Firefox 57 and Chrome 64

Lately, I’ve been extremely unhappy with both the latest iterations of Chrome and Firefox.  Chrome 64 is disabling the apps.   Firefox 57 has killed off quite a few add-ons that makes me WANT to continue to use Firefox over Chrome.  The two add-ons I valued the most were Tab Mix Plus (TMP) and Classic Theme Restorer (CTR).

First the Chrome issues…. Google’s Hangouts app no longer being supported wasn’t the biggest loss.  I would be satisfied as long as there was a decent extension that maintained a separate window so I can respond and chat with my friends.  First Chrome problem:  I started noticing that the app would sometimes start loading animation and then suddenly disappear.  In the past, Hangouts would open when I opened up Chrome or if I click on Hangouts icon on the Win10 taskbar.  Second Chrome problem: I also noticed that when after closing Chrome with the Hangouts app open and then going to reopen Chrome, Chrome seems to always remember the tabs that were open in the last session.  This was despite my default setting of “open chrome in new tab” option.  I initially thought it was an issue with the use of the app.  So I tried the Hangouts extension, but the second problem still existed.  (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻.  This second problem is more than likely a result of the Chrome task still recognized as “active” in Windows.  I don’t think there’s anything I can do about this specifically.  The first problem… is irrelevant if there’s an alternative way to use Hangouts.

Second the Firefox issues… I had resisted going to Chrome and sticking with Firefox for a number of reasons. First Firefox problem:  I didn’t like the look of the Chrome layout of tabs on top of the search bar.  I’m used to it by now but I still think it’s an ugly layout.  Thankfully there’s no menu bar to make it look uglier in Chrome.  Second Firefox problem: I didn’t like the fact that I couldn’t just left click to open a new link (any link from anywhere) to a new tab.  Sometimes when browsing, I still want to finish the page I’m reading but right click + new tab is a bit annoying when I’m actively reading something.  It’s also even more cumbersome if I want to open multiple links from my bookmarks at one time or if I’m searching something on Google related to what I’m currently reading.  Third Firefox problem: There’s no menu bar in Chrome.  Yes this is more out of formatting and style since all the other applications (Word, Quicken, Explorer, Adobe, etc) have a menu bar.

With these annoying cosmetic problems in Chrome, I just never made the switch to Chrome.  Eventually I ended up with a multi-browser system where important websites were strictly relegated to certain browsers.  I found this system worked pretty well and will more than likely continue forward with this approach.  Anyways, Firefox had two very important add-ons which were were Tab Mix Plus (TMP) and Classic Theme Restorer (CTR). TMP solved problem 2.  CTR solved problems 1 and 3.  It was only because of these two add-ons I never fully committed to the switch to Chrome.

But Firefox 57 has disabled these add-ons,  (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻!!!! 

Seriously, was there really a need to “update” Firefox?  A google search shows that TMP and CTR were pretty popular add-ons.  I guess I wasn’t the only one that is currently struggling through browser angst trying to recover/partially recover the functionality of what was lost.  This is what I’ve discovered so far that kind of replaces TMP…

  • In the about config for Firefox, there’s a browser.tabs.loadbookmarksintab option that when enabled will open bookmarks in new tabs with a left click
  • In the settings, there is an option to open windows in new tab and opening a link switches to a new tab.
  • There is also this extension “Open Link with new Tab” that opens any new link in a webpage as a new tab.

They aren’t the best workaround but it’s the closest.  I hope the new TMP gets ported as an extension.  But for now, this is the new paradigm to live with.  Replacing CTR seems to be a little harder since there’s currently no add-on that does it for you.  There is a workaround (reddit) but it requires a little more work.  From what I can understand in cursory readings, I have to create a CSS file that contains specific code that dictates the look of Firefox.  The code apparently is taken from CTR’s code but there seems to be a process on getting Firefox to recognize and load this CSS file to force the design so the tab bar loads below the URL.  It’s doable but I need some time to read about it.

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