Archive for January, 2010

Chromebug 1.6a4

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Later this evening will have Chromebug 1.6a4.

  • Attempt to delete Chromebug contexts when windows are destroyed. Seems to be working.
  • Different approach to XUL / XBL files, now can debug XBL JS
  • Only change the context by user control (not when windows open)
  • Better naming of Sandbox and about:blank contexts
  • Hacks to deal with jetpack hacks
  • consolidate code to map stack frames to contexts
  • avoid the gray blank area at the bottom of Firefox when inspecting.

Overall I’m more confident of this version that any in a while.

Also available is Firebug 1.6a4. About 10 tests fail, but I don’t know how to fix them. In these cases Firefox generates errors messages without file names, line numbers, or call stacks. I don’t know if we really have test failures or not.


Please followup on firebug newsgroup or the chromebug newsgroup

Plans for Firebug 1.6 and Firebug 1.7

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

The Firebug Working Group has some initial plans for Firebug 1.6 and 1.7. The short versions:

Firebug 1.6

Target April 2010, Firefox 3.6 and 3.7: Better support for Firebug extensions

Firebug 1.7

Target Sept 2010, Firefox 3.7: Internal Re-architecture


Please post follow ups on the newsgroup

Please update Firebug Extensions with 1.5.0

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

When you apply the update for Firebug 1.4.5 to 1.5.0, your existing Firebug extensions also need to be updated. Users report success using

We know this manual update is not great and we are working on a new approach for Firebug 1.6.


Please post followups to the newsgroup.

64 bit Firefox on Linux crashes with Firebug 1.5.0

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

We’ve had several reports about Firefox crashing on Linux with Firebug 1.5.0. As far as we know this only happens in the unsupported 64 bit builds. We have no way to investigate this problem; we do not know if the problem has been reported to Mozilla.

If you have this problem and want to use Firebug 1.5, please install a 32 bit linux build.

ANOTHER UPDATE: A fix for one crash involving Firebug 1.5 on Ubuntu is scheduled for their Firefox 3.5.8.

UPDATE: Based on information in  Issue 2708: Firefox crash when opening Firebug, this problem occurs in 64 bit builds from linux distros like Ubuntu.  You can report the problem to your linux system provider I guess.


Firebug 1.5.0

Friday, January 15th, 2010

The Firebug Working Group proudly announces the availability of Firebug 1.5.0!

After more than 6 months of development and 36 alpha and beta releases, the new Firebug is ready. Among the major enhancements:

  • Mike Radcliffe’s Inspector. A key feature, now solid as a rock,
  • Jan ‘Honza’ Odvarko’s expanded and refined Net panel, with accurate timings,
  • Steve Roussey’s reworking of HTML editing and entity support,
  • Kevin Decker’s CSS and Style side panel improvements,
  • Support for dynamic, graphical breakpoints through out Firebug.
  • Tested support for the soon-to-be-released Firefox 3.6

In addition to the people named above, we have had a lot of contributions from users. We especially want to thank locale contributors, we now support 32 languages.

We’ve listed the main new features and changes in the Firebug 1.5 release notes on our new wiki. Please take a few minutes to read through them and ask for clarifications. We’ll use your input to add more information.

For this release we’ve worked especially hard on quality. Our pre-release test suite continues to grow: Firebug 1.5 passes all tests on both Firefox 3.5 and 3.6. We’ve fixed a lot of bugs, while also adding enhancements requested by the community.  Ultimately this quality derives from community contributions of good bug reports with test cases. We thank everyone who takes the time to help.

The users will be updated to 1.5.0 next week. Based on past experience, some issues will arise that our users did not hit.  We expect a couple of minor update releases in the next few weeks. All new features and significant bug fixes will now appear on Firebug 1.6.

Support for Firebug extension bundles did not make it into 1.5. We are working on that now and hope to have some prototypes ready soon.


Please comment in the newsgroup.

Chromebug 1.6a3

Thursday, January 14th, 2010 has Chromebug 1.6a3. Please update to Firebug 1.6a3 at the same time.

This version add some support for “Sandbox” scopes used by jetpack. Lots of bug fixes so generally it’s starting to work better again.

Inspect is working well, but one problem I don’t know how to fix: Firefox 3.6 gets a blank area at the bottom of the page when you inspect.


Follow up in the newsgroup please.

Firebug 1.6a3

Thursday, January 14th, 2010 has Firebug 1.6X.0a3. This release has the bug fixes for 1.5.0 plus our first new 1.6 feature, Jan ‘Honza’ Odvarko’s Scrolling Panels Tab Bar. This feature will be critical for users of Firebug extensions.

