content, dropping security blocks, and more
  • Play with preferences, install fonts and character support, govern image and ad display, and otherwise tweak the standard browser window
  • Power up web pages with XML, using Mozilla SOAP, XML-RPC, and WSDL services, as well as MathML, SVG content, Xpath, and XSL
  • "Firefox is more than just a TV screen for the Web," says McFarlane. "It contains technical goodies of all kinds." Users of all sorts--hackers, web designers, surfers, IT pros, and more--will find plenty of tweakable features that will make their web experience more rewarding. With Firefox Hacks, a superior and safe browsing experience is only pages away.

    Additional Resources:

    Firefox Hacks
    Nigel McFarlane
    ISBN: 0-596-00928-3, 377 pages, $24.95 US, $34.95 CA
    order@oreilly.com
    1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

    About O'Reilly

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