Friday, July 18th, 2008

Firebug to get a boost

Category: Debugging

Great news for all Web developers out there (that be you!). Firebug is going to get a shot in the arm. Joe Hewitt has had to slow down his work on the tool, and thus the Firebug Working Group was created, to try to make the tool continue to thrive.

The work has been mainly done recently by John J Barton of IBM, and Jan Odvarko. They will now be joined by 50% of a John Resig:

I’ve got a mini-announcement. Starting this week about half of my time at Mozilla is going to be spent driving the direction of the brand-new Mozilla Firebug team. I’m, understandably, quite excited about this proposition. Like all web developers I’ve found Firebug to be an invaluable tool for web development.

We’re in a very primordial stage right now – we’re meeting at the Firefox Summit at the end of the month and again at the beginning of August for the Firebug Working Group. We’ll be setting some major goals for post-Firebug 1.2 development. I highly suspect that we’ll be doing some exploratory Firebug extension development as well.

Also, Rob Campbell (Mozilla hacker, tester, and tool developer) will be joining them.

This is at a time that Firebug really needs this shot in the arm, so I can’t wait to see what happens next. If you have ideas on what you want to see, let them know…. they are listening.

Posted by Dion Almaer at 8:46 am

4.6 rating from 82 votes


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That is awesome news.

It would be absolutely sweet to see firebug having a kind of bookmarklet functionality (with auto-start) that can jumpstart some timers and inspections.

Comment by SchizoDuckie — July 18, 2008

Absolutely awesome! That’s a great team! :)

Comment by Rey Bango — July 18, 2008

sounds great, the only idea i would have is MAKE IT STABLE, i nearly stopped using it because it the main source of the crashes my Firefox.

Its really annoying :!

Comment by V1 — July 18, 2008

Great news! … I’m expecting more stability before new features are added.

Comment by Les — July 18, 2008

It would be neat to include some sort of unit tests (like NUnit is for C#)

Comment by matanlurey — July 18, 2008

OMG. This is awfull news. Resig doesn’t understand a shit about javascript, and now he is going to screw Firebug.

What a shame.

Comment by Laurent V. — July 18, 2008

I’m not a big fan of the programming style and paradigm used by Resig in JQuery, but saing Resig doesn’t understand poo poo about javascript it’s just ridiculous.

Comment by PedroBatista — July 18, 2008

Hmmm I never experienced a crash in firebug so far and I am using this too 90% of my time when doing css and stuff.

Comment by Aimos — July 18, 2008

Resig rules, jQuery rules and Firebug will be better because of him.

Comment by beepboop — July 18, 2008

Really Laurent V? Are you trolling or do you actually feel John Resig is short on Javascript ability? Have you read his blog or looked through his code or anything? Seems a pretty silly claim. You might not like his coding style or something, but to say he doesn’t understand JS is a pretty big stretch.

Comment by enobrev — July 18, 2008

Firebug doesn’t crash for me either.. but has some annoying bugs.
e.g. it works different when detached from browser window (you can’t edit html or css then).. also lately firebug doesn’t show some exceptions for me.. it’s just silent.. I have no idea why (same exceptions are visible in other browsers e.g. webkit) .. so now I’m between Webkit’s developer tools and Firefox’s firebug.

Anyway I hope that passion of Mr J Resig will lead Firebug to be rock solid tool :)

Comment by medikoo — July 18, 2008

woo-hoo! As someone that uses firebug 10 hrs/day, I have to say it’s an amazing tool, but at the same time has more faults than any other dev tool I’ve ever worked with. Breakpoints don’t consistently fire, tabbing in the CSS editor regulary breaks, the tool itself regularly interferes with JS execution, it cancels onload events sometimes, it crashes FF, etc etc. I’m glad there’s going to be more people dedicated to it now.

Comment by cwolves — July 18, 2008

I’m a big jQuery (Resig) and Firebug fan so I think this is great news!

Comment by AriesBelgium — July 18, 2008

Awesome. Can’t wait to see Firebug get even better. Great news

Comment by holts — July 18, 2008

Firebug is the greatest web developer tool I’ve ever used!
This is great news!

Comment by ccan — July 18, 2008

Obviously John has been thinking deeply about the future of FireBug in general. Check out his recent blog post for a great discussion of possible future enhancements:

Comment by Hardy55 — July 18, 2008

John working on Firebug is like having Bobby Flay grill up some brats for me! Excellent!

Comment by emwendelin — July 18, 2008

There is only 1 feature i’d really like firebug to have:
When clicking on a function-name, jump to the function declaration (which may be in a different .js file).
Firebug is already the best tool for web degugging (by quite a bit), but that doesn’t mean we should’t make it Perfect.

