Create a log of pages opened in the Firefox browser - gHacks Tech News

Create a log of pages opened in the Firefox browser

Sometimes, you may want to know if a website spawned another site in the browser, or how you got to a particular page on a website in first place.

While this may not be a huge problem if you work with a handful of open tabs in your browser of choice, it can quickly become an issue if you work with dozens or even hundreds of tabs.

Most browsers display websites in tabs next to each other in a horizontal tab bar so that it is often no problem to link pages together as they are usually displayed next to each other.

For instance, if you middle-click on a link in a tab it is usually the case that the linked website is opened to the right of the tab.

While that is helpful, it still won't reveal relations once tabs are open in the browser. Was a page spawned from another tab or a blank tab?

The Firefox add-on Tree Style Tab is one of the most unique add-ons for the web browser. Its main function is to move tabs from the horizontal tab bar to the sidebar so that open sites are displayed vertically in the browser instead.

Vertical tabs offer several advantages, they are well suited for widescreen displays for instance. Another feature is that tab relations are displayed automatically in the sidebar.

This works by adding indents to spawned pages so that it is always clear how they were opened.

website log

As you can see on the screenshot above, indents are used to visualize relations between tabs (root and children tabs).

This is automated and there is nothing to configure on your part to make use of the feature. You may modify the functionality that Tree Style Tab provides in the extension options, for instance to limit the indent number or configure how blank tabs are opened in the tab bar.

You can tell exactly how websites were opened. For instance, if a site is a child of another, you know that it was spawned either automatically or manually from the root tab.

If you cannot remember that, you may visit the root tab to either find a link or reload it to see if it spawns a tab when it loads in the browser.

Firefox's vast repertoire of extensions is often a treasure trove when it comes to adding functionality to the browser.

Several add-ons are available that log the requests made when you are using the browser. URL Logger and HTTP Request Logger work similar by writing requests made to text files on the local system. The latter add-on does so automatically by writing to a file on the desktop, the former needs to be configured to point to a text file on the system you want it to write it.

The logs are basic unfortunately as they only list urls in chronological order but no date or time information, or information about relations between urls.

Another useful extension for the task is the History in Threads add-on for Firefox. It lists all visited pages in Firefox including their location and last visit date and time in the sidebar of the browser.

firefox last visit website

Since it is using the browsing history for that, it is displaying open and closed pages. That's different from Tree Style Tab which only displays open pages but ignores closed ones.

Summary
Create a log of pages opened in the Firefox browser
Article Name
Create a log of pages opened in the Firefox browser
Description
Find out how to create a log of every website and page that gets opened in the Firefox web browser.
Author
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Comments

  1. interstellar said on June 9, 2015 at 2:15 pm
    Reply

    Martin,
    Interesting article, (as always).

    btw:
    the links to the addons you mentioned,
    link to the German version of the FF addons site.

    Not very important
    but just wanted to let you know…

    Have a great day!

  2. RottenScoundrels said on June 9, 2015 at 4:39 pm
    Reply

    Martin, when you install and test these things, do you also check for outgoing calls?

    I recently installed a recommended (not here but what I thought was a reputable site) Add-on and found it was linking to a website every time I went to an new URL. I suspect it was a tracking thing, so I blocked the IP/CIDR in my router, but it would sure be nice to know that when you recommend stuff, it’s operations have been scoured for links calling home with who knows what.

    Ctrl-Shift-Q will open the Network Monitor in PaleMoon and FFx.

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