8 Chrome Extensions For Web Developers (Mac too!)

I’ve been using Google Chrome as my default browser ever since 1Password came out with an extension for Chrome. The state of web browsing on the Mac still, unfortunately, leaves something to be desired. However, after using this full time for a little while I can say that I’m really liking it. As a web developer I have a need for good developer tools in a browser. For that, Firefox and Firebug will always be king of the hill. Daily browsing and light development in Chrome has been suiting my needs just fine.

The ability to have extensions is what really makes Chrome shine. It’s fast and nimble in OS X and I was able to recreate nearly everything I did in Firefox via extensions. The down side is that extensions don’t work on the latest stable build of Chrome. To use extensions you’ll need to get a beta or dev channel. In order to do that you can go here.

Eye DropperEye Dropper
The Eye Dropper lets you click your mouse on an element to get the color of it in HSB, RGB, or Hex. This differs slightly from the Firefox extension in that there is a pop-up involved and you have to do one more click to get the dorrect color.

Firebug Lite
Firebug Lite is a not-as-fully-featured version of the very popular firebug extension. It’s fine for doing basic inspection of elements, though, and the built in console takes care of script running needs for basic experimentation.

FlashBlock
While Flash may be fine on PCs it makes the fan on my laptop spin like crazy. This is the equivalent of the FireFox extension and lets you whitelist sites as well. Browsing the web without flash is really a much more pleasant experience the majority of the time and the Flash files are only a click away if you want to load them.

measureit.jpgMeasureIt!
MeasureIt! is a port of the same FireFox extension. It gives you a ruler that lets you draw a box around a portion of a page to get its width and height in pixels. It comes in pretty handy.

Google Chrome.jpgSexy Undo Close Tab
This extension lets you re-open recently closed tabs. There’s another version called “Undo Closed Tab” but this one is obviously the sexier of the two which is why I use it. I mean, given the choice between sexy and non-sexy I think it’s a no-brainer.

tabmenu.jpg
Tab Menu
Tab Menu is a simple extension that gives you a drop down list of all currently open tabs. This is useful if you have a lot of tabs open and can’t see the titles. On one hand I wonder why this wasn’t included in the browser by default in some form. On the other hand I can completely understand their desire to not clutter the browser and I don’t imagine that the vast majority of people have that many tabs open.

RSS Subscription Extension
RSS Subscription Extension
The RSS Subscription Extension automagically recognizes the RSS auto discovery links and pops open a new tab to subscribe. I included this for developers because you’ll want to make sure those RSS auto discovery tags are working. You could also make sure that it correctly subscribe in Google Reader and maybe take a few minutes off while you’re at it to read some feeds. Just saying.

SeoQuakeSeoQuake
SeoQuake is also a port of the Firefox extension. It allows you to see a ton of info about a site including Google PageRank, Index, Delicious index, and more. I keep this disabled most of the time unless I really need it or want to see some information about a site.


Bonus Extensions

chromelicious.jpgChromelicious
Chromelicious is the best Chrome extension I’ve found for Delicioius integration. The reason is that view your bookmarks in an unobtrusive way from a dropdown menu and actually search your bookmarks and filter down via tabs. It’s prety handy..

GooglePreview
The Google Preview extension inserts thumbnail images of Google searches in your search results. This is totally gratuitous for any real work but it makes search results look cleaner.

AdBlock Plus for Chrome
Adblock Plus
This is the equivalent of AdBlock Plus for FireFox. It’s not necessarily for development but it is much more pleasant to browse the web with.

Better FacebookFixer
Better Facebook Fixer
Facebook Fixer is actually a user script packaged up as an extension. You can do this at the Script2Chrome web site if you have any you want to convert. This extension makes the Facebook experience a bit more pleasant with options like hiding information from the right column, hiding 3rd party apps, and much more. This is a version of the Facebook Fixer extension with the javascript loaded locally instead of another server.

Mouse Gestures

Something I didn’t really touch on was mouse gestures. I use them heavily. For that I use a program called xGestures which will work in any application on OS X. I find that to also be an indespensable tool. As a bonus it supports rocker gestures. I use that to go to next and previous tabs in all applications. A rocker gesture means you hold down the right mouse button and click the left. If you bind this to the keystroke command + { as a global gesture it works in almost every app in Leopard. The other bracket (command + }) works as well. This is not a free program but it is well worth the price of admission!

Wrapping up, Chrome has come a long way, especially on the Mac. The developer version, for me at least, has been extremely stable and works well enough to be my daily browser. Check it out if you haven’t yet.