Top 5 Firebug Extensions

Firebug started as an indispensable Firefox extension which takes web development to a new level. But after 2 years since it’s initial 1.0 release, Firebug has grown into a platform with a host of extensions built right on top of it. Here are my top 5 Firebug extensions that every web developer should have installed.

#5 SenSEO – SenSEO is a handy checklist of key SEO criteria. This Firebug extension rates your page on a scale of 100 against Google’s webmaster guidelines. SenSEO is most important right before a big launch to catch any simple tweaks that you may have overlooked during development.

SenSEO Firebug Extension Screenshot

#4 CodeBurner – CodeBurner is an HTML and CSS reference right at your fingertips while you debug. It adds a Code Example tab which gives a brief description of the HTML tag or CSS property you have highlighted as well as a code sample so you can see the recommended usage. If that’s not enough, CodeBurner provides a link to the Sitepoint reference page which has everything you could ever want to know. Man, I wish I had this extension when I was learning HTML and CSS (let alone Firebug).

CodeBurner Firebug Extension Screenshot

#3 FireFind – FireFind does only one thing but it does it well: finding elements. Using a CSS selector or XPath statement, FireFind will highlight all of the matching elements on the page. This makes it a breeze to test CSS selectors with your site right in front of you. To boot, it also features a count of all the elements found. Even though this is possible through Firebug’s console tab when any popular JavaScript library is included, FireFind makes the process straight-forward and painless.

FireFinder Firebug Extension Screenshot

#2 FireCookie – If you have ever had to debug JavaScript cookies then you’ll wonder how you got by without this extension. FireCookie lets you inspect and edit cookies on the fly including permissions, values, and the expiration time. You can even sort all of your cookies as well as filter them out by domain. And when testing a script for your audience that has cookies disabled, FireCookie provides a simple option to disable cookies globally or just for the current domain. Now working with cookies doesn’t have to be such a stale experience.

FireCookie Firebug Extension Screenshot

#1 YSlow – Serious web developers are obsessed with performance and YSlow provides a smorgasbord of tools for measuring the speed of a site. YSlow is built around 34 best practices for speeding up a website which is the result of extensive research by the Yahoo Performance team. The extension provides a letter grade of each practice with advice on how to squeeze out every little bit of extra performance.

YSlow Test Grade View

Another handy view is the Components tool which gives you an insight into all of the componets of the page. There are a bevy of stats that can be analyzed to pinpoint bloated waste.

YSlow Components View

Finally, the statistics tool gives insight into the weight of your page for users with an empty cache and a primed cache.

YSlow Statistics View

If you have never given much thought to the performance of your site, YSlow makes it easy to dive right in.

What are some of your favorite Firefox extensions geared towards web development?

I Participated In Firefox Download Day, Did You?

Firefox Download Day 2008 Certificate

Today is June 17th and that means Firefox 3 becomes official. After several betas and release candidates the successor to the #2 browser in the world has finally been thrusted upon us. You might want to skip Firefox 3 if you don’t use any addons, only use one tab at a time and/or enjoy a slow, bogged down web browser. Besides better memory management, the new “awesome bar”, and refreshed interfaces that better integrate into the look of your operating system, Firefox 3 manages to pack in over 15,000 other improvements.

To draw attention, the folks at Mozilla headquarters decided to break the Guinness record for the most downloaded software in a 24 hour period. Hence Firefox Download Day was created.

I updated Firefox on my MacBook Pro, on my Windows XP virtual machine running in VMware, my ancient PC at work, and even my huge Windows laptop. That last update was particularly tricky as the wireless card for my desktop replacement died and I had to tether it to my Mac via a cross-over cable. Here is a picture of the irony.

Apple makes a great $2700 wifi card.
Apple makes a great $2700 wifi card!

How many computers did you update today?

P.S. Get your own certificate.

UPDATE: Now you can track the number of downloads in real-time as well as see the average number of downloads per minute!

Mozilla Shows Off Firefox Mobile Interface

I stumbled across this Mobile Firefox Interface Concept video today over at Aza Raskin’s blog. Taking a cue from Apple’s iPhone, the Mozilla team envisions a browser controlled by finger gestures. But rather than just being able to zoom and “throw the page around” the mobile Firefox guys built an interface around simple actions. For instance, if you flick your finger slightly to the left a navigation sidebar appears revealing the back, forward, bookmark, and page info buttons.

The beauty of this design is it maximizes every pixel available on a tiny mobile screen for the content itself. The interface only appears when you need it and neatly tucks away when you don’t. Here is the full video to show these ideas in action:

I really like where this is going and wait in anticipation for the official release of Firefox mobile in the next year or two. For now though you can play around with the limited web demo.

Firefox Wants To Fight The Boredom

Firefox has a noble goal of changing the world, one web surfer at a time. Makers of the popular open source web browser, responsible for giving the dominant Internet Explorer a swift kick in the butt, are at it again with a new viral marketing effort. The video below features a plethora of Internet stars singing a song to Fight The Boredom. They’re mocking those over-dramatic public service infomercials asking for money to stop world hunger, adopt a child, or save the birds. The video is fairly amusing and there was a website to go along with it at FightAgainstBoredom.org which now redirects to the Firefox download page.

The facts that scroll against the bottom are as follows:

Compared to Internet Explorer users, Firefox users are

  • 21% less likely to be a sales representative or agent at their current place of business.
  • 45% more likely to have gone on vacation in San Francisco within the last 2 years.
  • 33% less likely to live with others suffering from high cholesterol.
  • 6% less likely to have eaten any meal at Chick-fil-A within the last 7 days.
  • 24% less likely to live with others suffering from heart disease.
  • 66% more likely to have viewed or listened to audio or video about politics or public affairs news within the last 30 day.
  • 89% more likely to have purchased database software for work in the last year.
  • 38% less likely to live with others suffering from breast cancer.

Was that Tay Zonday of Chocolate Rain fame?