Superstart/Humble New Tab Page

I’ve been really busy this semester and only had time to upgrade Firefox to v57 (Quantum) recently. It’s a great release; it has a better interface (never been a fan of Australis theme tbh; love the new ‘libraries’ menu), and I can’t remember the time when Firefox has been this responsive before. I really appreciate the developers’ hard work to make this release possible.

The only thing I missed about this release is the add-on compatibility. Some of my favorite add-ons, like Flashgot, GrabMyBooks, Context Search, and Superstart doesn’t work, since they’re written with XUL instead of WebExtensions. Fortunately, a popular add-on in active development is more likely to be rewritten with WebExtensions, but I still need to find a replacement for some add-ons, such as replacing Context Search with Swift Selection Search.

The add-on I missed the most besides Flashgot is Superstart, which I’ve been using for years as a homepage/new tab page/bookmarks list. I know Firefox has made a new tab page and homepage with shortcuts of frequently visited pages, but they don’t have the flexibility Superstart has. The good news is, although it hasn’t been updated for two years, the developer put a note on the add-on page promising a rewrite. I still tried to find a temporary replacement, though.

There are a handful of new tab page replacements on Firefox’s add-on site, but some of them are just small tweaks of Firefox’s original new tab page, which I never truly liked. A small amount of them are connected to online services, which I don’t need. The add-on I finally settled down with is Humble New Tab Page. It doesn’t look, feel or behave much like Superstart, but I think it’s as good as – if not better than – Superstart.

First of all, it uses Firefox’s own bookmarks to show shortcuts instead of a separate database like Superstart does. This is a good thing, since I have it synchronized with my Firefox account, I don’t have to think of backing up my sites separately. The first time I set up this add-on I have to bookmark my sites from scratch since I haven’t used bookmarks for a long time, but my bookmarks list needs cleaning up anyway.

HNTB shows the bookmarks as a drop-down list with site favicons, which is very different from Superstart, which uses thumbnails. Thinking of it, I prefer lists; thumbnails are a waste of time and space. Besides bookmarks, it also a simple weather indicator and recently bookmarked/closed tabs. You can arrange folders by drag-and-drop to change their order, or even make new columns.


(HNTP with Classic theme and background photo by Mikhail Vasilyev)

Some Tips about Humble New Tab Page

  • Hit F5 if your changes doesn’t show.
  • If you want your bookmarks to be sorted by name, go to Library>Show All Bookmarks, right click on your bookmarks’ parent folder, and click ‘Sort by Name’. Workspace_1_003 Or better yet, use an add-on like Sort Bookmarks.
  • To set HNTP as home page, right click on the page and select Page Info, copy the page’s address (moz-extension://randomnumbers/newtab.html) & paste it on Preferences>General>Home Page.

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