Extending Firebug through plugins

Posted by – July 30, 2008

It’s happened. My favorite Firefox plugin, firebug, is so useful and well-designed, that developers have decided to add on to it’s functionality through plugins. While these are still installed and managed the same as a normal Firefox plugin, they require firebug to be installed first. In fact, they are not extending the functionality of Firefox, they are extending firebug itself. They are plugins for a plugin.

It started (AFAIK) with Yslow. This plugin, developed by Yahoo!, analyzes the page, and determines why it is loading slowly. It is based on their own best practices for high performance websites. This is most likely not the type of tool you will use daily, but when you get to the optimization stage of a project it is very handy.

Just the other day, I had the need to analyze the cookies one of my sites was using, and to do so installed Firecookie. Overall I was impressed. It provides a dead-simple way to view, edit, and delete any cookies associated with a page. The one feature I wish it had, was the ability to temporarily disable cookies, without deleting them. This is handy if you want to quickly check what something looks like while logged out of a site, without having to actually log out, and then back in.

There are other firebug plugins I have yet to use, and I’m sure more are currently being developed. All of this added functionality strengthens my belief that firebug is becoming less of a nicety for developers, and more of a necessity. It is definitely one of the larger tools in my development toolbox.

3 Comments on Extending Firebug through plugins

  1. Robert Gentel says:

    I know you’ve abandoned the web developer tool bar but it allows you to edit, add and delete specific cookies as well as deleting specific domain cookies in one shot and to boot it allows you to just temporarily disable cookies like you want.

    “Baby come back, any kind of fool could see
    There was something in everything about you
    Baby come back, you can blame it all on me
    I was wrong, and I just can’t live without you”

  2. Nick Ashley says:

    Yes, I actually still do have the web developer toolbar installed. I would love to be able to uninstall it, but it has 3 features that keep me using it.

    1) It’s handling of cookies (Firecookie is good, but not quite there yet)
    2) Its ability to quickly disable javascript.
    3) It’s ability to display form details (quicker and easier then browing through DOM with firebug, or scanning through sourcecode)

    These are all what i consider minor things compared to what the web developer toolbar can do, however every other piece of functionality has either been one-upped by firebug, or is something that I personally don’t find useful. Don’t get me wrong, I think web developer toolbar is an excellent extension, and I was singing its praises before firebug v2 came out.

  3. [...] has already posted about Firebug and Firebug Extensions and in my own experience in setting up my workstation I too found this to be an essential Firefox [...]

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