Firebug Roadmap

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Revision as of 05:49, 4 June 2012 by Sebastianz (Talk | contribs) (Marked integration of Firecookie as started)

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  • This page is intended to summarize plans and directions for
  • This summary should also help FWG to prioritize planned steps and features.


Current status of Firebug development.

Firebug 1.8

Development frozen on this branch.

Firebug 1.9

Firebug 1.9 is the last released version (available on AMO and compatible with Firefox 5-13. Selected patches will be back-ported from 1.10.

Firebug 1.10

Development happens on Firebug 1.10 branch (currently alpha).

Goals for

  • Improve memory footprint & performance
  • Reuse built-in dev-tools API and components
  • Innovate features that only Firebug can deliver


See the following table that summarizes list of features and dev folks working on them. Append yourself as a developer to features you are interested in to participate.

Feature Developers Related Issues Status
Delayed Firebug Load Honza, Harutyun? Issue 4989: Separate global UI (browser.xul) from Firebug UI (firebugFrame.xul) done
Orion Text View Honza Issue 5219: Use SourceEditor (Orion) for Command Editor
Issue 5175: Integrate Orion as replacement for the Script panel UI
Firecookie Honza Issue 5422: Integrate Firecookie into Firebug started
Remote HTTP Monitor Honza Issue 5423: Integrate HTTP Monitor into Firebug started
Restart-less Firebug Extensions Honza TODO done
JSD2 Honza Issue 5421: Implement JSD2 not started
Review Internal File Structure Honza, Sebastian Issue 4960: Review internal file structure started
Style Tracing Sebastian Issue 2916: Trace Styles Feature done
New Inspector - Issue 4848: Create new SVG inspector not started
Net Panel Improvements - Issue 2617: Net panel header should be fixed on top instead of scrolling with the content not started
HTML Entities Sebastian Issue 3159: Show numeric character reference of MathML done
Breakpoint Improvements - Issue 4378: Move editing of breakpoint conditions to Breakpoints Side Panel
Issue 2817: Hit counts for breakpoints
not started
Group Console Messages Sebastian Issue 4979: Group console messages started

New Features for 1.10

This section lists of all suggested areas FWG should focus on in Firebug 1.10

Regular Tasks:

Delayed Firebug Load

Firebug UI & Logic is mostly running inside an iframe (chrome://firebug/content/firebugFrame.xul). The goal here is to load the content of the iframe on demand at soon as the user needs Firebug the first time.

However there are some pieces that are running within the global Firefox UI (browser.xul) and must be loaded immediately after the browser window is loaded.

  • Page context menu (inspector, open with editor)
  • Firebug global menu (tool, view, web developer, ...)
  • Firebug start button (Firefox toolbar)
  • Firebug iframe and a splitter

Firebug iframe content should be automatically loaded when the user presses F12 or uses any command available through an existing menu or a keyboard shortcut. Such functionality requires all global parts to be clearly separated and independent for the Firebug UI itself (the one running in the iframe).


  • Separate Firebug UI from Global UI (create separate directory for global parts)
  • Create a command dispatcher for global commands that loads Firebug if necessary.
  • Initialize global UI independently of Firebug availability (e.g. translations)
  • Adapt to the current

Orion Text View Integration

The Script panel content (JavaScript text view) should be based on Orion Text View. The goal here is to have syntax coloring and improved performance for huge scripts.


  • Remove all code related to Script panel content generation (firebug/js/sourceBox module)
  • Integrate Orion Text View
  • Create a new Orion breakpoint ruler
  • Support for tooltips displaying result of and evaluated expressions under the mouse (based on Orion Text Styler)
  • Part of the integration is also using SourceEditor (Firefox 8+) for multiline console (command editor).

Firecookie Integration

Firecookie is a an extension for Firebug that makes possible to view and manage cookies in your browser.

It was required many times to have such functionality included in Firebug by default.


  • Firecookie code base doesn't support AMD
  • The code should be divided into more (AMD) modules
  • Support for backward compatibility can be removed
  • Blocking issues should be fixed
  • Firecookie automated tests should be merged into Firebug test list

Remote HTTP Monitor

The Net panel should use Remote Debugging Protocol (RDP) to communicate with the server side that is performing HTTP monitoring. This should enabled remote HTTP monitoring e.g. for mobile devices.