Comment by Jaaap — July 18, 2008

Firebug has become the de facto tool for web development. It blows the IE Developer Toolbar out of the water. Glad to see John and Rob on the team. I’m looking forward to my favorite plugin getting even better. Congrats, guys.

Comment by aksival — July 18, 2008

I know some people had stability problems in FF2 with Firebug. That was always solid for me, but FF3 and Firebug are crashy for me and I get long hangs.

I have a heck of a time finding a small sample case to submit as a bug, though. Maybe Firebug needs a mechanism to call home with info when it crashes.

Comment by Nosredna — July 18, 2008

There is one thing in my mind that would lead to a major revolution for Firebug – have some way to create extensions/plugins for it. I have so many ideas for enhancing it that I know that others would jump on the plugin wagon.

For instance – a plugin that would show you the “diffs” of the css and js you did for a page, so you could re-enter those into your existing css.

A way to choose an element and see all the YUI or JQuery events attached to it.


Give us plugin- ability!!

Comment by triptych — July 19, 2008

@Laurent V : what a really poor comment to make.

Comment by williamukoh — July 19, 2008

>>@Laurent V : what a really poor comment to make.
I always assume that comments like that come from the intensely poisonous atmosphere of comp.lang.javascript.

Comment by Nosredna — July 19, 2008

@triptych: Firebug already has plugin support. You can develop plugins for ti if you want.

Comment by Jaaap — July 19, 2008

@triptych: Take a look at

Comment by splintor — July 19, 2008

Here’s the single suggestion I’d like to see taken (aside from stability, which is a given requirement IMO)…

Give me a version for IE!

I have to believe it’s possible… there’s certainly a number of tools for IE that do a least *most* of what Firebug does, so I don’t think it’s a technical issue… How bizarre would it be to have Mozilla making web development on IE tolerable (err, maybe “just a little more tolerable” is the right way to put it?!?)

Hell, if I was them, I’d do it just to stick it to the IE team!

Comment by fzammetti — July 20, 2008

>>Hell, if I was them, I’d do it just to stick it to the IE team!
Don’t you think the IE team endures enough grief as it is?

Comment by Nosredna — July 20, 2008

– it really is a technical issue, since some of FF features simply don´t exist in IE, e.g. FF does have a watch() method on objects, which no other browser has. As you can imagine this is a major functionality fro a debugger, although I don´t think it is actually part of the FB implementation. It surely will be in soon, though, see
“break on mutation event” and “Update w/o reload” (both related functionalities).

I do think that a working debug environment in one browser is good enough for me, I use that for development and care about “lesser developed” browsers later.

Comment by FrankThuerigen — July 20, 2008

@Laurent V.: make yourself a name with coding, not trolling. With comments like that you disqualify yourself…

Comment by FrankThuerigen — July 20, 2008

stability has to be the first thing they tackle

right now i have firebug disabled for all webpages and just use it on a case by case basis, else it just randomly crashes while browsing

maybe im not feeling creative right now, but i feel that it’s already a very feature rich, incredibly useful plugin, and really just needs lots of clean up, optimisation etc rather then more features.

Comment by stevesnz — July 20, 2008

@tryptych, as others have already mentioned, you can write extensions for Firebug. Firecookie is a good example:

Comment by GregHouston — July 20, 2008

Absolutely awesome! That’s a great team! :)

Comment by RobGonda — July 20, 2008

There are two things I’d really like to see in Firebug:
1) debugging integration with IDEs, so I can set a breakpoint in Eclipse and firebug stops at that point. I really hate to find the code line I need in firebug.
2) I don’t know if that is necessarily is a feature request for Firebug or Firefox, but sometimes I need the option to open a second firefox tab without reusing the cookies from the first one. Most times two work in the same application using different sessions.
If there already is a plugin for Firefox or Firebug please share it with me.

Comment by faralla — July 21, 2008

Great to hear Resig taking part of firebug as well, just great.
Cant help myself not to say anything but Laurent he might not be your cup of tea but the guy is brilliant(Guru) when its comes to JS.

Comment by Iumentum — July 21, 2008

glad to hear it, FireBug is the best browser addon period.

Comment by indiehead — July 21, 2008

John Resig knows more about JavaScript than you idiots know about your right hand. Not only that – he is a kewl dude, willing to take to take the time to talk with anyone

Comment by OpenAjax — July 21, 2008

Here is a good reference on Firebug tutorial :

Comment by ds1 — May 2, 2011

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