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Firebug -- the best browser add-in ever? If you're a web page developer, it could be.

By Andrew Pollack on 04/24/2007 at 07:31 AM EDT

Cmdr Taco, famous of Slashdot (/. -- news for nerds) wrote of this tool in an article I read recently in either CPU or Wired magazine. It's a terrific all in one debugging and page analysis tool that sits in Firefox. It has features I've come to completely rely on.

The most important thing it does, is nothing. That is to say, it sits quietly unless called upon to act. A very small icon in the lower right corner of my browser allows me to open the working tool on any page, or change the options for when to activate. If there are javascript errors on a page, the tool quietly gives me a count. If I click to open the tool it will name the error, show me the line, and even open a code viewer to show me the error in context.

When open, I can mouse over any part of a web page and see via split screen what part of the DOM is representing that part of my page, what CSS is controlling it, and a horde of other details. I can set breakpoints and watch variables in in live javascript, and I can even see a break down of the referenced page resources and how long they took to download.

It's quick, powerful, unobtrusive when not in use, and best of all, free.

Here are a couple of screenshots, taken from the lower half of a browser window. The page I'm debugging is above, not displayed here.

There are  - loading -  comments....

re: Firebug -- the best browser add-in ever? If you're a web page developer, it could be.By Devin Olson on 04/24/2007 at 10:34 AM EDT
Just installed Firebug, and I have but one word to describe it.....Wow.

Thanks for the tip.

re: Firebug -- the best browser add-in ever? If you're a web page developer, it could be.By Gerald Mengisen on 04/24/2007 at 02:56 PM EDT
I love Firebug! Everyday you discover something new in it. The other day, I
discovered the not-so-visible option "Break on all errors" (Script tab, Options
menu). You stop right at the JavaScript error and can see the values of all
variables. What a time saver!

P.S.: Hi Devin, cool to meet you in here. The last time, it was at Andrew's LS
session :-)
re: Firebug -- the best browser add-in ever? If you're a web page developer, it could be.By Devin Olson on 04/25/2007 at 07:52 AM EDT
Hey there old friend. It was really cool running into you at Lotusphere. Drop
me an email sometime. (Check my blog for address).

re: Firebug -- the best browser add-in ever? If you're a web page developer, it could be.By Thomas Bahn on 04/24/2007 at 03:06 PM EDT
One other thing, I really like in Firebug, is the possibility to alter the DOM
and CSS of the page displayed LIVE!
Positioning fails somehow? Border should grow 1px on the left side? Simply
modify the CSS. Attribute missing? Simply modify the HTML of the page. And when
ready, save the result.

And developing AJAX web applications, Firebug is the ultimate tool to see the
request, the response and all headers.


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