why the status bar is important

For many that are use to things the way they are and are hesitant to change – this post may be for you!  Recently I wrote about updates to browsers and let you know that I was using the Firefox 4 beta.  By the time you read this, it may already be out for public release, however I did want to let you know about one thing that concerned me – and that was the changes to the status bar.

Right off the bat I don’t want you to get the impression that I’m against making changes and fiddling with the GUI of the browser – I would encourage making things better, more efficient, more user friendly and faster!  And my hats remains off to the folks developing and giving feedback at Mozilla for Firefox – keep tweaking for all the right reasons.  However, this change had repercussions to the way I use all browsers – this is a great way to see where you are about to go (and I’ve written about that – Click Behavior and Security (how to check links before you click)).  It’s made the top 5 change requests for Firefox 4 beta testers in their feedback (you can see that here).  So I thought I’d show you the changes and an add-on that addresses it.

Below you will see a cropped screenshot of Firefox 4 beta 10.  I’m mousing over a link to show you where the new mouseover information shows up (indicated by #1) and where it use to show up (indicated by #2).

StatusBar changes in Firefox 4 beta, click here for a larger image...

While the address bar has become an ‘awesome bar‘ addition that removes what was in the status bar.  That space at the bottom of the browser is now home to add-ons.  This was not something that could be changed within the browser settings (again, at the time of this writing), so I needed to either update my chrome settings by writing some CSS, or look for a plug in.  I chose the plug in route and found Status-4-Evar.

This looked to do exactly what I needed so I installed it.  It didn’t seem to work at first glance, but once I figured out that I had no flexible space added to my add-on area.  So, you may find this issues as well.  To add it, right-click on the add-on bar at the bottom and select ‘customize’.

Add-On bar customization

Once this is done, you will be presented with a new window as seen below.

Adding flexible space to the Add-on bar, click here for a larger image...

Here you will find many elements you can click and drag down to the add-on bar to customize it to meet your needs.  I had to add some flexible free space to get the status text to go where it use to be.  Once you have added or removed the elements you need, click on done!

And there you have it.  I now have the status bar information where I’m use to it, and I configured the add-on to keep it visible in the ‘awesome bar’ as well so I can try to get use to it.

There are just a ton of add-ons for Firefox, and it is one of reasons I switched from Internet Explorer back in the day.  I could customize the browser to meet my needs – what a concept!  I encourage you to have an alternate browser on your computer (if for no other reason than to troubleshoot issues of connectivity), why not give Firefox a try?

I hope this gives you a heads-up on updates to the Firefox browser, if you have comments feel free to post them!  Thanks for reading.