Safari-esque Firefox: Themes, Extensions, And More

LogoOn the Mac, there are many web browsers available. Mozilla Firefox is a great cross-platform browser, but until recent betas it hasn’t been very efficient or overall good-looking on the Mac. Apple’s Safari is simple and elegant, but lacks any official plug-ins, making it difficult to do the kind of advanced work that you can with Firefox extensions. For today, we’re going to be focusing on these two popular browsers. Many people seem to like the simplicity and integrated interface of Safari, but wish that they could have the wide array of extensions available for Firefox at their disposal.

The answer seemed to come when it was announced that Firefox 3 (now well into it’s beta) would have OS integration, giving Firefox a Safari-esque look. The new look is nice, but it’s not quite Safari, still retaining features in the interface similar to features on Windows and Linux, like an enlarged back button (which, frankly, I think is ugly). This post is intended to get your Firefox 3 Beta 5 looking 99% like Safari, even down to the resizeable text boxes.

For this interface overhaul I used OS X Leopard 10.5.2 and the Firefox 3.0 Beta 5. This isn’t supposed to be risky, but it might just might break Firefox, so beware. First, download Firefox 3.0 Beta 5. I think we all know how to do this. Mount the DMG, drag to your applications folder. If you want, call it something else like Firefox 3 as opposed to the regular Firefox if you want keep your old Firefox intact.

Once Firefox is installed, open it up and download Aronnax’s Grapple Yummy theme for Firefox. Once it’s installed, go to Add-Ons and activate it, then restart Firefox. Oooh! Pretty, right? If you want the Safari bookmark button down at the beginning of the bookmarks toolbar, you can! Just drag the regular bookmark button down and it will change its look to match. At first glance you’d think this was Safari, except for a few small things which will be covered below. From now on I’m going to be covering small, nitpicky things that most people probably don’t even care about. But they are add-ons and tips for Firefox that can duplicate some of Safari’s unique features.

Screenshot

First, we want to get a combined reload/stop button. To do this we’re going to have to download the Stylish extension for Firefox. Once it’s installed, enabled, and Firefox is restarted, download this style from userstyles.org. Make sure to follow the directions on the website by putting the stop button in front of the reload button before adding the style.

Next we’re going to get that Safari combined address bar/loading bar. The Fission Firefox extension does this for us. (As usual install, enable, restart.) You can even change the color of the loading bar if you really want to.

Screenshot

Finally, one of Safari’s really nice features is resizeable text fields. You can easily replicate this using this bookmarklet from the Man in Blue. Just drag it to your bookmarks bar and click it whenever you want to resize a text field, and then drag the corners. Dead simple.

Screenshot

There you have it. Yes, it really is Firefox, only beautified and integrated into the OS. Or, you can think of it as Safari plus all of the amazing extensions available for Firefox. (Although some extensions may not work because they are not compatible with the Firefox 3.0 Beta). Enjoy Safox!

Comments

51 Responses to “Safari-esque Firefox: Themes, Extensions, And More”

  1. Allen on April 25th, 2008 7:44 am

    Loving it! Thank you.

  2. Jason on April 25th, 2008 9:26 am

    “Or, you can think of it as Safari plus all of the amazing extensions available for Firefox”

    No, you can think of it as a sub par imitation of Safari. Looking like Safari hardly makes it as good a browser.

  3. James C on April 25th, 2008 9:51 am

    I like Firefox and used it for years and then Safari 3 came out. Actually the thing I want in Firefox is how Safari lets you scroll one pixel if you want. Firefox forces it to move a certain number of pixels… I find the jumping annoying. And I wish Firefox would dump Gecko and use Webkit

  4. Chriswan on April 25th, 2008 10:01 am

    Ohhhhh, I’m bookmarking this for future reference

    Thanks a lot

  5. Guillermo Rauch on April 25th, 2008 11:39 am

    A small correction I think you should make to the article:

    “still retaining features in the interface similar to features on Windows and Linux, like an enlarged back button (which, frankly, I think is ugly)”

    The button in question could be easily made smaller and cuter by choosing the option “smaller icons” in the customize toolbar dialog.

    Still, great article!!

  6. Simone on April 25th, 2008 12:59 pm

    You can’t install Stylish extension in Firefox 3.0b5 because it said that is not supported. You have to install it on a previously release.

  7. Jonas Wisser on April 25th, 2008 2:04 pm

    As an alternative to the Stylish trick, you can just use the Stop-or-Reload extension [https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/313] to get the same effect.

  8. agua on April 25th, 2008 4:53 pm

    Camino is possibly the best browser on a Mac. Its Cocoa based, so it works well with a mac, it looks nice and its customizable like Firefox.

    But you can also download Optimized versions according to your system for better performance and the sucka is by far the fastest browser when all the anti animation and flash features are enabled.

