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I'm surprised there aren't more people on here who moved to chome for the dev tools. That is what moved me over there. Firebug was great in it's day but at some point Chrome's dev tools just became too much better to make staying on Firefox possible.



Firebug was awesome, then 2011 happened and Firebug’s lead dev joined the Google Chrome team to work on their dev tools [1].

[1] https://news.softpedia.com/news/Lead-Firebug-Developer-Joins...


Even to this day Firefox doesn't have websocket frame inspection. Its very frustrating to me that dev tools aren't a higher priority for Firefox. As they are now, they are only slightly worse than Chromes which is unacceptable considering more and more websites are being developed with only Chrome in mind.


That is frustrating, but the good news is that this is being picked up as part of (somewhat ironically) Google Summer of Code: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=885508#c49


I find it ironic that they kept lowering the priority since an extension already added the ability, yet that very same extension no longer works thanks to their recent API changes. Perhaps lowering the priority several times wasn't that best idea after all?


The decision to revamp their extensions API also cost a lot of goodwill from the community. FF today may be faster and more secure than two years ago, but from my perspective it has permanently lost some of its utility and appeal.


As a long time Firefox user I think the change in its extensions APIs is one of the greatest moves they did and I’m glad they did it.

Chrome’s extensions were isolated, easy to develop and had a permissions system in place.

To this day Firefox is still lagging behind in its isolation. For example Chrome can disable extensions in Incognito, but Firefox does not.

Also if you’re not paying attention, Chrome won and it’s nearly a monopoly. This means browser extensions get developed for Chrome first. Having similar APIs helps with migration.

I view the change as a good thing because I can finally develop my own extensions without headaches.


> To this day Firefox is still lagging behind in its isolation.

That is being worked on though:

> The first batch of changes to not run extensions in private browsing mode by default landed, this is still behind a preference.

https://blog.nightly.mozilla.org/2019/01/31/these-weeks-in-f...


That's very good news.


Extensions are profile-specific.

Solution: change profile to launch another browser instance without extensions.

Go to "about:profiles" in the address bar, or configure shortcuts in your OS to launch browser with different profiles: https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Mozilla/Firefox/Mul...


Isolation isn’t a benefit for extensions: the whole point of extensions, bookmarklets, etc. is to be able to modify arbitrary aspects of the browsing experience in arbitrary ways.


It's a balance, right? If browser extensions had kernel access, I think we'd all agree that's bad. Now, that's obviously an extreme, but where is the line?

Up until recently†, I'm not aware of a situation where a popular Firefox extension was unable to work in Chrome due to Google restrictions.

†I'm purposefully excluding the whole adblock thing, as that's super recent and thus not relevant here.


Playing devil's advocate, many firefox extensions don't work as well or at all as they used to. tree style tabs can't integrate in the same way without extra modification, all of the FF extensions that allowed you to control your browser with vim bindings no longer work.

I actually still think the API design was a good idea and am glad for the added security. Still, the API change took down some popular extensions for sure.


But it's not about the popular extensions.

Now there is no more middle click to submit on forms and I used that at my old job to speed up a bunch of tedious tasks.


That sounds trivial to implement in an extension at least. If there isn't one already I could probably take a crack at it.


> It's a balance, right? If browser extensions had kernel access, I think we'd all agree that's bad. Now, that's obviously an extreme, but where is the line?

It is, and it boils down to the usual security vs. utility tradeoff - beyond some point, more secure means less useful. Kernel access is a stretch, but then again, I could make my computing experience much more pleasant if I had a deeper ability to control and inspect the browser from external software running on my computer.


I don’t know about you, but I don’t trust all the extensions that I want to use.

Especially in Private/Incognito Mode I only want extensions for blocking ads/trackers + 1Password and that’s it.

Also being able to see what the extension does is really valuable to me, because allowing an extension to read the data on all websites you visit is really suspicious for a majority of extensions.

Mozilla has had a good review process in place and truth be told Chrome's Web Store has suffered from spyware and malicious extensions more than Firefox. But that's only because it is more popular and Google is known for really screwed / non-existent human support (e.g. extensions being reported as being malware with no immediate action).


> I don’t know about you, but I don’t trust all the extensions that I want to use.

That's fair, but this dynamic drags down usefulness of the whole platform. Browsers could offer extended permissions allowing extensions arbitrary control over the browsing experience, but they can't trust extension authors not to get greedy about privileges, and can't trust regular users to be smart about it. It's what happened with Android: applications requested every possible permission, users learned to just accept it.

> Also being able to see what the extension does is really valuable to me, because allowing an extension to read the data on all websites you visit is really suspicious for a majority of extensions.

That's true, and I wish there was an easy way to transparently run a I/O trace on an extension, and to have super-fine-grained user-level control over its permissions. I use a bunch of extensions that modify the contents of sites; I wish I could manually restrict them to a whitelist - and sometimes blacklist. Like, e.g. I don't need Cloud2Butt to work on my banking site.


