Intimidated By Fire?

Is it just me? Or is someone intimidated by Firebug? Taking a look at the latest IE Developer Toolbar I can’t help but notice the striking similarities to Firebug. It’s not a carbon copy, but there’s a lot of things in there that seem to imitate Firebug.

Regardless of inspiration it’s good for developers who have yet another way to view how their code is interpreted by the browser.

Now how about some decent errors messages to aid in debugging JavaScript?

4 replies on “Intimidated By Fire?”

When debugging a web site in IE, I made the mistake of downloading IE Developer Toolbar Beta 2. It crashed IE pretty consistently and had lots of minor bugs as well. It made IE completely unusable for any normal browsing because of crashes, but it did help me diagnose IE rendering oddities.

Hopefully they’ve made Beta 3 a lot more stable!

Given that Microsoft made an entire major browser upgrade because they were intimidated by Firefox, it’s probably fair to say that IE Developer Toolbar owes a lot to Firebug (and the DOM Inspector and the Web Developer Toolbar etc.).

Microsoft really want Web developers to use IE as they’re an important constituency (Web developers browse the Web a lot) and can influence other people’s browser choices (sometimes directly but mostly because of the browser technologies they code their sites to take advantage of). Hence tools to make it easy for developers to use IE.

Having Web developers using IE also helps Microsoft to create a community around IE, which is something that they’re desperate for. Microsoft want to emulate the community passion and excitement that surrounds open-source software, which is why they’ve started using weblogs, wikis etc. over the past few years. Whether they can build a genuine community when the members of that community have very limited influence over the development process (unlike the meritocracy that surrounds most open-source software) is debatable.

The community builds buzz, which promotes Microsoft products, but also encourages developers to build on the Windows platform, which is Microsoft’s main aim (just don’t pick an area that Microsoft later considers important enough that they will stop at nothing to control it themselves). A large ecosystem around Windows means that Windows is the natural computing choice for users.

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