Jeff Atwood over at Coding Horrror recently wrote a post entitled Firefox as an IDE, where he describes how a few brilliant plugins have made Firefox his primary web development environment. He focuses on the magnificant Firebug and Web Developer add-ons, which not only make development way easier, but have the additional upside of being free and open source.
Side note: Coding Horror is a great read.
It doesn’t end with Jeff’s article though. I’ve been building a reputation around the office of running the fattest Firefox client imaginable, loaded to the max with developer gadgets. If you’re a web developer or designer, and you’ve got RAM to spare, there’s a few more you might be interested in learning about.
Selenium IDE is a member of Open QA’s [gasp] Selenium suite of web testing applications. This particular version is essentially a user interface recording tool driven through Firefox. It captures all of your input edits, link navigations, checkbox clicks and so on, allowing you to easily play back your actions, or save them to a format usable by one of the other Selenium apps. It’s also got a thorough set of assertion statements for making sure all’s well.
Now, whether or not your organization uses the Selenium suite for regression testing, Selenium IDE is an incredibly useful tool, particularly in ad-hoc testing situations. For example, if you’re tweaking a web form that has a long list of fields (like a user signup page), why not do yourself a favor and record/playback all the test data you’ve been entering a dozen plus times? Basically, wherever you find yourself repeating a set of redundant actions, there’s a place for Selenium IDE.
Basically, if you’re a web developer, you ought to have an IRC client handy. There’s a number of (generally) good development communities out there, and they’re great places to turn when Google isn’t turning up the answers you’re looking for.
ChatZilla isn’t as full-featured as mIRC (the undisputed king of IRC connectivity), but it gets the job done for me. One upside of having ChatZilla embedded in your browser though is built-in support for IRC URLs. You can create bookmarks to your favourite networks and channels (like #mephisto on Freenode) for quick and easy access straight from your browser. You spend all your time there anyways, right?
There’s tons of useful web development add-ons downloadable from the Firefox website. Use any that we haven’t covered? Share them below.