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Hacking Firefox: More Than 150 Hacks, Mods, and Customizations Paperback – Jul 22 2005

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

They dreamed of a better browser . . . and before you could say "explore no more," Firefox was born. But already you want more. Tighter security, greater functionality. A custom installation for Linux. Maybe even that unique extension you've always dreamed of creating. Well, if you want to tweak the Fox, here are over 400 pages of ways to do it. From hacking profile settings to cracking links and cleaning out the cookie jar, this is the stuff that puts you in control.

Step-by-step instructions for these hacks and dozens more

  • Settings, content, and extension hacks
  • Hacking the interface and themes
  • Performance boosters
  • Anti-phishing and security hacks
  • Toolbar and status bar tweaks
  • Navigation, download, and search hacks
  • Hacks for common plugins
  • Extension and theme creation

About the Author

Mel Reyes, a veteran of technology and programming, is an avid fan and user of Firefox and all its predecessors. He programs in several languages, works with a variety of technologies, and runs, which provides free technology news, support, tips, and software. He works in several industries helping clients with web, desktop, and database application development. Mel can be reached by e-mail at

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5 reviews
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
The perfect book to boost your browser to the next level... Aug. 7 2005
By Thomas Duff - Published on
Format: Paperback
Every time I think there's not much more someone could do with a Firefox book, I end up being wrong. I've found a great new advanced Firefox book... Hacking Firefox by Mel Reyes (published by Wiley).


Part 1 - Basic Hacking: Hacking Firefox Boot Camp; Hacking Around Manually; Hacking Extensions; Hacking Themes and Icons

Part 2 - Hacking Performance, Security, and Banner Ads: Performance Tweaks and Hacks; Hacking Security and Privacy; Hacking Banner Ads, Content, Images, and Cookies

Part 3 - Hacking Menus, Toolbars, and the Status Bar: Hacking Menus; Hacking Toolbars and the Status Bar

Part 4 - Hacking Navigation, Downloads, and Searching: Hacking Navigation and Tab Browsing; Download and Plugin Hacks; Search Hacks

Part 5 - Installation, Automation, Tools, and Tricks: Hacking Installation and Deployment; Backing Up and Managing Your Profile/Settings; Hacking Tools for Web Programmers

Part 6 - Creating Extensions and Themes: Understanding Mozilla Programming; Creating Extensions; Creating Themes


One of the main strengths of Firefox over IE is its extensibility and ability to customize the browser experience. Using the about:config URL in Firefox, you have an incredible amount of options listed out and open to alteration. Hacking Firefox doesn't bother with teaching you how to use the browser. The assumption is that you already know the basics. This simple little thing helps the book keep a tight focus and makes sure the target audience gets full value. The author strikes the perfect balance between uncovering the guts of Firefox and making the information accessible to the reader. These aren't completely esoteric hacks that you'd never want to do. For instance, I've been a bit frustrated over being restricted to a couple of downloads at a time when pulling down files. I changed that registry setting in IE a long time ago, but I wasn't sure where it was in Firefox. In the Performance hacks chapter, I found that setting as well as a number of other ones to tweak to get better download performance. I can already notice the difference. Very nice stuff...

It's probably not the book you want to get if you're just wanting to know how to use Firefox. It's *definitely* not the book to give to Uncle Joe to get him to move off IE so you don't have to remove viruses every other week. But if you've already made the switch and you like what you see, this is a must-read book to take your Firefox browsing to the next level. A recommended read...
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
easy to extend, but it can be dangerous Sept. 3 2005
By W Boudville - Published on
Format: Paperback
Of the popular browsers, Firefox has certainly joined those ranks recently and rapidly. But its appeal is not just to the user. Reyes explains how it was made from the ground up to be easily extensible by programmers. He illustrates this at length, with over 150 hacks developed by its fans. These are grouped into sections like performance, menus and navigation.

But you may want to try and thumb through the detailed contents and then through the hacks, to see if any catch your fancy. Because the book can be used in two ways. Firstly, to get ideas about new extensions, by seeing what has already been done. (A lot!) Secondly, to scope out if any of that earlier work is worth installing on your machine. To either end, the book naturally refers to websites where the extensions can be found. The book is a hardcopy portal.

You should also be careful. The very flexibility of Firefox can mean trouble if you go to a computer at a publicly accessible place and use it there. Think of a library or cybercafe. Several of the extensions can be used by a phisher to mislead what you see when browsing. Firefox on your machine can help protect you, and the book talks about this. But on an unknown machine, some extensions can be turned against you. The book never talks about this aspect of Firefox. It's not the fault of the author. He's part of the Firefox community. They are all so fired up about it. Which is cool. But they largely neglected to consider that its ease of programming can be a weapon turned against the unwary user.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A Survey of Mostly Out-of-date Hacks June 3 2006
By Dave Babbitt - Published on
Format: Paperback
Briefly describes lists anyone could have culled from the usual Firefox websites. Given Firefox's fast-changing nature, this ends up not being a good second step.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A hard subject to write for June 9 2014
By dw - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A lot of "so called" hacking books don't really contain hacks at all, but predominantly contain standard user "how to" information.
Although Firefox is much more "hackable" than its MS equivalent, there is only so much "hacking" that one might be interested in doing for practical reasons.
In my case, one of the issues that I needed info on was how to prevent Firefox from auto-updating to a later version in a business setting with many users, and where the new version would compromise user functionality.
Although Firefox does have the "Advanced" option where one can turn of auto-updates, this actually does nothing more than turn of update *notifications*. The auto-updates occur regardless of this option's setting. From the standard Firefox user options, there is not way to prevent auto-updates from occurring. Additionally, Firefox may install an auto-update service on the users OS services (MS OS environment) without the user knowing Firefox has done so. And the service will initiate the downloading of the latest version without the user's knowledge. In the end, I discovered how to prevent Firefox from updating by denying user-account read/write privileges to the folder in which Firefox downloads and stores the latest version. Thus preventing Firefox from being able to add the latest version files into that folder by denying it read/write privileges. But I discovered that solution from online forums. It was not in this book. If you are interested in learning how to change small details of the icons Firefox displays or the color of fonts etc. This book will help point you to know those "hack" are possible and how to get started.
4 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Other FireFox Help? Yes! March 20 2006
A Kid's Review - Published on
Format: Paperback
FireFox Help Forum.

Created by Mystic Thunder. One of the best Help Forums out there. Voted 4/5 by internet sites. One 5/5!

What you do is type in your URL browser. Then look to the left and look for "Board Directorys" at the navigational menu. Click it. Scroll down until you see Computer (& Internet) Support. Go to Page 1 (If you haven't already) and at the very bottom you'll see FireFox Help Forum. Click on it. Then register on the forum and tell others to registeras well! Who knows maybe if we get a working community I may buy us a domain name!