If you’re a Firefox extension developer who hasn’t made the switch to Firefox 3, Mozilla wants you to know what you need to change. On the other hand, if you have a favorite extension stuck in Firefox 2, you might pass this article along to its developer: Mozilla’s instructions for updating extensions for Firefox 3.
There were a number of changes between Firefox 2 and 3. The largest changes are outlined in the document, which include:
Bookmarks and history – major changes, now uses Places API
Anything using menus – heavily modified
Download manager – now uses Storage API
Password manager – now uses Login Manager API
Extensions that don’t utilize above areas of the code may still need tweaks, but may not require major rewrites. You may even get lucky and just need to change the maxVersion of your extension. If Mozilla hosts the extension for you, then you won’t even need to change anything in the extension itself. Just login to the addons site and use the Developer Control Panel to make your maxVersion 3.0.*.
Firebug extensions are a sort of meta-extension that lets you add on to Firebug. Developers are adding some features that we’re starting to find hard to live without.
Here we’ll lay out our five faves.
We’ve written about YSlow before. It measures your site’s speed against Yahoo’s rules for high-performance websites. It generates a little report card that analyzes your page’s events and components, pointing out which pieces of the page are causing the most problems.
It’s worth a glimpse into YSlow from time to time, even if you feel like your site is performing well. You may still find improvements to make, and if not, at least you’ll pat yourself on the back with your good score.
Firecookie shows all the cookies being accessed by the current web page. You can see when one has been changed, and you can alter your cookie settings for accepting or denying cookies right from the Firebug panel.
I like the cookie access in Firefox 3′s new Page Info screen, but pairing cookies with Firebug just makes sense. One of the best things about Firebug extensions is that they can bring all your debugging to one place.
Speaking of bringing all your debugging to one place, I never would have imagined I needed FirePHP, but now I love it. It brings PHP debugging into Firebug using special “X-FirePHP-Data” headers that are invisible in the browser. FirePHP requires a PHP library to send the debugging messages.
There’s a similar extension for Cold Fusion called ColdFire. We haven’t tried it, and they aren’t listed on the Firefox extension site, so proceed with caution.
Really, there’s no need to have a different extension for each programming language. I’d rather see a standard, language-agnostic version. Then, any language could send header data to Firebug.
Okay designers, this one’s for you. Pixel Perfect helps you create designs that are just right. You can overlap a partially transparent mockup above your actual web page. Then use Firebug’s standard CSS controls to find just the right settings to make the design pixel-perfect.
You can add features to Firebug by creating a special kind of Firefox extension. Around Webmonkey we’re calling them meta-extensions and we wrote about adding YSlow to Firebug recently.