Mouse Gestures is an interesting concept where you associate a specified action with a certain pattern of mouse movement. Mouse gestures is a not a new concept in Internet browsers world as Opera has supported them natively for years. You can also use some Firefox extensions such as Mouse Gestures and All in One Gestures extension to incorporate this functionality in FireFox. These extensions also support other type of gestures such as mouse wheel rocker gestures that will allow you to perform tab switching using mouse wheel. They show mouse trails as well to give you a visual clue of what gesture you are going to perform. In particular I like the Mouse Gesture extension that will allow you associate java script snippets with a particular gesture that makes it much more customizable. This extension supports horizontal,vertical and diagonal movements when defining your gestures, However both of these extension do not allow you to define context sensitive gestures and also they will not allow you define drag & drop gestures that are much more intuitive to use in my opinion. The solution to these limitations lies in the use of DragDeGo extension.
DragDeGo is an extension that utilizes D&D gestures to perform different actions. For example you can D&D some text or image in a specific direction to perform an action. Now D&D gestures could not be as useful had they not been supported by context sensitivity. By context sensitivity I mean you can assign the same upward D&D gesture to multiple actions depending upon what you have dragged and dropped. That is it will perform one action on the above mentioned gesture if you selected some text , and another if you drag and dropped an image , yet an other on a link etc. It can identify gestures on text,images,links and gestures in page source view. You can setup up to four different D&D gestures(one in each direction left,right,up,down) for each of the above mentioned elements. Actions you can define for gestures also depends upon the elements you are performing a gesture on for example if it is selected text , an image or a link. Some useful actions include searching the selected text with the specified search engine, save selected text snippet in a text file with the filename being the title of the webpage from which you are saving the text. For images you can save an image in a specified directory with a single D&D gesture. For links you can save the link in a specified folder or search the text of the link (extension is intelligent to search the link text rather than the URL of the link so that you don’t need to select the link text for that)in a tab by a simple gesture. You can set the folders where your saved images,text snippets and links will go. Also shows visual clues(customizable) as to what action is going to be performed as a result of drag & drop gesture.
This extension has a permanent place in my Firefox profile.Some of the useful gestures I have setup with DragDeGo are as follows:
- Quickly search a selected text (or a link text)by a upward drag & drop gesture .
- Save the selected text snippet by downward D&D gesture.
- Save the image in my specified directory by the downward D&D gesture.
- Save the link in my specified directory by the downward D&D gesture.
For me this extension has really turned out to be a productivity booster as I can perform many common tasks with a quick D&D gesture. I think that these gesture are easier to learn and perform than normal mouse gestures and because this extension can understand the context in which you have performed a gesture that makes it much more useful. But I admit this way of performing your common web browsing tasks may take some getting used to but after a while it will become a second nature to you.
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