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Firebug – A Useful Tool for Developers

When developing for the web, a developer wishes to view their code in real time.  This allows them to view the execution of a web based programming language like Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML) and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) as they make changes to the existing code on the web site. This allows the developer to view the web site as they are making changes and allow them to see the execution of the web based code that is being applied to the site. This can be accomplished using a plugin named Firebug that can be installed in Firefox 3 and above and Internet Explorer 9. Firebug is a popular and powerful web development tool that allows developers to build their websites in real time. This tool is available to install as a plugin in Firefox and currently in internet explorer 9 which are internet browsers. However developing isn’t the only feature that firebug offers. There are some features in firebug that proves to be very useful when debugging or viewing source code from other sites as well.  The following list is some of features that firebug has to offer:

·         Inspect HTML

·         HTML & CSS editing

·         JavaScript viewing

When developing for a website or just to view another website’s source code, these features in firebug proves to be the most useful. And in the sections that follow will explain why these features are very useful to developers.


When debugging or trying to view other websites’ HTML code, the inspect HTML feature will prove to be useful and in some cases time saving. This feature will highlight the website when the cursor is hovering over HTML element in firebug. An example of how this is done is shown in the video below.

As shown in the video, you can scroll the cursor over the HTML element in Firebug and it will highlight the result of the HTML element in the internet browser. This is very useful to developers because it can give them a visual aid example on how to achieve the desired design of their website. If a developer needs to see how specific sections of a website works they can expand the HTML code by expanding the HTML element, plus button, and keep digging deeper into the website’s HTML code to extract the code that interests them.


The edit HTML feature in firebug is very useful because it allows a developer to debug a website’s HTML code in real time without making changings to the HTML code that is currently on the server. So the developer can change the website’s HTML in firebug and it will not change the original HTML on the server. And if the developer wishes to start all over, they just have to press the refresh button and they are starting from the beginning. A developer can do this by double clicking on the CSS or HTML element and the field becomes editable; an example of this is shown in the video below.

When a developer edits the CSS or HTML in fire bug, they will be able to view the result of their edits immediately.  And if these edits satisfy the developer, than the developer can make the edits to reflect what they accomplished in fire bug or copy and paste the code over into their development environment.

JavaScript (JavaScript Tab)

When a developer is doing client side development, there is a high possibility that the developer will be also be coding in JavaScript. Therefore when viewing other websites’ JavaScript code, the developer has the option of viewing the JavaScript in fire bug. This gives developers an opportunity to view other developers’ code and achieve the same functionality on the site the developer is working on; an example of this is shown in the video below.

Viewing other website’s JavaScript code can be useful when a developer is attempting to mimic that particular website. This feature can also speed the development of a website up by giving the developer the option of reusing JavaScript from other websites. The developer can than go and edit the JavaScript from their development environment.


The fire bug add-on in Firefox or IE9 are good development tools for website developers. There are more features in fire bug that proves to be useful as well. The DOM tab will show the HTML Document Object Model, DOM, of a web page. The NET tab show the loading speed of the webpage and the Console tab is great for finding errors and warnings in a website. So there are more features in fire bug that could be very useful to developers in many ways other than what’s been describe in this article. Therefore the best option to do is download fire bug into Firefox or IE9. And explore the rest of the features.

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