(I just finished a rough draft of the 1.5 release notes, so we are close to 1.5.0 now…)


Please post followups in the newsgroup

Jetpack in Chromebug

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

I wanted to learn more about jetpack so (duh) I tried to debug a jetpack.  In case you’ve not heard,  jetpack is a Mozilla labs project to support easy, rapid development of Firefox addons using Javascript operating in an HTML rather than XUL world. You should try the tutorial, it really is easy and rapid!

Well, as long you don’t need to debug. Seems like the debug story is writing to Firebug’s Console.

Can we have a ‘jetbug’, a Firebug-like experience for jetpack? To start we’d need to understand what is jetpack. In part it is a Firefox extension: we should use Chromebug to investigate.

I ran the jetpack ‘boom’ tutorial from the about:jetpack URL. It is very short:

 html: "Boom<i>!</i>"

Then I inspected the “Boom” addition to the status bar:

In Chromebug we can see the implementation markup:

<statusbarpanel contextmenu="_child">
<iframe type="content" src="data:text/html,Boom%3Ci%3E!%3C/i%3E"
style="overflow: hidden; height: 16px; margin-top: 2px; margin-left: 4px; margin-right: 4px; width: 30px;">

So they put an iframe into the status bar to support HTML! Cool.

Next I want to find the Javascript above.  I did not get there yet, because Chromebug got confused by seeing a scope that was not a Window or BackstagePass. After some uh, logging based debugging of Chromebug, I can now see the Jetpack “Sandbox” object:

The console looks like an interface to Firebug. You can see the jetpack object used in the tutorial. Also in the sandbox is some jquery stuff and system functions.

Unfortunately there are ten other sandboxes whose role I don’t understand and I can’t find the source shown above. But it’s a start.  (Chromebug 1.6a3 will include what I’ve learned so far).


Followups on the newsgroup please.

Firefox shifting support from extensions to jetpacks

Saturday, January 9th, 2010

Following a long discussion about Firefox Themes vs the new Persona technology, Mike Connor from the Firefox team explains on his blog why Firefox plans to migrate developers from the current theme and extension systems to personas and jetpacks.  Since we are a Firefox extension, you might wonder How will this affect Firebug?

I don’t think these changes will have a big impact on Firebug.  Firefox will continue to support extensions while the jetpack technology matures.  We can adapt as we go along.

I don’t expect we will adapt towards the jetpack solution however. Jetpacks are designed to broaden the number of addons beyond the current 8000; they make small add-ons much easier to build and maintain. As a very large add-on with a huge API contact area over the mozilla code, Firebug is way out of their design space.

Instead I expect our adaptation will be steal some ideas from jetpack and apply them to Firebug and to move away from aspects of the extension system that Firefox wants to drop first. Hopefully we will hear more about what is on the hit list. Based on the discussion linked above, XUL overlays and the install/update technology would be on the list.

We can live without the XUL overlays.  The vast majority of Firebug code is HTML, CSS, and Javascript. The panel tabs and tool bars are XUL/XBL but the overlay part is just two files.  We could adapt Firebug’s domplate technology generate the XUL.

Similarly the install/update technology is not a big deal. In fact I am currently working on an alternative solution to the add-on compatibility problem. However, I am trying a different strategy than the jetpack team because I have different design goals. I am aiming for users to see only a few choices, by bundling Firebug extensions together. (I’m using the cutesy name ‘swarm‘ for these bundles).  I want users to know that the extensions in the swarm work together (or at least don’t break Firefox or Firebug).  So the swarm will be co-tested with Firebug and the entire swarm will install and update as a unit. I believe this will be a big boost to Firebug extension developers as well as providing our own alternative to the Firefox update technology as it slowly fades away.

In the big picture, the evolution of Firefox’s extension system does not stand out as a significant worry.  We have the shift of Firefox to multi-process, the rising need for debugging mobile web, and many untapped and exciting new features to focus on.


Followups on the newsgroup please.

Firebug 1.5b9

Friday, January 8th, 2010 has Firebug 1.5X.0b9 and the equivalent version without tracing, Firebug 1.5.0b9.

In addition to the bugs fixed and released with Firebug 1.6a2, we have a few more fixes since then.

Please try this version. Unless we hear about serious bugs, we will create the release documentation and then 1.5 will be done.

Users of Firebug 1.5X will be updated to the detraced version 1.5.0b9, then to 1.5.0 when its ready. If you want to use the tracing version, please install Firebug 1.6a2.


Follow up on the newsgroup please.