I'm a very lazy geek, of the funny kind who tries to automate every each repetitive task, usually ending to spend more time in coding the automation script than doing the job manually :)

However, today I wanted to install a Thunderbird add-on called Clippings for managing semi-canned responses (such as "Please read FAQ x.y" or "Thank you for your report, I'll investigate this issue and let you know ASAP”) to the tons of always welcome support email inquiries I get.

Now, according to AMO, installing a Thunderbird add-on is quite a daunting task in my eyes:

How to Install in Thunderbird

  1. Right-click the link below and choose "Save Link As..." to download and save the file to your hard disk.
  2. In Mozilla Thunderbird, open Add-ons from the Tools menu.
  3. Click the Install button, and locate/select the file you downloaded and click "OK".

I don't know your tastes, but searching my filesystem(s) for a file I've just saved from a different application (especially when the file browser lacks auto-completion features) is one of the most tedious activities for me. I'd also hate leaving random XPI files here and there on my hard disk...

So I just rebelled and tried something slightly different:

  1. In Mozilla Thunderbird, open Add-ons from the Tools menu.
  2. From Mozilla Firefox, drag the "Download Now" link and drop it onto the Mozilla Thunderbird's "Add-ons" window.

You know what? It worked just fine, with no filesystem round-trips!

As a bonus, something you may or may not know about installing Firefox add-ons from sites which are not on your installation whitelist (i.e. every site except addons.mozilla.org, by default).
When you try, you get a yellow warning saying installation is prevented, and a button to override the block.
But rather than clicking and being warned, you can just drag the install link and drop it onto your location awesome bar: this entirely skips the warning.
Quick, clean and safer* :)

* Notice: Firefox 3 features a significant improvement over Firefox 2: the notification bar contains an "Allow" button to permit just the current one-shot installation, rather than the old "Edit options" button to modify your whitelist permanently.

6 Responses to “Quickest Mozilla Add-on Installing”

  1. #1 Thomas Stache says:

    I also used to follow these steps, but ran into a problem with it in Firefox 3 on the Mac. Filed a bug , but it's still unconfirmed... Maybe you or your readers could chime in, if they hit the problem.

  2. #2 Jonathan says:

    You can also copypaste the URL into the browse dialog and it'll install it from there.

  3. #3 Thomas Stache says:

    Hmm, my bug link went missing, it's bug 418999.

  4. #4 John says:

    he he.. you are a real lazy cat :p

  5. #5 Neil says:

    Better still, Thunderbird 3 will let you search AMO direct from the add-ons window.

  6. #6 Giorgio says:

    that's great news, thanks for the hint.
    BTW, doesn't this paragraph need some update?

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