Developer profile: Luís Miguel (aka Quicksaver)

Luís Miguel claims to "bleed" add-ons.

“I bleed add-on code,” says Luís Miguel.

Always a heavy user of bookmarks and feeds, Luís Miguel one day decided to customize his Firefox sidebar to better accommodate his personal tastes (he didn’t like how the ever-present sidebar pushed web content aside). But Luís soon discovered he could only go so far solving this problem with minor CSS tweaks.

That’s when he resolved himself to develop a full-blown add-on. He created OmniSidebar, an elegant extension that allows you to slide your sidebar into view with a simple gesture, among other rich interface features.

Another of Luís’ add-ons—FindBar Tweak—has a similar origin story; Luís identified a personal desire first, then built an add-on to address it. In this case he wanted a quick way to scan code for just the parts applicable to his work.

“Earlier today I was working with pinned tabs, and I had to research how they happen,” explains Luís. “Looking for the word ‘pinned’ in Firefox’s code using FindBar Tweak, I was able to easily read through only the relevant bits in a few seconds, because it not only takes me directly to what I’m looking for, but also helps me visually make sense of what is actually relevant.”

Luís has created four other add-ons, including the popular Tab Groups. Luís spoke with me briefly about his unique interest in add-ons…

It sounds like you basically create all of your add-ons based on personal browsing needs. Is that an accurate characterization?
Luís Miguel: Yeah, that’s a fair way to put it. Everything has been about making my Firefox behave and interact with me the way I prefer it to, from quickly finding what I’m looking for in a page, to having my feeds and bookmarks readily accessible without screwing up the rest of the page layout, properly organizing all my buttons in the browser, keeping a clean window but always ready to interact in whatever way I need it to. The “anything goes” approach of Firefox add-ons make them a very fun playground for me in that respect.

As a procrastination enthusiast, I’ve found that when the process—towards whatever goal—is optimal, fast, and effective, I am the most motivated to do it. So I look for every way to enhance productivity in every task I do, not just for developing, even just casual browsing really.

Puzzle Bars can conveniently pull up your customized toolbar with a simple swing of the mouse.

Puzzle Bars conveniently pulls up your customized toolbar with a simple swing of the mouse.

Although, that’s not entirely the case anymore. There’s a lot in my add-ons that come from user suggestions and requests, many [features] I don’t really use myself. But if it’s to improve the add-on and I have the availability to do it, how can I say no to the most awesome and supportive users a developer could ask for?

Beyond add-ons you’ve created, do you do other types of development?
LM: I’ve contributed a few patches for Firefox itself through Bugzilla, but that’s about it. When I set out to do something, I focus on it, so right now I bleed add-on code.

Are you working on any new add-ons you want to tell us about? 
LM: I do have a couple of ideas for new add-ons, but those probably won’t happen for a while, mostly because I have to focus on my current ones a lot, as they will need to be ported to WebExtensions eventually. Since my add-ons are mostly UI-modifications at their base, that will be… challenging.

I have been working on Tab Groups 2 though, which is a major rewrite of almost everything, to hopefully make it more stable and perform better. It’s turning out really awesome.

What other add-ons—ones you haven’t created—are your favorites and why?
LM: I have around 30 add-ons enabled in my main profile at any one time. A few favorites come to mind…

AdBlock Plus is always at the top of my list. I dislike waiting a long time for pages to fully load because of several blinking boxes, or misleading ads.

Download Panel Tweaker for a sleek, direct, and fully functional downloads panel.

Tab Mix Plus for optimized opening, closing, moving, and loading tab behavior. There’s just so much it can do!

Stylish for a few nits here and there, and the custom glass style I made for myself, which I’ve found no other theme or add-on out there can even come close to this.

I especially like Turn Off the Lights. It helps me focus on whatever video I’m watching. I tend to get distracted easily. If there’s something in the corner of my eye that stands out for some reason, I will look at it. So that functionality is simple and yet very effective.

