Announcing IE Add-ons Contest Winners!

Just after we released IE7, we announced a contest for developers. Create and submit an add-on to and the best add-on would win a trip for two to MIX07. Entries needed to be submitted to between November 1, 2006 and February 9, 2007, had to be either a completely new add-on or an enhanced version of an existing add-on. We recruited members of the Internet Explorer product team to install and review the add-ons. With over 400 entries, it was a difficult decision to find the best ones, but the ones below are pretty sweet.

Grand Prize – A Trip for two to MIX07

Inline Search by Core Services

Inline Search provides a way to search for content on a webpage without bringing up the Find Dialog.  It incorporates find as you type, highlights search terms and has several other really useful features!

First Prize - $2000 Cash

ieSpell by Red Egg Software

Checks your spelling in textboxes on a webpage.  A great feature for blogging and filling out online forms.

Second Prize - $1000 Cash

FoxyTunes by FoxyTunes

An add-on that allows you to control your favorite media player without ever leaving your browser.

Third Prize - $500 Cash

RoboForm by SiberSystems

Password manager and form filler that automates password entering and filling out of forms.

Honorable Mentions – Each winner will receive a Zune

GooglePreview by Edward Ackroyd
IE Screenshot Pro by BrowserTweaks
IEWatch by IEWatch Software
FreePicGrabber by FreePicGrabber

The entries were judged on ten factors:

  • Creativity: Creative and innovative application.
  • Productivity: How does the add-on increase the productivity of someone browsing the web?
  • Practical Use: Does the add-on solve a practical problem or make something easier?
  • Performance: Does the add-on cause any slowdowns to Internet Explorer?
  • Difficulty Of Problem Solved: How challenging was this problem to solve?  Did the developer have to come up with a new way of thinking?
  • Cool Factor: Is this something that people are going to want and think it’s something they have to have?
  • Footprint: Does the add-on have a small footprint for its purpose?
  • Ease Of Use: Was the add-on easy to install and figure out?  Did the user have to look at the read me or instructions to figure out how to use it?
  • Application Design/Architecture: Clean, easy-to-understand and well designed application.
  • Widespread interest/Use: Usefulness of the application across a wide audience of consumers.

Congratulations to the winners, and thanks to all who entered!  It was a tough decision to pick the best of all of the entries!  We’ll be contacting the winners via email over the next couple of days.

PEte LePage
Product Manager

Comments (47)

  1. rc says:

    Internet Explorer Developer Toolbar does not work under Vista x64.

  2. J B says:

    The first two are built into Firefox 2, the 3rd was originally an addon for Firefox. The fourth is again built into Firefox, and the other’s functionality are available as addons to Firefox! Whoa, way to go! How long until IE8 with these features built in??

  3. Modex says:

    Yep! 🙂 So much money for nothing… It’s all in Firefox!

  4. broken links in the RSS feed, &amp instead of &…

  5. what? pay for extensions? where have you been? says:

    So, of those extensions:

    RoboForm costs $30.00

    IE ScreenShotPro costs $20.00

    IE Watch costs $170.00

    FreePicGrabber costs $25.00

    I find the "Free" pic grabber most amusing…

    So, why would I want to get these extensions? when there are so many for Firefox, that are free!

    And yes, inline Search is definately the best… because it replaces a broken feature in IE7.

  6. JB says:

    You have to pay for these? LOL! !!!! Save yourself money and get functionality from people who just want you to have functionality!

  7. Inline Search is "published" by IEforge <; a "venture" (more an adventure to tell the truth) in which Jean Fabrice Rabaute is taking part with Eugene Van den Bulke. We are both stoked and looking forward to going to Vegas 😉

  8. ieblog reader says:

    Congrats to the Inline Search creators.  I found this awesome IE add-on on Paul Thurrott’s blog sometime ago and have been using it since.

    ieSpell is nice, but I don’t like that it leaves stuff in the Registry when you uninstall it.  I had to remove some folders for get rid of some right-click menu options that remained after I uninstalled the add-on.  It’s nice though and the stuff that’s left in the Registry isn’t something to worry about if you’re not into IE’s right-click menu looking like you want it to.

  9. Arieta says: shouldve recieved the top prize. It adds the most functionality for browsing and best of all its free.

  10. Rick says:

    I noticed that ‘originality’ wasn’t one of the 10 factors. One browser’s new discovery is another’s way of life (Firefox).