> As a long time Firefox user I think the change in its extensions APIs is one of the greatest moves they did and I’m glad they did it.

Not me. If the new extension system didn't present a loss of important (to me) functionality, then I'd think it was a good thing.

But the loss of functionality happened, and that change is what makes the new Firefox unsuitable for me, so I stopped using it (and I never used Chrome).


It could never deploy multi-process with XUL cruft. Then the argument would be that Firefox is too far behind. You can never win everybody.


"e10s compatible" add-ons were as fully-featured as the "original" XUL add-ons and did not interfere with multi-process at all. For instance, VimFx was e10s compatible and could even run with Firefox Nightly (which allowed "legacy" add-ons), without disabling multi-process, until about Firefox 65(!), without major changes.


Taking away XUL is not the problem. Leaving users with a crippled replacement is.


Yes. DevTools's superiority was the catalyst for me (and many other devs I worked with at the time).


Same here. Firebug started to feel "limited" to what I could do in DevTools and they finally got me to switch. I honestly feel like I need to get Firefox another shot since Chrome's perf tools are heavily focused around the V8 engine. (Even though there is a lot of cross over with general JS perf)


Back when Chrome was new, I'd occasionally open Firefox for the debugging tools.


When I was a QA I’d use Firefox’s network inspector to edit and replay network requests easily, changing different parameters while being in an environment that stores all the necessary auth and cookies to use the APIs. I’ve had a lot of fun with that trying to reverse engineer websites without too much effort. Chrome still doesn’t do that.


I'm not a professional web developer, but in the experience I've had building a couple of JS heavy sites, I've actually found the Edge developer tools to be the best. If there's one thing microsoft knows how to do well, it's build developer tools.


> If there's one thing microsoft knows how to do well, it's build developer tools.

This is probably very subjective, but I can absolutely not relate to that.


Me neither. It may or may not be true in Edge, I've never tried, but it absolutely wasn't true in any IE so I wouldn't naturally expect it to be true in Edge.

I certainly see where GP is coming from, Microsoft do have an awesome legacy in dev tooling that lives on to this day with products like VSCode, but browser tooling might be the glaring exception to this - perhaps since Microsoft never really was or became an 'internet' company.


It seems like people consistently love or hate Visual Studio , and a lot of people seem to like VSCode.


> If there's one thing microsoft knows how to do well, it's build developer tools.

I think that's a debatable assertion.


I've been in frontend for a long time, since 1999. The dev console is my workplace. I have to use and be familiar with all popular browsers. Chrome's dev tools are far better in my opinion.


I vaguely remember all of those things as separate phases. - Moving away from IE, I fell in love with Opera (lots of built-in features), most others with Firefox - Chrome comes in, it's Google, it's lightweight, people try it and like it - Chrome gets really fast, it appeals to even more people - Meanwhile, Firefox has enough extension power to replace Opera for me (who can live with the tabs BELOW address bar or without mouse gestures?) - Chrome implements the aforementioned technical stuff (separate processes, etc.), appealing to power users (this may have happened before speed improvements or at the same time) - Chrome finally gets extensions and I start using it personally, but it's impossible to be a web dev without Firefox+Firebug. (IE6 still sucks, but combined with Visual Studio, feels superb for JS debugging) - Chrome's dev tools gradually get better at everything. I start living in Chrome.

... years later ...

- A year ago I often used Firefox for its great Canvas debugger. They broke it. I've since forgotten about Firefox.

... 2019 ...

- Microsoft is trying to drive people away from IE, hoping for Edge adoption. I don't care for Firefox. Opera is almost Chrome with extensions. Edge sounds like it wants to be Chrome. Chrome won on most battlefronts. I don't like that fact, because of the "free from corporate greed" reasons mentioned, but it's going to be hard to change the status quo.


> Microsoft is trying to drive people away from IE, hoping for Edge adoption.

Lolno, they gave up and are ditching Edge to use Chrome because Electron. https://9to5google.com/2018/12/03/microsoft-chrome-based-bro...


That is not correct. MS is ditching Trident for Blink but Edge and Chakra are still remaining technologies. This is unfortunate because Chrome is super slow on large CSS animations


> It's going to be hard to change the status quo.

There's plenty of room to improve on privacy. Non technical people don't care too much about privacy issues yet, but they will.


That was true back then, but the FF dev tools are much superior now. Chrome lags behind severely. Last I checked, clicking an XHR link in the console just took me to the network tab instead of actually showing that request. FF shows it inline in the console. Not to mention code caching bugs in Chrome even with the cache turned off. This is the primary reason I switched back to FF.


Sadly I find that the Firefox debugger is more likely to stall and flail about.

I keep trying to change to Firefox, but bring dragged back to Chrome.

I mostly work on stupidly big Single Page Apps, which may be part of the issue.


The problem was I was so used to Firebug after using it for so many years that I just kept using it out of inertia up until the day Mozilla dropped it from Firefox entirely. Then I just moved over to Firefox's developer tools (still out of inertia).


I thought Firefox’s Developer Edition had decent dev tools.




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