Firebug Tutorial – Overview of Firebug 51


A few words from me

It has been over 1 year that I’m using Firebug in web development. I found it very useful. I’m really thank to SangSing who introduces me about Firebug. I used to encourage a lot of my techie friends to use Firebug but they said that they don’t know how to use it. They told me that they wanna get something that include all features of firebug and examples. I googled a lit bit but I didn’t find nice resources that covers everything about firebug. So, I decided to write this tutorial. I will try to cover all features of firebug as much as I can. I will show each features with sample sourcecode and screenshot if it required. Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any suggestion or comment.

There are 5 sections in this tutorial.

  • Section 1: Overview of Firebug : An introduction of Firebug and feature lists, how to install it and a few notes
  • Section 2: Logging, Tracing and CommandLine : Everything related to Console tab. An introduction of CommandLine windows which is the same as Immediate windows or Watch window from Visual Studio.
  • Section 3: HTML DOM Inspector and HTML CRUD operation : This section will tell you about what HTML inspecting is, how to inspect the HTML element, why it is useful and etc. I will also show you how to create/update/delete the HTML DOM dynamically in HTML tab.
  • Section 4: Javascript debugging with Firebug : This section will cover everything about javascript debugging which is the most famous feature of Firebug. It will also show you how to use Console tab while debugging the Javascript.
  • Section 5: CSS, DOM and Net Tab : (I haven’t decided whether I should write about them in one section or not. )

As I said above, I will try to cover as much as possible. If I miss out something in this tutorial, please let me know. I appreciated it.

Getting Started : Overview of Firebug

Note: I will cover some basic understanding about firebug and its features, installation and a few screenshots in this section. So, if you already have some ideas about Firebug, you may probably skip this section.

Firebug - Web Development Evolved

What is Firebug?

Firebug is one of the most popular Mozilla Firefox’s extensions (a.k.a addon). It is also a tool that make the web developers’ life easier. It includes a lot of cool features such as debugging, HTML inspecting, profiling and etc which are very useful for web development.

Features

  • Javascript debugging
  • Javascript CommandLine
  • Monitor the Javascrit Performance and XmlHttpRequest
  • Logging
  • Tracing
  • Inspect HTML and Edit HTML
  • Edit CSS

Where to get Firebug Addon?

  • Go to the official firebug website http://getfirebug.com .
  • There is the image as below at the right-side of the firebug website. Click this image to install.

Click to install Firebug

  • The following dialog will be shown after clicking the image above. Click to “Install Now” button.

Firebug - Software Installation

  • After the installation is completed, you need to restart the browser.

Screenshots

Main Menu (under “Tools” Menu)

“Firebug” and “Error Console” menu will be shown under “Tools” menu of Firefox.

firebug-menu-under-tool-menu.jpg

  • Firebug : It is just a placeholder for Firebug’s submenus.
  • Error Console : If you click this menu, one console window will be launched with the list of errors, warnings and message. Actually, this error console is the same as the console tab from Firebug console.

Firebug Menu

If you click “Firebug” menu under “Tools”, the following submenus will be shown.

firebug-menu-under-firebug-menu.jpg

  • Open Firebug : Open the firebug console within the browser. If you don’t wanna click this menu, you can simply press “F12″ to open the firebug console.
  • Open Firebug in New Window : Open the firebug console in separated window.
  • Disable Firebug : It is for disabling firebug. This option is very important. You should disable the firebug if you don’t need it because If you don’t disable the firebug, it might be a lit bit slow to surf the Ajax-enabled websites like GMail.
  • Disable Firebug for **** : You can disable the specific website instead of disabling the whole firebug.
  • Allowed Sites : You can add the list of website that you want to surf with Firebug enabled option.
  • Inspect the Element : This menu is for inspecting the HTML element. Please read more about this in section 3.
  • Profile Javascript : This option is available in Firebug enabled mode only. It is used for monitoring the execution of javascript code. This option is really useful when you have performance issue with your code. Please read more about this in Section 4.
  • Clear Console : Clear the console tab of Firebug console.
  • CommandLine : Open the console tab
  • Search : Set the focus to the Search textbox of current tab.

Content Menu

There is only one menu called “Inspect Element” in content menu. This menu is very useful. Please read more about this in Section 3.

inspect-element-on-content-menu.jpg

Firebug Console

The picture below is Firebug console.

Firebug Console

It contains six tabs such as Console tab, HTML tab, CSS tab, Script tab, DOM tab and Net tab.

