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StatusBars

March 9th, 2007 at 4:00am — Rating: Firefox pointFirefox pointFirefox pointFirefox pointFirefox no pointLink

Anybody who deals with Firefox extensions on a daily basis know that if they add additional extensions, they risk losing valuable real estate on their status bar. I'm guilty of this as well. I even wrote about an excellent extension called Statusable which solved my problem.

Well, I uninstalled that extension and upgraded to the StatusBars extension. The StatusBars extension creates as many status bars as you need to view different...well..statuses.

Installing the actual extension was easy enough, and afterwards, creating an additional status bar was just as easy. Right-click on the colored statusbar icon in the bottom left-hand corner and select Customize. You can create any number of statusbars for Firefox. Only one can be shown at a time, though, which is still great. Gotta watch that real estate!

The one problem that I was wrestling with was the ability to customize the panels. When I first noticed the screenshots on the site, I thought the list of statusbar panels was a list of panels to choose from. Mmmmm...no. It was a text box for entering panel IDs. In programming terms, I thought the proper control for this type of interface would be a listbox instead of a text edit box.

On the main dialog box with the list of status bars displayed in Firefox, I thought clicking on a status bar panel and dragging it to another status bar would work. It moved it, as expected, but when clicking OK to return to Firefox, it didn't save my changes. UPDATE: After I completely wrote this review, version .98 was released and the click-and-drag/saving issue was fixed. Kudos to the author for a quick update and release!

It seems the only way to move panels from one status bar to another was to select the Default status bar and click Edit. Click Advanced to display the status bar panel IDs and try to locate the extension panel ID that you want to move and copy and paste it into the destination status bar. For example, I have ForecastFox Enhanced on my status bar and I wanted to created a brand new Weather status bar. I didn't know the name of the panel was called "ff_box." After cutting and pasting this id from the Default status bar to the Weather status bar, everything worked.

The user interface needs a better way of streamlining this process. The process of moving and typing panel IDs is too cumbersome and may intimidate some novice users.

With some additional work to the user interface, I really think this extension has potential. Once this extension fixes some additional user interface shortcomings, the extension would easily receive a seal of approval.