The Firebug system operated as an extension for Mozilla Firefox browsers and was a project of the Mozilla organization. Its testing capabilities extended to security and performance analysis, so it was more than just a code debug system.
Firefox 57, released in late 2017. This version of the browser had some major changes. One of those was the removal of compatibility with XUL add-ons. XUL was another free product that was developed under the aegis of Mozilla. The full name of the system is XML User Interfaced Language, which, unfortunately, was the development code used for Firebug. So, because of this change to Firefox, Firebug, which had no standalone version, ceased to be useable.
Alternatives to Firebug
Firebug offered an impressive range of services. It is a difficult package to beat. The fact that it was free makes the task of finding a replacement for Firebug even harder. However, there are some good solid options out there.
- Opera Chromium Dev Tools In a similar scenario to Mozilla Firebug, Opera dropped its package of developer tools, called Dragonfly, and integrated its utilities into the browser menu.
- Omnibug An analyzer for Web marketing tools that can be used as part of a QA process when assessing the impact of browser-based applications. Available as a free add-on for Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Opera, Safari, Brave, and Vivaldi.
- Raygun Error Monitoring A paid cloud-based service that integrates into a web page with a snippet.
You can read more about each of these options in the following sections.
Given that Firebug was such a useful collection of development, testing, and monitoring tools, you would think it strange that Mozilla didn’t update the code for those services so that they would continue to work with the new version of the Firefox browser. That upgrade didn’t happen because the browser’s project team had already integrated the best features of Firebug into the browser itself. So, all of those tools are still available, just not as a separate plug-in with a distinct name.
The debugger is also able to examine CSS and HTML code Other utilities in the Web Developer suite of Firefox include the Page Inspector, which acts as a Web page editor, and the Web Console, which gives access to log files. The system also includes a network monitor and a Web page performance analyzer.
2. Google Chrome Dev Tools
Google Chrome includes a suite of free Developer Tools, just like those in the Firefox browser. These are also free and they are bundled into the standard Chrome browser.
In order to debug the code, you just run the page that it contains. You can pause the execution and open a side panel that shows the code in play and the point that execution has reached. You can rewind and click on a specific line to get it to run.
The tabbed interface of the debugger lets you jump to log file viewing in the console or see network actions and application performance analysis without losing your place in the code walk-through.
3. Opera Chromium Dev Tools
The opera development team used to run a separate project for a development tool suite, called Dragonfly. Like Mozilla, Opera decided to integrate these tools into its browser. These are now called Chromium Dev Tools and they are free to use. In fact, these are exactly the same tools that you can access in Google Chrome.
4. Edge Developer Tools
5. Safari Developer Menu
The Safari browser is available for macOS and iOS devices. It includes developer tools, but you have to activate the Developer menu before you can access them. Once you’re set-up, you can access the Web inspector, which is an impressive performance monitor.
9. Raygun Error Monitoring
Raygun Error Monitoring and Crash Reporting is a cloud service that monitors the performance of Web pages constantly and spots errors in the code while it is live. The client activates the service by including a snippet from Raygun on the page to be monitored. This code acts as an agent for the Raygun analysis engine. Raygun Error Monitoring is available for a 14-day free trial.
The tool keeps running and is active on your pages as long as they can be contacted over the internet. This means you can use the tool while the code is still in development and when it gets to the testing phase before it goes live.
10. JS Bin
To take your code private and get the ability to save work in progress, you need to open up a paid account.
Firebug Alternatives FAQs
- Chrome DevTools
- Firefox Developer Tools
- Microsoft Edge DevTools
- Node.js Debugger
- Safari Web Inspector
- Open the developer tools in your browser (usually by right-clicking anywhere on the page and selecting "Inspect" or using a keyboard shortcut).
- Navigate to the Sources tab.
- Set breakpoints in your code by clicking to the left of the line numbers.
- Refresh the page or run the code that you want to debug.
The code will pause at the first breakpoint, and you can use the debugger to inspect the values of variables and step through the code.
Which is the best alternative to Firebug?
The best alternative to Firebug depends on your personal preferences and the type of projects you are working on. Some popular options include Chrome DevTools and Firefox Developer Tools.
Can I use Firebug in modern browsers?
Do I need to install an extension to use a Firebug alternative?