Top 8 Firefox Add-Ons for Web Development

As a web developer, you can never have enough tools to help make web development faster and more efficient. Mozilla’s Firefox web browser has a feature called add-ons (similar to extensions or plugins), which add extra features to the browser. Note: Not all add-ons are available for all OS platforms. The add-ons discussed here are compatible with Firefox 11, OS X Lion 10.7.3.

Firefox 11 by default already has very impressive tools for web development. It includes (descriptions from the Mozilla website):

  • Web Console – Lets you see logging messages from your JavaScript code, JavaScript and CSS errors and network activity. Search and filter to find just the events you need to look at. Plus, you can directly interact with and explore your page via JavaScript.
  • Page Inspector – Peek right into the styling of any Web page by visually selecting the page element that you’re interested in.
  • Scratchpad – Scratchpad lets you write JavaScript code that can interact directly with the contents of a Web page.

With these powerful tools already included, there are actually even more features you can add to Firefox for even more power. Here are my favorite add-ons specifically used for web development:

  1. Web Developer 1.1.9 – Also known as the Web Developer Toolbar (WDT), this add-on installs various web developer tools to the browser. It will allow you to quickly disable any JavaScript, CSS or image files on website. The toolbar also gives you easy access to any cookies, meta tag information, and forms on the web page you are viewing. One of my favorite features is the ability to auto fill forms for form testing. The “name” of the form element will be used as the form value, so when testing a form with many fields, this feature will save you plenty of time. The truth is, the WDT has so many different features, I haven’t been able to use them all yet!
  2. Firebug 1.9.1 – Firebug integrates with Firefox to put a wealth of development tools at your fingertips while you browse. You can edit, debug, and monitor CSS, HTML, and JavaScript live in any web page. It’s like the built in Web Console and Page Inspecter but with more features. Some developers will debate on which is better, WDT or Firebug. From my experience, WDT is more suited for front end designers that do a lot of CSS coding and Firebug is better for JavaScript/AJAX debugging and web development. I say use them both.
  3. MeasureIt 0.4.10 – Draw a ruler across any webpage to check the width, height, or alignment of page elements in pixels. This ruler is one of the handiest add-ons I’ve used.
  4. Firesizer 1.7 – Allows you to resize the window to specific dimensions. This add-on shows the dimensions of the current browser window in pixels.
  5. HTML Validator 0.9.5.2 – Adds HTML Validation to the View Page Source of the browser. The add-on is based on Tidy and OpenSP, both algorithms that were originally developed by the Web Consortium W3C. The details of the errors are seen when looking the HTML source of the page. If you care about your code being valid, then try this out. Although the WDT has a HTML validator feature, those validation results are shown to you from an external website, rather than being shown along with the page’s source code.
  6. Rainbow 1.5.1 – This add-on has a color picker and eyedropper + saving colors. It allows you to try out colors with drag and drop. Want to know the hexadecimal notation (HEX) color of a particular blue that is in a jpeg image without needing an image editor (like Photoshop)? With Rainbow, it’s no problem.
  7. Lazarus: Form Recovery 2.3 – Lazarus securely auto-saves all forms as you type, so after a crash, server timeout, or whatever, you can go back to the form and get the form data back. If you have a lot of forms that need testing and would like to use actual form content, this add-on will make it a less tedious task.
  8. FireFTP – FireFTP is a free, secure, cross-platform FTP/SFTP client for Mozilla Firefox which provides easy and intuitive access to FTP/SFTP servers. If you are experienced with FileZilla, FireFTP will be familiar.

And of course, the latest version of Firefox can be downloaded from the Mozilla website.

What Do Web Developers Actually Do?

Common man often finds it difficult to draw a clear distinction between web developers and web designers and often treats them as one. This confusion mainly springs up due to the fact that in most of the organizations the same person will be rolling out the functions of both. Even though you can squeeze these totally different roles into a single person, the fact is that developers can do web designing, but in an imperfect manner.

Web Developers -Who They Actually Are?

A web developer is a software developer or software engineer who specializes in the act of building and maintaining high-end websites. developers have expertise in the development of World Wide Web applications and their skills are more expansive than that of a webmaster. They should be able to do flawless web development and there are many areas involved in it. Their work ranges from developing various scripting languages, web applications, making a website from scratch, generating code for web pages etc.

Contrary to the common misconception, developers require knowledge beyond HTML. They should have proficient understanding of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, PHP, Ruby, and other superior programming languages. In order to generate code for web pages, web developers should have expertise in using some of the development tools such as Dreamweaver, FrontPage, GoLive or Visual Interdev. They are the people behind the putting together of a web presence from the bottom up considering the needs and wishes of the particular client. From the home page to site layout and function, their magical hands are seen everywhere. In a concise term, developers are those who put up multifarious rules to drive and maintain systems.

Besides creating the right script according to the client’s requirements developers should be able to create a website layout to cater to the target market. This is the decisive factor behind the success of a website. The website should be dynamic in nature helping in the brand promotion. developers should be able to develop fully functional websites and ensure interoperability of websites to enable proper functioning irrespective of the browser used.

Developers should also ensure that the web sites they develop offer easy navigation with logically placed information, easy access to specific products and user-friendly and visually appealing layout. They are important to keep hold of customers. Web developers should also ensure that the website endorses the products and services well and drives more business to the client.

Designers specialize in the overall design of pages and graphics, which are most evident to the end-user. The truth is that it is beneficial if the Web Development are also well-versed with some aspects of graphic editing packages, as they may have to use them when developing web pages.

Finding An E-Commerce Web Developer Who Is Right For The Job

An e-commerce web developer might be just what you need to expand your business online. But many people market themselves as great developers, so how do you know you are getting the right person for the job?

There are a few ways to make sure you make the right hire. Follow these suggestions to ensure you are finding someone who can provide quality service at the right price.

First, check the web developer’s skill level. This person should have had some sort of training, or you may want to be skeptical about what qualities they will bring to the table. There are too many people who trust the freelancing web developer only to find that they fall short in accomplishing some of your goals, or they make promises they cannot fulfill technically.

The next thing to look for when you are trying to find the right e-commerce developer for your needs would be to look at reviews or get references about their services. You want to know what other clients they have served. You want to know how they treat their customers, and that previous clients have been satisfied with their web projects. Reviews are one way to see what people are saying about a given web developer, or his agency, but references are even more important because reviews can be faked. Talking to a real client is going to give you a better sense of what you can expect from your web developer.

You also want to be sure they know how to create the e-commerce component of your website, whether that’s incorporating a commerce theme into your website design or hooking your website up to a shopping cart program that charges a monthly fee. Ask about your e-commerce options and their experience with different features available. If they cannot offer what you are looking for, then you can move on to the next web developer candidate. The e-commerce development should be the backbone for your website, and it is vitally important.

The e-commerce web developer you hire should be able to work with you. You should be able to tell your web designer what your goals are and receive help obtaining those goals. If your developer can’t do this, you need to seek someone else.

Last of all, you need to be sure the web designer understands what you need them to do. This should be done before you sign a contract so there isn’t any misunderstanding about what you expect. You and the developer should both sign this. A contract is a vital ingredient in protecting yourself against poor-quality work, unfinished work or other lapses in service.

You should do some price comparisons among web developers, so you know you are paying a reasonable price. But the price is not the only thing you should take into consideration as you search for an e-commerce web developer. You want to balance quality of service with price, so that you can find the best service for the best price. If you look only for bottom-dollar bargains, you may not find an e-commerce web developer who can deliver the quality of work you need to be successful in your venture.