Thanks for chatting with us, Luís! I can think of no better way to close this conversation than by sharing a recent installment of your web series…

11 responses

  1. Luís Miguel (Quicksaver) wrote on :

    Hi Scott,

    Thanks for giving me the opportunity to share my story. It was an interesting experience, and a very pleasant conversation to have. 🙂

    And also for not making me look bad, I’m sure that must have been challenging. 😉 J/k!

    Cheers!

    1. Scott DeVaney wrote on :

      Haha thanks for playing along, Luís! I hope your story inspires other developers to push themselves further.

    2. Stefan wrote on :

      Thank you Luís! That Turn Off the Lights is one of your favorite Firefox add-ons.
      Keep it simple and protect your eyes 🙂

      1. Luís Miguel (Quicksaver) wrote on :

        On the contrary Stefan, thank you! For having created it and made my Firefox more awesome. 🙂

  2. Ken Saunders wrote on :

    @Scott, I like this developer profile feature and I look forward to more of them.

    @Luís…
    1. The video is clever and funny. Well done. 🙂
    2. I’ve been using FindBar Tweak since the find bar was changed and wanted to say thanks (again) for it.
    3. I’ve revisited your list of add-ons and I’m now using Beyond Australis in another profile so thanks for it also.
    4. See below.
    This is below.

    I’m an amateur developer with some very basic add-ons and I also made (most of ) them out of personal desire and need and then figured that others might find them useful too.
    Mine are also UI ones.
    I’ve stopped working on them though and that bums me out and not for me, but for the few who have come to rely on them and use them. I’m too uncertain about the future for UI type add-ons especially when API’s, etc for those type of add-ons are so low on the list of things to get done.
    So, how are you moving forward?
    Are you just keeping yours going for now and waiting to see what will be available and accessible to developers?
    I mean, what other choice do we have right?
    I do commend you for continuing development with the uncertainty and inevitable changes.

    1. Luís Miguel (Quicksaver) wrote on :

      @Ken, thank you, I’m glad you’re enjoying my add-ons so far. 🙂

      It’s true that for add-ons of this type, the future is a bit uncertain. So far though, I’ve seen nothing but good intentions from those at Mozilla to help implement whatever is needed on their side, so that the add-ons can at least still work in some form, so I’m still hopeful on that front. I still have to investigate further on what those requirements for my add-ons would be (as I keep promising the Mozilla devs heading this project), which I may do over the Summer, so hopefully in a few months I’ll have a more concrete notion of what’s going to happen.

      I believe it can only help to start a conversation, where you bring your concerns and suggestions to them, so that everyone can work together. 🙂

  3. jxn wrote on :

    Thanks Quicksaver! You’ve done excellent work with Tab Groups! The recent updates are great to see, and I’m excited that you seem to be considering porting the extension to a Web Extension! This gives me a lot of faith in Web Extensions and the plugin, too.

  4. Noitidart wrote on :

    Super cool! We really appreciate you maintaining your addons even though the future is uncertain. We rely on them! Your addons are mentioned a lot in reddit /r/firefox

    I use Findbar Tweak and Puzzle Bars. Findbar Tweak I use because I have tons of tabs open for documenation of many APIs. So finding the right tab would be so hard. With the “find in all tabs” feature, it takes a second. I noticed a huge perf improvement there too recently!

    Puzzle Bars is awesome because I like to drop all my status bar icons into the URL bar. I see lots of people are loving your Tab Groups addon – https://www.reddit.com/r/firefox/comments/4m3p0o/quicksavers_tab_groups_addon_has_a_major_update/

    1. Luís Miguel (Quicksaver) wrote on :

      I’m glad to hear you’re still enjoying my add-ons! And of course I’ll keep maintaining them for as long as I can, hopefully for as long as there is a Firefox. 🙂

      And thanks for reddit link! I checked it out and left a few comments as well.

  5. anasroe wrote on :

    Thank you Luís! That Turn Off the Lights is one of your favorite Firefox add-ons.

  6. developer wrote on :

    Nice man!