Monday, January 10, 2011

Firebug in any browser!

I personally think that the IE8 developer tools are better than Firebug, but let's face it: Firebug was first. Besides, Firebug has also a completely javascript version called Firebug lite that you can inject into any page. Well, you might say, as a developer it is a nice tool, but how can I, the Internet surfer, use this in any page? And the answer is: the favorites links!

It all started from this brilliant post: Bookmark to inject FireBug Light into Internet Explorer. that showed how you can create a specific URL file, add it to the Favorites folder of your Windows user and then use it on any page. Elegant it may be, but it's lazy. It only works on pages that have loaded jQuery. So I did the version that works with simple javascript.

Then I realized that, since I like the Internet Explorer tools better, this is useless for me. How cool would it be to have Firebug lite on Chrome, which has yet to provide a decent developer tool. And it's even easier! Here is how you do it.

For Internet Explorer, follow the steps described in the ElegantCode post but use generic javascript: create a file called Firebug.url containing
[DOC_FirebugUI] 
ORIGURL=about:blank
[{000214A0-0000-0000-C000-000000000046}]
Prop3=19,2
[InternetShortcut]
URL=javascript:var script=document.createElement('script'); script.type='text/javascript'; script.src='https://getfirebug.com/firebug-lite.js';document.getElementsByTagName('body')[0].appendChild(script); void(0);
IDList=
IconFile=http://getfirebug.com/img/favicon.ico
IconIndex=1
then save it in the user's c:\Documents and Settings\{UserName}\Favorites folder.

For Chrome, you only right click on the bookmarks bar, choose Add Page, then enter the url in the file above:
javascript:var script=document.createElement('script'); script.type='text/javascript'; script.src='https://getfirebug.com/firebug-lite.js';document.getElementsByTagName('body')[0].appendChild(script); void(0);

And that is it. Click on the link in any of the said browsers and a small icon will appear in the bottom-right corner. Click on it and voila: Firebug! Of course, one can install the Firebug extension, which is actually also a javascript link, albeit really weird, but I think this is more clear and user friendly.

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