  • Console tab : It is for logging, profiling, tracing and commandline.
  • HTML tab : It is for inspecting HTML element, editing HTML and changing the stylesheet at runtime. CSS, Layout and DOM console are already included as the subtabs.
  • CSS tab : You can check how many css file included in the webpage easily. You can simply select the CSS file that you like and you can made the changes to that file on the fly. (I don’t use that tab that much since the same one is already included in HTML tab. )
  • Script tab : It is for debugging Javascript code. Watch and Breakpoints consoles are the subtab of Script tab.
  • DOM tab : It is for exploring DOM. (I don’t use that tab that much. Instead, I used to use DOM tab from HTML console and Script tab.)
  • Net tab : It is for monitoring network activities. It helps you to know why your page (or a particular webpage) is taking so long to load in the browser.

Status Bar

You will see the green cycle if there is no error on your page.

green-cycle-on-status-bar.jpg

You will see the red cycle and the count of errors if there is some errors in your page.

red-cycle-on-status-bar.jpg

Keyboard and Mouse Shortcuts

F12. I used to use only F12 to open/close the Firebug console.

If you wanna read the completed list of shortcuts, you can check-out here.

Problem?

Please check-out this FAQ page.

If you still have problems, you drop a comment in my blog. I will reply as soon as possible. Or you can probably contact with Firebug User Group.

Conclusion

That’s all. :) I think you now have some ideas about what firebug is, how it looks like and how to install. If you are already familiar with firebug, this section will be too plain for you since I didn’t put anything new in this section. I will tell you more details about each tab in next section. So, come back tomorrow!!

Feel free to let me know if you have any idea or comment about this tutorials. Your comment will make this tutorials better. I appreciate it.

51 thoughts on “Firebug Tutorial – Overview of Firebug

  1. Reply Tyler M Sep 22,2007 3:57 pm

    Don’t you think that if your friends and developers out there are not savvy enough to figure out Firebug then they’re probably not deserving of developing the next generation of the Web?

  2. Pingback: Michael Sync’s Firebug Tutorial @ Takealook

  3. Pingback: Michael Sync » Firebug Tutorial - Using Commandline API in Firebug

  4. Pingback: Michael Sync » Firebug Tutorial : Section 4 - Net, CSS and DOM tabs

  5. Reply -@^@- Oct 23,2007 8:00 am

    @Tyler M.:

    Why should not knowing how to use a certain tool mean that you shouldn’t be able to do something facilitated by that tool? Tools are there to make things easier, not to do what the programmer should be able to do themselves. Not all tools are easy to use or to figure out.

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  10. Reply Carlos Feb 17,2009 12:01 pm

    Good introduction.

  11. Reply Paul May 4,2009 6:38 pm

    Seems like a good tutorial, it would be even better if you had links to the other sections in this introduction. You mention and describe the 5 sections at the start of your article, but clicking here does nothing. If there are links elsewhere on the page I didn’t find them. The only way could navigate to the articles was by going to the site map and looking for firebug.

    Otherwise, good job.

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  17. Reply Aman Jun 4,2009 11:20 am

    Thanks! Your article was really helpful to me.

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  19. Reply Jose Jun 16,2009 3:39 pm

    Is there a shortcut for clear console? Or is there a way to easily add it?

    Thanks.

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  26. Reply amen Sep 25,2009 10:40 pm

    don’t underestimate asian people:D were all just a human dude remember that always. were not perfect

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  32. Reply questionman Feb 2,2010 1:29 pm

    I can edit just fine with firebug, but when i use firebug lite for my other browsers I don’t know how to edit because it won’t let me type anything under html, etc. I’d be extremely greatful if somebody could help, thanks!

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  40. Reply Jake May 13,2011 10:56 am

    Could you add links to this page to the other tutorials. Had to hunt around through your blog to find the rest of the pages.

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  42. Reply David from Healthy Living Tips Aug 2,2011 2:38 pm

    Thanks. I didn’t know about Firebug.
    I’ll go check it out.

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  44. Reply balasmer Oct 1,2011 7:49 pm

    thx for your explaination

  45. Reply Murray Clarkson Jan 10,2012 6:04 pm

    Firefox and Firebug are great. I am learning but I can’t seem to be able to locate how to save the changes I make on my website using firebug. I make the changes but when I call up the site none of the changes appear.Can you help me please?

  46. Reply business card design Jan 13,2012 3:14 am

    Thanks for sharing information on Firebug.

  47. Reply Kamu Kannan May 27,2012 7:18 pm

    Nice….Seems like a good tutorial..This tutorial is very useful to novice who is don’t know about firebug…Thanks…

  48. Reply Ben S Feb 28,2013 8:44 am

    Oy vey – where are the links to all your other tutorials? They definitely should appear be on this page.

    They can be found here:

    http://michaelsync.net/2007/10/15/firebug-tutorial-section-4-net-css-and-dom-tabs

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