Firefox 16 Adds Charms For Developers - InformationWeek
Government // Enterprise Architecture
05:49 PM
Connect Directly

Firefox 16 Adds Charms For Developers

Mozilla's Firefox 16 beta release includes a command line interface to speed development work.

Hot on the heels of Firefox 15, introduced on Tuesday, Mozilla has released a beta version of Firefox 16 with enhancements designed to appeal to Web developers.

Not to be confused with Firefox Aurora--the designation Mozilla applies to its pre-beta channel releases--this latest Firefox flavor follows up on version 15's JavaScript debugger with a new Developer Toolbar.

The Developer Toolbar, accessible via the shift-F2 keyboard shortcut or from the Web Developer menu, is intended to provide easy access to Web development tools, particularly those that don't have another form of user interface.

Its most significant feature is a command line interface (CLI), typically dreaded or ignored by casual users but often beloved by programmers. The Firefox CLI promises to accelerate development work, based on the premise that typing produces results faster than mousing across screens and through menus.

[ Want to hear top execs from Google, Ford, P&G, General Motors, and SAP discuss enterprise innovation? Join us at the IW 500 Conference Sept. 9 to 11. ]

"This command line is designed to be quick-to-type and discoverable," said Mozilla product manager Kevin Dangoor in a blog post. "It will complete commands and parameters for you, to save you typing."

The CLI allows developers to: access the Web Console (a UI for viewing information about Web page log messages); control the Debugger; open the Style Editor (for altering CSS files); open the Page Inspector (a UI for viewing Web page elements); control the Responsive Design View (for viewing mobile versions of Web pages or apps); and control Tilt, a 3-D Web page visualization tool.

As an example, typing "resize to 320 480" into the CLI will resize the displayed Web page to fit a 320x480 pixel mobile phone screen.

The CLI also allows developers to view and edit cookie files, to take screenshots (instant or timed) of Web pages or of specific elements on a given page, and to alter specific Web page code using the pagemod command.

For example, the command pagemod remove element iframe would strip a page of iframe elements, the mechanism by which ads and widgets are often injected into Web pages from third-party servers.

According to Dangoor, Mozilla will be adding more commands to its CLI in the future and is also planning to demonstrate how users can create and add their own commands.

Beyond the Developer Toolbar, Firefox 16 beta also removes the need to add special code prefixes to utilize recently added Web APIs, including the Battery API, the Vibration API, CSS3 Animations, Transitions, Transforms, Image Values, Values & Units, and IndexedDB.

Editor's note: This story was changed Sept. 4 to correct misstatements about Firefox beta builds and Firefox Aurora builds being identical.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
User Rank: Ninja
9/1/2012 | 11:09:16 AM
re: Firefox 16 Adds Charms For Developers
And when do they finally fix the UI to be as useful as it was in FF 3.6?
User Rank: Apprentice
9/1/2012 | 6:03:24 AM
re: Firefox 16 Adds Charms For Developers
"Also referred to as Firefox Aurora 16--the designation Mozilla applies to its beta channel releases..."
This isn't quite accurate. The current versions are as follows:
Nightly builds - the cutting edge, with code landing daily (least stable). Current version: 18
Aurora builds - may be considered "alpha" quality. Minimal testing. Current version: 17
Beta builds - more testing, more stable than Aurora, "pre-release". Current version: 16
Release builds - most stable, official release. Current version: 15

Before 15 was released earlier this week, 16 *was* Aurora. It has now moved up to the Beta channel.
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Digital Transformation Myths & Truths
Transformation is on every IT organization's to-do list, but effectively transforming IT means a major shift in technology as well as business models and culture. In this IT Trend Report, we examine some of the misconceptions of digital transformation and look at steps you can take to succeed technically and culturally.
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll