If you decided to download out Firefox 2.0 Alpha 2, check out the totally awesome microsummaries.

Simply, Microsummaries allow you to show up-to-date information on your Firefox Bookmarks Toolbar. Instead of simply bookmarking the stock quotes for YHOO, you could display the price. Instead of simply bookmarking an auction of eBay, microsummaries allows you to see the highest price on the auction on the toolbar. You’ll need to grab some microsummary generators.

Microsummaries are generated using an XSLT stylesheet. Every so often Firefox will download the bookmarked page. If you selected to display a microsummary, it’ll parse the page with the XSLT stylesheet and use the result as the title of the bookmark. The code which produces this is pretty standard and pretty simple.

Another fantastic thing about microsummaries are that the end user can create their own in a similar fashion to Greasemonkey. Hopefully there are going to be some tools which make it ultra simple to create new microsummary generators. This will make them useful and accessible to normal users. A microsummary generator could work by asking the user to highlight a bit of text on the page and generate all the XSLT behind the scenes.

Replacing Extensions

There are quite a few extensions which will add a toolbar or a button which will keep you up to date with the content on a site. Examples include Gmail Notifier, Evolution Toolbar and Abe Vigoda. Instead of a full blown extension, you could simply stick Gmail onto the Bookmarks Toolbar and use a microsummary to make it show the number of messages.  

  • A Firefox 2.0 Alpha 3 is expected soon and should contain a Safe Browsing feature. 

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