Using Portable Firefox as a Koha Client

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Note: For an alternative without separate Firefox installation see Setting_up_slip_printer_to_print_silently

Sometimes it is necessary to have a separate install of Firefox for the purposes of receipt printing. When configured to print silently and automatically, normal, "installed" Firefox doesn't allow you to change the target printer: everything goes to the receipt printer. This annoys some people.

To get around this, one can use Portable Firefox as a duplicate, "Koha only" browser, leaving your normal, "installed" Firefox in a state where it can have completely separate bookmarks, it's full printing faculties intact, and a different home page.

Here is how to set it up:

Download and configure portable Firefox (before the first run)

  1. Download Portable Firefox
  2. "Install" it, make sure to note where the folder is installed, pick somewhere visible if you can (say, the Desktop)
  3. Edit the file "FirefoxPortable.ini" file in the Portable Firefox folder. You will without fail want to add the following (to allow multiple instances of Firefox to run -- this way you can run your locally installed Firefox and your Portable Firefox side by side):
AllowMultipleInstances=true

The entire contents of the FirefoxPortable.ini we have used is as follows:

[FirefoxPortable]
FirefoxDirectory=App\firefox
ProfileDirectory=Data\profile
SettingsDirectory=Data\settings
PluginsDirectory=Data\plugins
FirefoxExecutable=firefox.exe 
AdditionalParameters=
LocalHomepage=
DisableSplashScreen=true
AllowMultipleInstances=true
DisableIntelligentStart=false
SkipCompregFix=false
RunLocally=false

Configure Portable Firefox

  1. Fire up portable Firefox, set the home page and bookmarks to your liking. We like to add links to our project website, our web chat help client, bookmarks to commonly used Koha pages (cataloging, circulation). They are all separate from your normally installed Firefox.
  2. Configure the receipt printer in Portable Firefox. You can follow the instructions at Configure Automatic Receipt Printing, but in this case *we don't care that it restricts the printers* because it only affects Portable Firefox. Nice!
  3. Zip up the folder and unzip in the location of your choice on any computer you want to have your newly forged Koha Client Portable Firefox on.

You may be concerned about keeping your Portable Firefox up to date: It's no harder than keeping regular Firefox up to date -- just use the built in updating utility like you would with regular Firefox. (I add this because I thought at first that I would have to build and deploy an all new package every time a new version came out. Thankfully, that turned out to be untrue.)

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