The server side script should be using the following interfaces (to monitor HTTP):

  • nsIActivityDistributor
  • nsIActivityObserver
  • nsIWebProgressListener (monitors the file:/// protocol)
  • nsIObserver (monitors http-on-* events to catch also BFCache responses)
  • nsITraceableChannel (intercepts response bodies)



  • Define new actors and extend the RDP protocol
  • Clean separation of the client and server parts
  • Communication between client and server based on JSON packets
  • Optimization

Restart-less Firebug Extensions

There should be a way how to install Firebug and extensions without Firefox restart. Some API related to dynamic registration are already available.


  • Review API for dynamic adding/removal of panels
  • Review API for dynamic adding/removal of modules
  • Review extension example
  • Update documentation/tutorial



JSD2 (also known as JSDBG2 or JSDBGAPI) represents new API for JS debugging in Firefox.

Jim Blandy and Jason Orendorff are working on a JS implementation of JSD built on top of the JSDBG2 API (a wrapper). This wrapper should be injected into Firebug and make it compatible with JSDBG2. Prototype implementation is available (Firebug 1.9 fork).

Work on this goal depends on how much ready JSD2 is.



Review Internal File Structure

If parts break extensions, they will go into 2.0.


  • Convert last few files into (AMD) modules
  • Split huge files into more modules
  • Suggest places/modules that needs refactoring (e.g. TabWatcher)

Style tracing

The CSS Panel should offer a different view on CSS properties to allow to find out how a specific value was generated.


  • Investigate built-in CSS API
  • Create a new property-based view for the CSS panel using the built-in CSS API
    • Add option to the CSS panel to toggle between the current view and the property-based view
    • Add display of assigned properties, which can be expanded to see the trace
    • Allow disabling of single styles in the trace and the complete style trace

New Inspector

Firebug should reuse the existing built-in Inspector to avoid conflicts with the page styles.


Net Panel Improvements

Proposed Net panel improvements

  • Net panel header should not scroll.

HTML entities

The HTML Panel needs different options how entities are displayed.

There should be three display options inside the HTML panel's options menu:

  • Show Entities as Symbols
  • Show Entities as Names
  • Show Entities as Unicode



  • Find out how the API is working exactly
  • Implement new mapping function in lib/string.js including the API
  • Implement the new options

Breakpoint Improvements

Several new features related to breakpoints should be introduced. It should be possible to specify how many times a breakpoint should be hit before it breaks the script execution as well as to create and edit breakpoint conditions in the Breakpoints Side Panel.


  • Change the Breakpoints side panel to allow inline editing (required for the other tasks)
  • Hit count for breakpoints
    • Implement hit count into debugger
    • Add hit count to Breakpoints side panel
  • Move breakpoint condition editing to the Breakpoints side panel
    • Add breakpoint condition to Breakpoints side panel
    • Add context menu to Breakpoint Column containing option to edit the condition

Group Console Messages

Console messages optionally need to be grouped to avoid spamming the Console Panel.


  • Group error messages
  • Group messages produced by the 'console' object

Further Suggestions

Please append further suggestions for new 1.10 features in this section so. We'll yet discuss all these suggestions.

Better user feedback

This has been already discussed before. It could be useful to have more feedback from Firebug users and use it for targeted improvements. The feedback should be collected using Testpilot and its related infrustructure and/or through a Firebug extension.


  • What specific data should be collected?
  • What kind of knowledge we can get from the collected data?


Mapping of URLs to file system paths

Firebug currently doesn't have any connection to the server files. Many people don't understand that and they are asking how to achieve that. This change would at least allow mapping between local server URLs and the file system.


  • How is this related to Firediff?


Integrate more extensions into Firebug

Apart from Firecookie integration, EventBug was asked to be integrated into Firebug. Question was also if further extensions should be integrated:

  • FireStarter: No, because it just enhances the current activation model.
  • NetExport: No, export functionality probably won't be used that often.
  • ConsoleExport: No, export functionality probably won't be used that often.

Instead Swarms should be pushed, so users will install the extensions they need.

Integrate more web dev tools APIs/Components

Firebug should share more APIs with the web dev tools team.

Available APIs

Possible candidates: