Thursday, March 12, 2015

How to install Googlebar for Firefox 35 and beyond

Update: At least for now, anyway, it looks like googlebar doesn't work for Firefox anymore. I tried to install googlebar for Firefox 36, by clicking on the link, and by manually installing the add-on, but keep getting this message:

googlebar could not be installed because it is not compatible with Firefox 36.0.1

It looks like we die-hard users of googlebar are now forced to use Googlebar Lite, but what I miss most about googlebar is typing whatever you want to search on, and performing your favorite google searches in just one click, whereas with Googlebar Lite, at least in the cursory examination I have given it, your favorite google searches are two clicks away.

Thanks to a suggestion from my friend David McIntyre in his comment below, rather than editing an XML file, I recommend installing Nightly Tester Tools, which helps to make googlebar compatible with the latest Firefox upgrades, almost without a hitch. However, what I found is that occasionally, Nightly Tester Tools, when upgrading googlebar to the latest version of Firefox, works for a little bit, but for whatever reason your browser crashes, resulting in googlebar disappearing, so I had to use the instructions below.

Those of us who use the Firefox add-on Googlebar know it is one of the best interfaces on Firefox to Google, "with an emphasis on easy access to many types of specialized searches". The problem is, the maintainers, John Woods, Andy Boughton, and Francis Turner, don't seem to stay on top of the version changes; while the add-on is a very useful tool, the maintainers don't seem to be very useful when it comes to applying an incredibly simple fix, so that Googlebar can be installed on the latest version of Firefox. We will now correct their oversight:

  1. Right-click on the following link and "Save Link As..." to download Googlebar locally to your computer:
    If you simply click on the link, your browser will try to install it, and the attempt may fail.
  2. What you downloaded has a file extension of xpi, Cross Platform Install, which is basically a package of files that has been compressed. What we want to do now is decompress the xpi, in order to access a file inside named install.rdf. Since xpi is a compressed file, you can easily decompress it, using your operating system's default decompressor, by changing the file extension from .xpi to .zip. Then you click on the renamed file to display its contents, and open install.rdf with a text editor.
  3. Scroll down the file, and look for the section for Firefox:
    <!-- Firefox -->
    In the line that says maxVersion:
    replace 5.* with the latest version of Firefox, which, as of today, is 34.*
  4. Save the install.rdf file, and add it back to the zip file.
  5. Rename the file extension, from zip, back to xpi.
  6. In your browser, click Firefox, Add-ons, Gear button, "Install Add-on From File..." and install the xpi file that you just modified.