As manager of Mozilla’s Developer Tools team, people keep asking me about how our work relates to the Firebug project. It has even come up in a tweet, but this is not really a 140 character kind of question.
Johnathan discussed this a year ago, and what he says there still applies today. I wanted to provide some more thoughts on this topic since we’ve been ramping up our developer tools efforts and this will be very evident in coming releases.
Firebug is an awesome project. It was groundbreaking at the time Joe Hewitt introduced it, and current leader John Barton and the project’s many contributors and extension authors have continued to push the project forward in innovative ways. It is one of the most vibrant and active open source projects built on Mozilla’s platform.
Mozilla supports Firebug’s development directly, with a full time member of my team (Jan Odvarko) devoted to working on the project. We held the release of Firefox 4 to fix platform bugs that Firebug exposed and, more recently, we landed fixes on the locked-down Aurora branch for Firefox 5 as well when they harmed Firebug functionality.
At this stage, Firefox needs to ship with a strong baseline set of tools for web developers. Firebug is a standalone project with a lot of history behind it and big plans for the future. We want to be able to build new tools that head in some new directions while allowing the Firebug project to continue to explore their ideas. Our goal is to help the whole developer tools ecosystem. We want to make it easier for people to hack on the built-in devtools, on Firebug and on entirely new experiments, too.
Firefox will ship with tools (like the Web Console in Firefox 4 and Scratchpad in Firefox Aurora). Firebug will continue to have fantastic new releases like the 1.8 release planned to coincide with the Firefox 5 release. addons.mozilla.org will continue to have new web developer add-ons and new versions of old favorites appearing all the time.
We think Firebug is awesome. That’s why we invest so heavily in it already, more so than for any other add on. We also want to explore new approaches to developer tools, and you’ll see more of these from us in the coming months. Across the board, we’re growing our investment in developer tools because there are huge opportunities to make life better for web developers.
– Kevin Dangoor