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Mozilla Programming

Firefox 15 Coming With Souped-Up, Faster Debugger 125

StormDriver writes "Firefox 15 has hit the Mozilla pre-beta Aurora channel, and it features a redesigned, built-in debugger." The original weblog post has more. Thanks to improved debugger internals in SpiderMonkey, supposedly code should run just as fast with debugging enabled as without (ever try loading Slashdot with firebug accidentally enabled?). There are also new tools for testing mobile layouts from the comfort of your workstation, and the debugger can attach to remote processes (Something Emacs users have enjoyed for years now, albeit in a hackish manner and without support for mobile Firefox).
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Firefox 15 Coming With Souped-Up, Faster Debugger

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @09:34AM (#40613869)

    Honestly, "Web 2.0" transforms so much otherwise perfectly functional hardware into environmentally-unfriendly junk that you might as well just stick your dick in an endangered species.

    The web ten years ago was fine: people programmed for content and efficiency. Why can't we stay that way, with the advancement being in quality and quantity of /content/?

    • by vlm ( 69642 )

      "Web 2.0" transforms so much otherwise perfectly functional hardware into environmentally-unfriendly junk

      Find me a "web 2.0" site that requires anything newer than a decade and get back to me. "web 2.0" is meaningless marketing not a tech spec anyway.

      Like many (most?) /.ers I have multiple machines on my desk and the experience on my oldest "secondary" box is basically identical to my newest. So it boots and starts chrome slower, who cares, once chrome starts I can't tell the difference.

    • by Bogtha ( 906264 ) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @10:46AM (#40614701)

      The web 10 years ago was not fine. People were still supporting Netscape 4, which in practical terms meant that everybody was stuck with inaccessible, inefficient, inflexible table layouts that had to transmit style information for every page load. Mobile websites were practically nonexistent; where they did exist, it was a severely cut-back version. Using a single responsive design to cater to desktop and mobile uses would have been impractical even assuming today's mobile hardware. Lots of JavaScript was essentially written twice - once for Netscape and once for Internet Explorer, because the various DHTML and layout methods were different and incompatible. Netscape transcoded from CSS to JSSS internally, and lots of websites only supported Internet Explorer on Windows - a single browser on a single platform, both by the same corporation.

      From a content point of view, it was still difficult to produce and manage content. Anything beyond basic stuff usually involved a very limited CMS and writing code. The "WYSIWYG" editors generated terrible, inefficient code that often only worked in one browser. Security was far worse than it is now, developers were largely clueless about even the most basic vulnerabilities, and things like the PCI standard weren't put in place yet.

      These days, people are paying more and more attention to content because the technology is largely at a point where they can. Consider YouTube, Wordpress or Facebook - people generating content at phenomenal rates. Efficiency is still a prime concern due to mobile browsing, and techniques such as CSS, caching and CDNs have improved efficiency immensely. User-empowering features such as user stylesheets, user JavaScript and add-ons have grown into a thriving ecosystem, and accessibility support continues to grow.

      Ten years ago was a really low point for the web. It lacked the client diversity that came before it, it was rife with incompatibilities and the inefficient designs necessary to compensate for them, and it lacked the compatibility and accessibility that mostly came afterwards. In all of the history of the web, that is probably the one point I'd least like to be stuck in.

    • by Hatta ( 162192 )

      Forget debuggers. I don't even load /. with javascript enabled.

  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @09:36AM (#40613909) Journal

    (ever try loading Slashdot with firebug accidentally enabled?)

    Yeah, it takes forever. But what is much faster is using the built in Web Console in the tools menu in newer versions of Firefox [mozilla.org]. I forget what version it was that started natively supporting debugging but it got a lot better (4 I think?). I'm very excited to see these improvements but my JavaScript has to support versions of Firefox all the way back to 3.6 so I'm still using Firebug and I'm still super grateful that Firebug came around. It literally revolutionized debugging web applications for me. There could have been tools before it but, man, that was the final nail on IE's coffin for support from us. Hell, even Chrome's built in debugging is way better than anything I can find on IE. I know the latest IE versions have gotten better but it's my strong opinion that every single person who uses the internet should be thankful for Chrome, Mozilla, Venkman and these debugging tools. They made the web experience a hell of a lot better and open by empowering developers.

    • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

      IMO, IE 9's built-in debugging, ignoring the occasional (by which I mean frequent) long stall or crash, is way better than what is built into current release versions of Firefox if you don't install Firebug. IE still sucks, but at least they've made it a bit easier to debug when (not if) it bursts into flames. Firebug puts the two roughly on par with one another and with Chrome/Safari.

