On 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.
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.
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.
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!