Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Web Development: Firefox 16 and the developer toolbar


A few days ago Mozilla has released the new Firefox 16.
There are a few interesting things we should consider in this new release:
1) the incremental garbage collection which improves the browser overall performance;
2) web app support;
3) better CSS3 animations;
4) reader mode for Android devices improves the reading experience;
5) VoiceOver, a text reader for OSX systems;
6) the new developer toolbar.

The last is what we are talking about here: the developer toolbar. Let's see what it can do.

Command line
The new tool is accessible by pressing shift+F2. A grey toolbar will appear at the bottom of the viewport.
What appears immediately to all of us, is some sort of command line. Is it? Yes, it actually is a command line.
At the moment there are some interesting ways of using it. The following is a list of all available commands:
      addon: manages addons 
      break: manages break point and sections
      calllog: commands used to manage functions calls logs
      console: console commands
      cookie: shows and modifies cookies
      dbg: manages the debugger
      edit: changes the page resources
      export: resources export
      firebug: Web Developer Evolved
      help: helps us on available commands, showing options and everything else we need to know on a specific command
      inspect: inspects a node
      pagemod: edit a page
      pref: preferences
      resize: manages the flexible view mode
      restart: restarts Firefox
      screenshot: saves a screenshot of the page
      tilt: show your web page in 3D
It would take a whole set of articles just to explore everything about the above commands. However I suspect you are all going to look what they are actually doing in depth as soon as you have installed Firefox 16.
But there's more...

Other tools
Other switches are available on the right hand side of the Developer Toolbar.
The first is the Web Console which will show us errors and warnings for the viewed page. We already know something about the Web Console because it's similar to the Error Console, accessible from the top right corner of the top toolbar in Firefox (remember those green checks or red badges?).
Analysis allows us to select and inspect elements on a page. Quite useful in order to see how an element is behaving during web development and coding.
The Debugger is exactly what it says. If you already use Firebug, you won't find any difficulties in using the developer toolbar debugger.

I do hope that this new version will improve the browsing experience. I've lately noticed that Firefox is getting too "big" and slow. While the first releases were very fast and light, lately it has really began to suffer from annoying strange behaviours (for example the use of RAM).
However, the introduction of the Developer toolbar is really something we, developer, might value a lot.
I invite you to download and try Firefox 16... and see with your own eyes if this tool will help you and how.

Let me know what you're thinking about it.


  1. Firefox 16 has a new command line tool which is accessible by pressing shift + F2, and it appears at the bottom. It has got numerous amount of commands edit, export, pagemod, firebug and so on.

    1. Thanks Leon. I don't understand your point...

  2. The toolbar that comes along with Firefox 16 is much beneficial according to developers. This new toolbar is accomplished with some amazing features that are helpful for programmers.

    1. You made your point... Are you going to say something more or keep repeating what I've already said? Next time marked as spam.


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