    • by jez9999 ( 618189 )

      Who cares about the bloody web console? They've ruined the UI by turning it into a copy of Chrome. They are forcing users to use "tabs on top". For me that's the final nail in the coffin. I'm switching to using a combination of Chrome and Seamonkey.

  • Um... Isn't this why Firefox was created to prevent the bloat of Netscape and make a browser that just... browsed? Why not make this a plugin?

    Why can't someone make a better browser than Firefox but make it as customizable? I've tried using Chrome and found that even basic options don't exist. And Opera really isn't that much better than Firefox.
    • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

      While you may be right when it comes to a lot of other features few people need, I think an efficient, deeply integrated debugger isn't really something you can easily separate from the Javascript engine.

    • Why can't someone make a better browser than Firefox but make it as customizable?

      That's an excellent idea. A tiny lightweight browser should rise from the ashes of the bloated monster that spawned it.

      We could call it Phoenix!

      That sounds really cool, but I think that name might be taken already.

      How about Firebird?

      That also sounds pretty cool, but it seems to be taken as well.

      Hmm. What name should we try next...?

  • by nashv ( 1479253 ) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @10:00AM (#40614205) Homepage

    Can all these noobish people with their issue with version numbers get over it? Every Slashdot post has these idiots cribbing.

    You can disable automatic updates. Why are you whining? You don't like something called 15? Write a Greasemonkey script to display the correct version number however you want.

    All version numbers as supposed to say is which distribution came first and which came later. 15 > 14. That is all you need to know from a version number.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Version numbers are also supposed to inform about possible compatibility problems.
      One would normally expect anything that works in version 1.2.3 to also work in version 1.2.4 with no adjustments whatsoever, while an upgrade to version 2.0 might entail a great deal of extra work to adapt custom scipts and plug-ins.

    • You can disable automatic updates.

      Right. Plus, you could try the Firefox ESR [mozilla.org] (Extended Support Release) version, which is supported for the not quite long-term period of one year. It won't shut up the high-version numbers but it would allow you to skip from, say, version 10 to 15+ or whatever version comes a year after the initial release of the current ESR.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ThePhilips ( 752041 )

      Why are you whining?

      Because every minor FireFox update gets to the /. front page.

      Many people do not care. Most ex-FireFox users are still pissed that Mozilla has abandoned them. Throw in here Chrome users who dropped by to mock FireFox for being a copycat - and you have ideal mix for a minor flamewar.

      You don't like something called 15?

      You miss the point of software having the version number at all. FireFox version numbers are useless, because it is a rolling release strategy. And for example I personally do not like being an alpha tester for a piece of sof

      • > And for example I personally do not like being an alpha tester for a piece of software which I use mostly for business purposes.

        Remind me again HOW MUCH YOU PAID FOR THIS FINE PRODUCT and then tell us more about your DEMANDS

        • Remind me again HOW MUCH YOU PAID FOR THIS FINE PRODUCT and then tell us more about your DEMANDS

          I paid for it by seeing the Google Ads all over the internet.

          You of course know that Mozilla is not community project anymore - it is bankrolled by Google?

    • At least they didn't pull an Office and go straight to 365.

    • by UnknownSoldier ( 67820 ) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @11:13AM (#40615031)

      > All version numbers as supposed to say is which distribution came first and which came later.

      Actually, you're missing the point. I can tell you have never had to support an existing corporate infrastructure that just can not upgrade to the "latest bleeding edge" because they don't have the resources to test everything possible code path to tell what broke, what works, etc.

      The current numbering schema in FF is a "revision" number. Originally Version numbers conveyed EXTRA information. It lets users know about compatibility / bugs because it denotes which branch the code is in. Let's give a practical example using a fictional language 'Gem'.

      If I'm working with Gem v5.x I can (reasonably) expect those features (and bugs) to be relatively consistent no matter if I'm with 5.0, 5.1, 5.2, etc. If I switch to Gem 6.x the developer may have switched to a completely different (source control code) branch which may also be a completely different implementation. As an user, I may not like it, but I can stick with the old (stable) version until the new version gets the kinks worked out AND when I have the time and resources to properly test the new version before deploying it.

      If the developer instead has used a relative numbering schema, aka, revisions, like
      * rev 4
      * rev 5
      * rev 6
      * rev 7
      * rev 8
      * rev 9
      * rev 10

      How do I *easily* tell when

      a) features were added? and,
      b) features deprecated? and
      c) features removed?

      Yes, you still can tell this with a relative revision number but it is easier to manage the complexity with the traditional hybrid version.revision numbers.

      The Mozilla team switching their focus to hyper-inflate their version number because they are trying to play some marketing game with Chrome tells me that they are no longer focused on building a great product -- their priorities are all fucked up. i.e. How many more versions do we have to go before they _finally_ fix the dam memory leak??

