Firefox and Chrome are two of the leading browsers in the market and they’ve both moved towards developing their own browser-based operating systems. Chrome has gone a little further than Firefox so far in Chrome OS, but both their respective OS are a work in progress. A very interesting by-product of theses browsers and their operating systems are the app launchers that we can use for accessing installed apps, as we’ve seen in the case of Chrome. Easy Access is a Firefox add-on developed by Mozilla that adds an app launcher to Firefox’s add-on bar. By default, it can perform five functions: launch Notepad, My Computer, Paint & Calculator, and switch to a different Firefox profile. However, you can add any number of other application shortcuts to this launcher, and even set command line parameters to pass to an application when it launches. The applications appear in a menu upon clicking the add-on’s button; however, you can add any one of them directly to the add-on or navigation bar for faster access as well.
Easy Access adds a cogwheel button to the add-on bar and you can move it to the navigation bar if you like. Clicking it reveals the menu listing the apps you can launch. To add any one of these apps to the navigation bar, or add new ones to the menu, click ‘Manage Your Own Easy Access’.
To start customizing your apps list, click the add-on’s button and select ‘Manage Your Own EasyAccess’ from the menu. A popup will open with two tabs – ‘add to addonbar’ and ‘customize your quicklaunches’. The former allows you to select apps that will appear as separate buttons, while the latter lets you add apps or files to Easy Access’ own menu. Click ‘Add Easy Acccess’ to add a new app, and use the ‘Browse’ button to select the app. You can select an app’s executable file or a shortcut to the executable file. The name field will be filled automatically, but you can choose to edit it if you wish. The ‘Arguments for your EasyAccess’ field can be left blank if you only want to run the app, or if your app accepts arguments, you can add any that you want to specify here. We tested it out by adding Chrome and the ‘chrome://newtab’ argument, which launched Chrome with the new tab page.
You can edit the arguments or delete an EasyAccess any time you like. The add-on doesn’t seem to support adding folders, though files can easily be added. We’d love to see it add support for folders in a future update. The add-on is excellent for the simple reasons that adding apps is easy and most users will be able to customize it to their liking with no trouble. Since many of us are working in the browser most of the time while we’re on the computer, having quick access to the apps we frequently use right from it can be a real time-saver to many.