Archive for June, 2005

Firefox Extensions: Web Developer

Tuesday, June 14th, 2005

This is the second installment of my exploration of useful Firefox extensions

One of the most popular and highly rated Firefox extensions is the Web Developer extension. This tool adds one or more of the following to every web page: a handy context menu or a toolbar. Both contain the same list of tools that let an experienced HTML coder investigate and manipulate the current page. The total list of features is too long to detail here (you really just have to try a few of them), but I’ll highlight some that I use personally.

My favorite feature is the one shown in the screenshot below. The “Validate Local HTML” uploads the page you are currently viewing to a validation service (by default, validator.w3.org). This permits you to test your HTML before uploading it to a public web server, or allows you to validate a page that is hidden behind a login or form submission.

A screenshot of the Web Developer context menu

Another handy feature for HTML debugging is the Outline control. This submenu allows you to specify any of a variety of HTML entities to highlight. The extension highlights them by drawing boxes around them.

The extension also has a few uses for general users. The Disable submenu has options to turn off aspects of annoying pages, like image animations, page colors or even entire styles for the worst-designed pages. The Forms submenu allows you to convert POST forms to GET, for cases when you want to tweak the form values in the URL bar, or bookmark the results of a form submission.

The Web Developer extension has quite an impressive array of tricks it can accomplish, all with standard operations. If nothing else it demonstrates how flexible and open a platform Firefox has become.

Next time: undoclosetab