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by MSG ( 12810 )

        Actually, you're missing the point. I can tell you have never had to support an existing corporate infrastructure that just can not upgrade to the "latest bleeding edge" because they don't have the resources to test everything possible code path to tell what broke, what works, etc.

        I think you're missing the point. Mozilla hasn't changed the way version numbers work.

        Because of demand from those corporate types, Mozilla now provides extended support releases. Both those and the standard releases use the wid

      • I'm currently using FF14.0. Opening about:memory shows a heck of a lot of detail about where memory is being allocated, including this line;

        45.71 MB (16.78%) heap-unclassified

        So 16% of firefox's memory use is poorly accounted for, that number used to be 80%. The firefox team have been focussing on memory use to address your "memory leak" concerns for years now. They've built the tools to diagnose where memory is going so they can easily fix it. They've even been helping out developers of popular extensions to fix any big issues they find the

  • Firebug just works but I have always had the feeling that it is hard on my browser.
    If chrome would get a better debugger then bye bye firefox though.
  • by k(wi)r(kipedia) ( 2648849 ) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @10:57AM (#40614837)
    Really, if developers are the audience why not just farm out this feature to the Seamonkey [seamonkey-project.org] communication suite, the direct descendant of the Mozilla kitchensink browser + email client + HTML editor, etc. Wasn't the goal of Firefox to become the original speed browser by throwing out all the non-web features of the Mozilla dinosaur?
    • This is all true as far as it goes, but a large part of the point of a browser is to run code (in this case HTML, CSS, and JavaScript). Any environment that runs code is, at some point, going to have code written for it: this is, after all, the point of the exercise.

      The people writing that code need tools to debug it, and so including said tools does not constitute bloat: there's a bona fide need here.

  • by Tumbleweed ( 3706 ) * on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @01:19PM (#40616801)
    This is when the bulk of the MemShrink work will land, which should make a lot of people very happy. To see what they've been working on, check this site out: http://blog.mozilla.org/nnethercote/ [mozilla.org]
  • Why? Because it's the only browser that doesn't use Microsoft's screwy font rendering. I know I could run gdi++ to get that system wide, but I prefer hooking OS calls as little as necessary. DirectWrite rendering is better due to subpixel glyph positioning, but it's still too aggressive in hammering the glyphs to the pixel grid for my taste.

    Yes, I put up with the other Safari annoyances because the me, the most important function of a web browser is displaying comfortably-readable text, and for me Apple's a

    • Which version of Windows do you run? I set FF and Chrome to use Windows fonts because I like how IE 9 looked and hated the fact the fonts do not look as good as Windows apps. Exact opposite.

      Did you enable GPU acceleration? I do that with Chrome and FF so maybe this will turn on or off the directwrite portion as FF does only partial hardware acceleration.

      • by LocalH ( 28506 )

        Windows 7 x64. I do like the DirectWrite rendering better than the GDI rendering, but both of them suck in comparison to unhinted fonts.

        Yes, I have full acceleration enabled in Firefox. I even dug in and disabled the option for rendering certain fonts and sizes with GDI regardless of whether acceleration is being used, with the exception of a very few fonts like Segoe UI (which are designed to be hinted, admittedly). All I really want is the option, so that despite the differences in letter spacing, people

        • I guess I have the opposite tasts but using Windows fonts instead of the default makes them bolder and a little blurrier to me.

          Anyway Linux disabled font hinting due to patents from Apple. It is one of the reasons I stopped using it. There was a hack where you could enable it yourself and compile it by hand running commands under Ubuntu. No joke I am serious as there is no binary version of font hinting fully as it is crippled. I think Fedora might have it without a custom compiling X by yourself.

          That was a

  • ... run just as fast with debugging enabled as without ... and the debugger can attach to remote processes ...

    Yay Firefox 15! With two new better things that I and most people will never use. And that attaching to a remote process thing - wow. Always never wanted to do *that*. No security worries there.

  • FF13 is constantly using 60% or more CPU on all my machines, even with just an about:blank open.
  • I resisted the move to Chrome for years, but a few weeks ago I finally game up on Firefox. I just got tired of dealing with all the system lockups caused by immense resource leaks. There are features I'll miss, and UI changes I hate having to deal with, but not nearly enough to make it worth sticking around. Especially after Firefox's upgrades started getting driven by Chrome envy.

    • by gay358 ( 770596 )

      On the other hand, Chrome refuses to support lazy loading of tabs, which Firefox supports (there used to be better support in Firefox, but not anymore). With few windows open, Chrome makes my computer unusable because of swapping. I hope that my new laptop with 32 gigabytes of memory arrives soon, because I cannot stand this anymore.

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