Review : Mozex plugin for Mozilla / Firefox

I’ve been having hassles doing some of the major editing on
the blog, due to the
fact that it’s difficult to do serious editing in HTML Textarea
windows. There’s a couple ways around it, such as having an an intelligent client
to edit in
. I’m still searching for a good client, but it’s sort
of weird when we already -have- one, that being a web browser. Gotta be
a better way!

Well by Gosh and by Gum, those whacky Mozilla developers
have done something that makes a ton of sense. Enter Mozex by Tomas Styblo, a tool for
external programs for various actions within the Mozilla browser family. Mozex
is purported to work with Mozilla and Firefox, though I’ve only tested it from
Firefox 0.8.

The Setup

Installation of the tool is as straightforward as all the Mozilla extensions.
Simply go to the Mozex
installation page
and click on ‘click here to install Mozex’. The extension
will download and install automatically. Afterwards, a restart of Mozilla is
required to make it active, the norm for Extension installations.

I was primarily interested in the Textarea editor, so I naturally
attacked that first. It was pretty simple, post installation, to go
to the Tools->Options menu, select Mozex, and then click on Options.
The Options dialog window popped up with a bewildering series of
fill-in boxes. I stared a bit before referring back to the Mozex
example screenshot, and did the “OH! I get it!” epiphany. I really
enjoy working in KVim,
the port of the outstanding Vim editor
to KDE, so I simply entered kvim %t into the Textareas field, and
clicked Ok.

In Use

So, now what? I needed a textarea to edit. Where do I do
most of my editing, why, the blog of course! Quick, lets test it out.
Pulling up my blog editing screen, I right clicked on the textarea,
selected Mozex, and selected “Edit Textarea”. Lo and behold, KVim
came up beautifully with the contents of the current textarea all ready
for editing.

I’ve finished the rest of this entry totally in KVim,
occasionally saving to see things post properly back into the textarea
of the form, but all in all, this works perfectly. I have seen one
minor issue. The textarea itself doesn’t seem to update with the new
text until it’s clicked on. There may be no real way to ‘fix’ this,
since I suspect this is something in how Mozilla keeps its information in
cache, but I did have a moment of panic when I closed my editor window,
and didn’t see the changes in the blog page. Just clicking on the textarea
itself updated it.

for yucks, I tried also using Quanta Plus
for my editor, since that’s the ‘standard’ KDE HTML editor. The advantage here
is being able to do HTML commands directly in the editor using Quanta’s keyboard
shortcuts for various tags, not to mention the gloriousness that is an HTML
preview. After working with Quanta for a while (something I didn’t have much of
a reason to do before), I must say I’m impressed with the UI and the tools. For
the moment, I’ve left Mozex switched over to using Quanta for editing, of only
for the preview function.


If you’re working in an environment where you do a lot of editing
in Textareas, or are simply addicted to the editor of your choice, this
is definately a tool you should have. It’s non-intrusive, very easy to use,
and can save a lot of hassles when doing large edits.


A wandering geek. Toys, shiny things, pursuits and distractions.

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6 thoughts on “Review : Mozex plugin for Mozilla / Firefox

  1. Darn, for a minute I’d hoped this was going to help solve the RSS/blogging tool problem.
    Normally linux leads windows in these sorts of areas.

  2. Sweetness. I need to get this installed right away. My coporate email is web based (I refused to install MS office) and I really miss having a spell checker. Right now, I spell check using openoffice and cut and paste it into the web browser.

  3. If this works on Windows as well, then it’s way cool!
    (not that i use Windows myself, but i know some Mozilla users who do)
    BTW, this comment was written using the Mozex plugin, configured to fire up GEdit for editing textareas. 😉

  4. I used mozex as well (W98/FireFox 0.8) and it’s a fine tool. But since updating FireFox to 0.9 I didn’t manage to properly install mozex, neither in a profile nor in the application itself. Perhaps they’ll fix it soon…

  5. I use Firefox 0.9 and cannot edit any Mozex settings via GUI. For some reasons, the settings are not saved. However, I can modify settings manually in prefs.js in the profile directory.
    Works fine with GVim on OSX… 😉

  6. I had the same problem that I can’t edit the Mozex settings.
    Solution: enter this link in the adress bar:

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