Firebug 3 to introduce some big changes

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 13, 2014

When the Firefox add-on Firebug first launched it was a godsend for web developers as it introduced a set of development related tools that improved many workflows considerable.

Browser developers began to introduce native development tools in their browsers.

Today, all major browsers ship with a set of development tools that are very similar in nature to what the Firebug add-on has to offer.

Firebug development continued on the other hand and the extension is still a very popular add-on for the Firefox web browser.

Major changes are coming to Firebug 3 however which is currently available as a alpha version.

The main change is that the Firebug team decided to switch from offering an add-on to bring development tools to Firefox, to an add-on that improves the existing Firefox development tools.

This is why the Firefox development tools open when you use Firebug 3.

The team mentions several reasons why it decided to go down this route. Among them are improvements in stability and performance thanks to a better integration with the browser.

Redundancy may have also played a role in the decision as features of Firebug and Firefox's Development Tools overlapped quite a bit.

Last but not least, the decision may have also something to do with the upcoming multi-process architecture e10s that Mozilla plans to launch in Firefox in the near future.

It would have taken many resources to make Firebug compatible with the new architecture.

After you have installed Firebug 3 in Firefox, only Firefox 35 and newer are supported at the time of writing, you will notice that the Developer Tools look similar to how Firebug 2 looks like.

You won't find many changes besides that apart from the DOM panel. This is somewhat understandable considering that this is an alpha build and that we are talking about a rewrite of the add-on and not just a feature upgrade from version 2 to 3.

The Firebug team has not announced a release date officially yet but it is likely that it will take quite some time before it is released as a stable version.

If I had to guess, I'd say it lands before Firefox Stable gets e10s at the latest.

Now You: Are you a Firebug user? What's your take on the development?

Firebug 3 to introduce some big changes
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Firebug 3 to introduce some big changes
Firebug 3 changes how the add-on works. Instead of shipping with its own set of development tools, it improves the built-in tools of Firefox instead.

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  1. penu said on November 18, 2014 at 9:54 am

    Mozilla should just hire the Firebug team to improve the native version.

  2. infogain said on November 14, 2014 at 6:28 am

    this is good change.

  3. Ray said on November 13, 2014 at 11:49 pm

    Nice! I was actually looking for a skin to the existing Firefox Developer Tools to look like Firebug! :)

    I’m guessing memory usage will be way better by using the native Developer Tools. Can’t wait for this.

  4. Martin Brinkmann said on November 13, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    This is not yet ready for prime time but that is to be expected considering that this is an alpha version.

    It will be interesting to see how Firebug will distinguish itself from Firefox’s Development Tools in the long run.

    Would love to see a planned features list.

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