  11. Dave Massy says:


    The IE Developer Toolbar works just fine on  Vista x64. I’m running it without a problem on 64 bit vista.

    I would not expect it to work on 64 bit versions of IE as the toolbar is not currently available as a 64 bit extension. The 64 bit version of IE needs to have a 64 bit version of extensions available and few if any 64 bit extensions for IE are available today. For this very reason 32 bit IE is the default on 64 bit versions of Windows. Maybe a future version of the toolbar (and other extensions) will be made available in 64 bit form allowing 64 bit IE to become the default for 64 bit versions of Windows.

    I’m running 64 bit Vista and have the toolbar working just fine on 32 bit IE.

    If you are having problems on 32 bit IE then you probably need to be a little more specific in your issue than "It doesn’t work" and include full repro steps.



  12. MikeB says:

    I have just started using Diigo toolbar, following strong recommendation from a friend, and I can tell you: it is a killer!

    I am going to try the winners here to see how good are they

  13. Kurbli says:

    Használd! Grand Prize – A Trip for two to MIX07 Inline Search by Core Services Inline Search provides

  14. Paranoid says:

    Congrats to the winners.

    Question: How safe are these add-ins? I typically follow the philosophy of less software installed reduces my attack surface. Also, how do I know these add-ins are not logging my keystrokes or monitoring my activity?

  15. rc says:


    For me, IE Developer Toolbar doesn’t work. I have Windows Vista Ultimate (64-bit), use IE with default settings. I install IE Developer Toolbar; it reports that installation is successful. It shows the proper icon ("<cursor>") on the toolbar. But clicking this icon does NOTHING. Absolutely nothing.

  16. Jason Lee says:

    These are entirely safe.  I have used and tested most of them with no problems.

  17. Brian LePore says:

    For me the IE Developer Toolbar for IE7 works fine on my work computer. It’s the Script Debugger that I can’t get working. As soon as I uncheck the two Disable Script Debugging options on the Advanced tab of Internet Options IE won’t load any web pages after that.

    When MS releases the new VM of Windows XP with SP1 so that we developers can test in IE6 (like you said you would once the timebomb expires on it) can we please have it set to work around the validation thing? I wanted to install the Script Debugger there and couldn’t because WGA said the copy was not genuine (duh).

  18. Arieta says:

    IE Dev Toolbar works fine on my end (32bit xpsp2), however, it often crashes when I open a link using middle mouse button. It was quite annoying so I removed the toolbar, a pity because it had many nice features.

  19. anony.muos says:

    You guys are wasting too much time. Wake up. It’s March 2007 and you’re still behind web standards. I’m off to Firefox.

  20. Fduch says:

    reading about IE7pro…

    IE7pro has Crash Recovery feature: "Crash Recovery automatically restores all opened pages after a crash happened."

    That means…. errr IE7 still doesn’t have such basic features??

    Oh My God… they’re doomed!

  21. Fduch says:


    I think this bug was reported…. it was 1 of 1808 bugs that were active at the bug tracker at the moment they closed it to hide the shame.

  22. __hAl__ says:


    FF 2.x has crash recovery.

    Pity I need it so often…

    Back to 1.5 I guess

  23. Congratulations to all the prize winners!

    I would also like to recommend the Quero add-on ( that has a very neat inline search feature that is built right into Quero’s combined address/search bar replacement. No need to press Ctrl+F any more to start finding text on the page. Quero is a research project which focuses on Usability, Content Filtering and Security and is a free add-on for IE 5.5+

  24. akmshun says:

    IE Pro should be must-install plugin!!!

  25. segaa says:

    Paranoid wrote>Question: How safe are these add-ins? I typically follow the philosophy of less software installed reduces my attack surface. Also, how do I know these add-ins are not logging my keystrokes or monitoring my activity?

    Answer: You can check twice and read other people’s review on the add-on of your choice. For example, our BaoBau IESessions and IECopySelectedLinks add-ons were granted 100% CLEAN Softpedia Awards to eliminate such concerns. If you even more paranoid like me (no offence :o) ), you can check your firewall and sniffer logs on the subject of suspicious activity and post somewhere in the forum to point out the issue.

  26. Hmm says:

    How safe are these add-ons? Easy to tell, just check the sourcecode.

    Hmm, no sourcecode? Oh well, guess I’ll stick to Firefox add-ons, which are just zip files containing the source code, directly readable right there.

  27. Xepol says:

    This contest would be more meaningful if writing plugs wasn’t so mind bendingly difficult.

    The IE Team has GOT to learn to lower the barriers.  LOOK at firefox, Heck, LOOK AT VISUAL STUDIO!!!

    Writing a plugin should NOT require a freakin phd in obscure, poorly documented interfaces.  

    The difficult writing plugins is INEXCUSABLE considering that IE already has built in scripting languages, DOM and the resources of Microsoft behind it (presumably, they would NOT all be required to provide a simpler plugin system, but one does begin to wonder)

    No, I’m afraid that awarding prizes to these plugs is something of a huge joke that belittles the efforts and improvements that IE team has shown over the past year.  It is a shame that this farce HAD to take place thanks to the poor plugin design.

    Come on IE Team, we already know you can get it right if you try – focus that energy on the plug in system.  MAKE IT EASIER – make the next version of this contest MEANINFUL.

  28. hAl says:

    I agree with Xepol

    Make it easier to write plugins (without losing much stability due to very poor plugin writing).

  29. Jon says:

    Still waiting for the adblock extension.  Until then, I’ll never set foot in IE.

  30. Ralph says:

    Is there an ETA on the next XPSP2 image of Windows with IE6?  The current one has a killdate of April 1st.

  31. @Xepol, hAl

    Writing plug-ins and developing software in general may be difficult, but I would not say that the interfaces are poorly documented. I have learned a lot from various MSDN articles and all public APIs are easily accessible too(both online and offline). Additionally to MSDN do not forget that there are tons of example code available on the Web for writing IE extensions (look at for example). Some basic extensions can even be developed in Javascript. I am happy that it is also possible to write extensions in C, C++ or C#.NET, because these languages are much more powerful compared to what you can realize in Javascript.


    There are a lot ad blockers available for IE, some of them are even free (

  32. Xepol says:

    Vikor -> Speaking as someone who doesn’t work in C++ and can’t just adjust a pre-existing solution/example until it does something else, but rather has to work from the ground up from what information already exists, I still maintain that the process is poorly documented.

    You might be able to find interfaces documented, but the whole process of tying it together and properly registering it is a strong weak point.  

    Try identifying all the interfaces and registry keys involved in getting a download manager working! (implmented by intercepting URL requests)

    The browser could EASILY have an registry section that lists applications as download managers that can be called with a single command line arguement as the URL, or a COM object with a single required interface (IDownloadManager?), or any of the many other standard ways the shell already has for hand off.

    Adding a button to the toolbar could be equally easy.  The com object (IIEToolBarButton) could has a click method that accepts a reference to the DOM of the current document and the browser itself, but instead you get a migraine just trying to figure out what interfaces to support.  Heck, the ability to tie a button to some javascript could make it even easier.

    Toolbars just get worse from there.  If you don’t use C++, you could easily go insane.

    A few basic libraries (like a dotnet assembly) from the IE Team could go a LONG way towards simplifying the process.

    Honestly, no matter what you or I think of the current coding method, and no matter how much we disagree about it, there is still a success metric was can agree upon.  Compare both the number of plugins and the number of plugin authors between IE and Firefox.

    Unfortunately, that shows that IE is still a very closed ecosystem and SOMETHING is clearly keeping people out – compare how both plugin systems work and I think you’ll get your answer on how and why.

  33. ADAXL says:

    I am somewhat peeved by the winning entries that cost money (eg. Roboform). Can’t Microsoft require that all winning IE Add-ons must be offered for free in return for the prize? Firefox has many more extensions and they are all free. IE Add-ons that cost $30 will drive users to

  34. Is it just me, or could the "IE Add-ons Contest" have been renamed the "IE Add-the-features-Firefox-has-that-we-don’t Contest"? Of the four top addons, three implement Firefox features for IE. And the last is an extension we had first. Even the description

  35. says:

    Kurz nachdem der Internet Explorer 7 ver&ouml;ffentlicht wurde, rief das Entwicklerteam einen Wettbewerb f&uuml;r Entwickler aus. Sie sollten bestehende Add-Ons erweitern oder g&auml;nzlich neue entwickeln. Als Belohnung gab es interessante Geldpreise

  36. Aedrin says:

    "One browser’s new discovery is another’s way of life (Firefox)."

