By Alex Walker

Hail the WDT — We are not worthy!

By Alex Walker

As fast and secure and cool as the Firefox web browser is, if I had to name my number one reason for using Firefox as my primary browser, there’s a simple answer — the Web Developer Toolbar.

Although I dimly remember a time, long ago, when I worked without it, like many other developers, my processes are now so entwined with the WDT that I’d find it hard to work without it.

And as the web developer community has made up a critical element of Phoniex/Firebird/Firefox’s ‘RA-RA’ squad throughout it’s teething period, it’s difficult to dismiss the importance of the WDT in helping to get Firefox to it’s current position of relative strength.

Chris Pederick, we salute you!

Anyway, as I was away for the last update (0.92 – Jan 3rd), I thought I’d check out the new features.

So what possible improvement could they make? Personalized horoscopes? Nail clippers? Espresso? ..

Not in this release, but almost as good.

For anyone who’s spent any time working on custom print or handheld stylesheets, life just got better. Forget ‘Print Preview’ — with a few simple clicks you can now view your print styles directly in the browser. Nice!

  • Wranga


  • Knobsticle

    Use the resize feature to make the screen 240*320, disable all toolbars and the status bar, use the handheld media type and you have yourself a virtual PDA :D

  • Agree. The WDT really make life easy for web developers, but I have another favourite too. ColorZilla is another brilliant extension that saves me a lot of time if I find a color on the web that I like. So a big thanks to Alex Sirota aswell.

  • Yep, I especially like that I can validate my (X)HTML and CSS right from the toolbar. Even with local files. Very cool!

  • Johan I agree, I suggested to Chris that he implement a color picker in web developer when it was in its really early stages, but at the time he had no idea how to make it work. Now that colorzilla’s been out for a while I’m surprised he hasn’t added it.

  • Awesome! When is he adding Expresso?

  • Guess what!

    Opera can do almost all of that without a toolbar!

    The wonder of the best browser…

  • No argument. Opera is a great browser. But IMHO I don’t think it’s always a great idea to build this kind of specialized functionality in the browser by default.

    As useful as the WDT is to me, my dad and my sisters would have no use for it, so it’s presense would only serve to obscure other more useful functions. Using the plug-in architecture to pick and choose functionality seems like a better way of handling it to me.

  • Opera is only 4 MB, much smaller than FireFox.

    All of Opera’s features come bundled smaller than FireFox that lacks these features.

    Some of these features are good though. Look at disabling images. This is great for dialup users who want a little faster browsing, or even turning it to cached. Then you have turning it to User Mode so you can view it as a text browser, turn off images, images and links only, etc. These are good again for faster browsing. Then you have the small screen rendering that makes Opera great for mobiles that is easily built in.

    Packed with features Opera trulely packs a punch compared to FireFox. So many features in the smallest browser.

    I do have to say that my siblins like Opera because it’s faster on their dialup and they can use some odd features it has to speed it up even more. They use a lot of the features for things I would have never thought of.

  • joengo

    Opera is great. V+XHTML in version 8 is cool. Adding XMLHTTP in version 8 is cool! Why can’t they add something like HTMLArea/Midas to Opera?

    I love Opera. I still use it from time to time. However, the WDT is really one thing that makes me stick to FF.

  • deg

    That is cool, but just remember the best way to test your Print CSS is already in your browser – Print Preview! Testing print CSS on-screen is liable to invoke several bugs and inconsistencies due to bugs with using points as a unit of measurement on screen, due to non-constrained screen dimensions/proportions, etc.

  • Love the fact that I can run it on my Firefox browsers across Linux, Mac and Windows!

  • I love how I can run Opera on Linux, Mac, and Windows too!

    I have to agree that Opera is about the best browser around. Even though FireFox is great too, it doesn’t match up with Opera in my opinion. But ofcourse they both out beat IE by a long shot.

  • WDT is the best and I’ve long forgotten the days without it. It’s as automatic as tabbed browsing.

    A few reasons I pick FF over the other half dozen I have at my disposal.

    HTMLArea for rich text editing. Opera can’t and neither can Safari/Konqueror or IE on the Mac. They’re samll but FF is mighty.

    Loading Speed – In my experience, nothing fires up faster than Firefox with the same or similar feature set.

    Consistency – Mac/PC/Linux it’s all the same.

    Great colour rendering – I’ve run tests with FF against others using a small colour picker app. In all cases, FF renders colours better on the PC screen.

    Tabbed Browsing or open in a new window – Hands down the most used feature for me.

    I really like the zoom feature in Opera and started using Opera in favor of IE a few years ago but Firefox has the feel of a more mature browser. It’s my pick.

  • Jim Bob Pipes

    The “Display CSS By Media Type” function has been there since version 0.9 (see but thank you for alerting me to the fact that there is a new version out. :)

  • MatthewHSE

    Guess what!

    Opera can do almost all of that without a toolbar!

    Not by a long shot. Everything mentioned here, maybe, but the WDT has all kinds of features, not mentioned in this article, that Opera can’t touch. If you haven’t tried the Web Developer Toolbar on FireFox, go download it and give it a try. Every one of the menus is loaded with stuff to make developing and debugging easier.

    (Oh, and FireFox is faster than Opera, too, when it’s url=]tweaked properly[/url]! ;) )

  • The only problem is that I find FireFox a hassle at times. Sure I have it for browser testing, but I don’t like to use it.

    Opera is just easier and I’m use to the keyboard shortcuts and mouse gusters. I also like the new voice commands that help me from time to time.

    I also like how Opera is smaller. I think that once and Opera fan, always and Opera fan :p

  • scattermachine

    I’ve used a development toolbar for IE, so now that I’ve switched to FF, I’m glad to know that there’s a toolbar for it also. I d/l it and plan on running it for a test drive…

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