    So, we get:

    Cocoa based browser
    Customizable
    Good looking
    Feature packed
    Optimized versions
    Incredible speeds

    YOu also get the Safari shortcuts. Now if it only had the Safari bookmark shortcuts, (i.e. hitting cmd + any of 1-9 to bring up your fav bookmark) that would be heaven!!!

  9. Christopher Su on April 26th, 2008 5:49 am

    Firefox 3 Beta 5 has a really cool Aqua look you should check out. Not like Safari but looks Mac-worthy anyways.

  10. Make Firefox Safari-esque - Power AND Beautiful now! | New Mac User on April 28th, 2008 9:29 am

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  11. Matt on April 28th, 2008 9:31 am

    I loved the article +digg and blogged.

  12. Radon on April 28th, 2008 12:55 pm

    Hey thanks for the post! I’m back to using Fx3b5 again after a hiatus on Webkit.

    I still dislike Firefox’s wacked out green zoom button though.

  13. kirkrr on April 30th, 2008 8:47 am

    “Yes, it really is Firefox, only beautified and integrated into the OS. ”

    The #1 reason to use Safari, IMHO, is the integration with OS X’s Keychain, managing password and certificates, in one place, not maintained in Firefox AND mail AND … AND … AND…. (one version on the truth – the prime mandate of all data management) and integrated with Apple’s Address book, for contact, physical address mapping, and URL linkages, plus a zillion other apps that leverage the same data source.

    This system wide common security management vehicle has NOT been in Firefox to date – I have not tried Firefox 3.x, but if this is not there, then it is a net loss to move from Safari.

  14. Billy Jones on May 8th, 2008 1:12 am

    I don’t care what Firefox looks like! In fact I prefer it to look different from Safari so I can easily tell them apart.

    I run both Safari and Firefox on my Mac, and Explorer and Firefox on Windows, to test Web pages I code. Firefox is the best Web development platform on both Macs and Windows because of all the great Web development extensions. Firefox is also best for tweakers and control freaks — there are thousands of free extensions, many high quality.

  15. Spliceguys on May 17th, 2008 12:18 pm

    I like this article and immediately updated the look of my Firefox 3r5.

    On question I have though, is how in your screen shot, you still have a 3d like appearance on the tab, while everything else is flat like Safari. I actually prefer the look in your screenshot. Adding the Grapple Yummy theme made everything flat as a board on my Firefox.

    I paritially agree with kirkrr’s comments about the keychain. I wholeheartedly wish Firefox would integrate with the keychain and store passwords..

    On the other hand, I wish even MORE that Apple would realize that people have more than one identity on sites and they would let Safari hold more than one id and password for each website.. That’s the main reason I use Firefox, for the multiple logins..

  16. Chris on May 29th, 2008 5:26 am

    Oh my goodness, I’ve been a firefox hater for a while cuz of its clunky ugly interface and features……well after I installed everything I clicked on my safari window, but the menu bar kept on saying “Firefox” so i clicked a few more times….then I realized it actually was firefox. You honestly blew me away…..

  17. Firefox 3: A Safari User’s Review | MacApper on June 1st, 2008 6:00 am

    [...] for Safari-lovers such as myself, Firefox 3 can be “re-themed”, and a theme exists to make Firefox 3 look more like Safari 3. Still, I’d like to find a Firefox 3 theme that [...]

  18. Firefox ala Safari « bendowski.pl on July 27th, 2008 4:30 pm

    [...] Ã…¼eby przerobiÄ¡ FF na jak najwierniejszĦ kopiÄ™ Safari. Opis tej procedury moÃ…¼na znaleÃ…ºÃ„¡ tutaj – bo jej zakoÃ…žczeniu FF bÄ™dzie równie piÄ™kny jak Safari a jednoczeÃ…ºnie tak funkcjonalny jak [...]

  19. Seamus Anthony on September 1st, 2008 9:22 am

    Bah. I found this looking for a way to make firefox look like firefox again. I HATE the Safari look. bah humbug.

  20. Lance on August 8th, 2009 4:50 am

    GrApple Delicious theme gives me the look I like and it’s pretty close to that of Safari. The only thing I want now is to make Firefox and ShapeShifter get along. I hate Safari for several reasons, such as the Google-ized toolbar, and not having all the buttons together. Why do they want to put the Stop and Reload buttons way over on the right while all the others are on the left? Nuts to Safari!

  21. smayer on November 7th, 2009 11:08 am

    @kirkrr & @spliceguys

    there is now an extension for FF (still under development) that integrates the Mac OS Keychain. Check it out:

    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/13509

  22. debryc on March 3rd, 2010 4:27 pm

    Thank you! This was perfect.

  23. Cabinet Woodworking Plans on May 28th, 2010 1:36 pm

    This is nice to know. But I like firefox only.

  24. James on May 28th, 2010 6:54 pm

    @Jason on April 25th, 2008 9:26 am

    Good job being an arse, faggot

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