    Where do these people come from, claiming Firefox came up with all these things?

    Firefox was the first browser with tabs, inline search, add-ons? Right…

  37. Joel says:


    We’re not claiming that Firefox invented all these things, we’re merely pointing out that all these "exciting" add-ons, have long since been standard on most other browsers.

    I can make my Ford Pinto look and Drive like a Porsche Roadster, if I add-on a new engine, new seats, new suspension, yada, yada…

    Or I can go get the Porsche Roadster.

    In this case, the Porsche Roadster is free, tested, and ready to drive off the lot now!

    Not only that, if I want the Mega Stereo upgrade, or the Low Profile Racing Slick Tires, or the Integrated GPS Navigation system, I can go get them,… all,… for FREE!

    Suddenly, that "upgradeable" Pinto doesn’t look so hot…

  38. @Xepol

    You have made some very good points and suggestions in your last post.

    >Compare both the number of plugins and the number of plugin authors between IE and Firefox.

    The problem here is that it is very difficult to find the actual number of existing IE extensions while it is easy to find (almost) all public add-ons that have ever been developed for Firefox.

    The reason is that Mozilla has a very neat and customizable add-on Web site that really invites developers to add and promote their add-ons on Mozilla’s official home page whereas (now part of windowsmarketplace) is less usable and does not give the developer as much control over his or her listing. I have commented about other issues in a previous blog entry: (the migration issue has been resolved)

  39. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    There’s no question that investment in the extensibility experience in IE is something that we’re looking into.  

    @Xepol: Adding a toolbar button that triggers an executable or JScript can be accomplished by setting a few registry values.  See for more info.

    Adding one that manipulates the DOM using C++ isn’t much harder.

  40. says:

    The IE Blog announced the IE Add-ons Contest Winners a couple of days, and I have to take a moment…

  41. Tino Zijdel says:

    EricLaw: any thoughts on how to get a handle to the currently opened window/tab within script in an HTML-document in a sidebar?

    Building extensions for IE would be so much easier if:

    a) it didn’t require COM-programming but could just suffice with scripting

    b) it didn’t require registry settings

    c) it came with an easy packaging and deployment model

    Personally I wouldn’t use any of the winner add-ons because I have them for free in other browsers and I generally distrust free add-ons that only come in binary format without sourcecode.

  42. John says:

    Congratulations to all the winners.  I’m glad the top prize went to a free extension.  We’re a little late and though we don’t get a chance at any of the prizes, we’ve updated our "Open Last Closed Tab" ( plugin to support a cool new "Quick Tab Style View" that shows you thumbnails of the last closed tabs, much in the same way that the "Quick Tabs" built-in to IE shows you currently open tabs.  We’ve also added a "find" option to easily filter out only the relevant tabs you are looking to reopen.  After implementing the find feature, we’re kind of hopeful that something like that will get added to the "Quick Tabs" built-in to IE for when you have a lot of tabs open, it makes it easy to get to the pages you want to be.

    Good job to everyone who entered!


  43. Lucky says:

    IE7PRO = Mouse Gesture + IE ScreenShot Pro + FreePicGrabber

    And it is free!

  44. riscy says:

    Nothing new here, it all done on firefox and it free. Live Long the firefox.

  45. John says:

    Ugh, sorry about the double post (flaky internet as of lately).  I just noticed it, though it didn’t show up the yesterday when I made the post.  Moderators: please remove the second post if at all possible.



  46. Personally, I’d like to say that

    IE7pro (


    Inline Search (

    is a best-of-breed combination.

    I would like also to recommend it to you to use it. So far, they’ve been worked great without any problems, AFAIK.


  47. segaa says:

    Tino Zijdel wrote>I generally distrust free add-ons that only come in binary format without sourcecode.

    It is remarkably typical how people blindly accept safeness of FF extensions. How many FF extension script lines one reviewed? I was specifically interested in some of extensions (ex. Tab Mix Plus, S3Fox etc.) and reviewed maybe 20-40% of their code. Can I make a clime that they are safe – NO! So, how people who did not program any extension and just believe in their safeness can clime that FF extensions more safe then IE add-ons? By the way look at this Zoep extension – some person in the comments wrote that the zoep.dll contains virus – nobody even bothered answering him.

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