~robcee/ more than just sandwiches

Orion is now on by Default in Nightlies

Orion is now the default editor in Scratchpad in Nightlies (as of today, August 18, 2011).

You can revert to the textarea-based editor by changing devtools.editor.component to textarea.

If you do, please tell us why you did that! Thanks.


Scratchpad can haz Orion

This weekend, the incomparable Mihai Sucan put the finishing touches on the Orion Source Code editor integration pieces and attached it to the Scratchpad. Orion is an open source code editor project that IBM is building. See Mihai’s blog post for some details and a link to an earlier demo video. It’s currently turned off via preferences, but if you’d like to play with it in Firefox Nightlies, (or later this week, Aurora) set:

devtools.editor.component to orion in about:config.

… and then open a Scratchpad (with Shift-F4 or via the menu item in the Web Developer submenu).

Update! John via the comments mentioned that if you have already opened a Scratchpad, you will need to restart your browser for this change to take effect. Thanks for the note!

It’s currently disabled because there are some outstanding issues for RTL locales and some accessibility concerns. We hope to address those issues with upstream contributions wherever possible — Mihai’s an Orion contributor now. Eventually, this preference will become the default.

What do you get with this preference? Nice JavaScript syntax highlighting for starters. You also get other conveniences like bracket matching and (semi-)smart indentation.

This feature’s an important first-step towards making the Scratchpad a really comfortable editor for writing and testing bits of JavaScript. It gives us a solid foundation to add more interesting features to the Scratchpad in the future, and gives us a Source Editor component that we can drop into other elements.

Highlighter Integration Build, August 7, 2011

I put together another build this weekend with some of our in-progress patches. I left out a few features that weren’t specifically for the Highlighter that were in the previous version (Orion in Scratchpad, the Style Editor to name two). You can download the build for your platform here: http://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.org/firefox/nightly/latest-devtools/.

Devtools Highlighter Integration Build, August 7, 2011, click to view on flickr.

For this build, we wanted to get some feedback on the Highlighter and Style Inspector pieces themselves. Specifically, the attribute editing in the HTML panel (bug 575234), the layout of the Style Inspector’s contents (bug 672748), the breadcrumbs in the highlighter toolbar (bug 672006) and the selected node’s “infobar” (bug 663833).

A couple of points about this build: The HTML panel and Style panels are not enabled by default. To access them, you have to press the Style and HTML buttons on the highlighter’s toolbar at the bottom of the screen. The toolbar itself and buttons are not styled yet and will be taken care of in bugs 676253 and 676255.

Note that there are bound to be bugs in this build. The unittests haven’t been completely written for each of these features yet and for some of them, it’s the first time they’ve lived together. Nevertheless, if you find bugs, feel free to file them in Firefox::Developer Tools. We’ll either dupe[1] them or use them to create more tests.

Thanks for testing! Comments in bugs are preferred to blog comments, but we’ll what we can get.

1 – Duplicate. In a Bugzilla context, mark it as RESOLVED DUPLICATE of another, pre-existing bug.

6 August 2011 @ 3pm


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Tagged. 7 Things. Redux.

It’s that time of year again. My esteemed colleague Tim Taubert tagged me for a 7 Things meme post. I am going to take a partial cop-out like Dietrich since I’ve already done one of these a couple of years ago, and despite my best intentions, there haven’t been that many exciting new additions to my life-history. Sure I’ve seen a few more places, gained a bit more forehead and improved my golf swing (and putting!), but these are pretty basic things unworthy of a blog post.

The Rules

  • Link to your original tagger(s) and list these rules in your post. (see above)
  • Share seven facts about yourself in the post. (see below)
  • Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs. (see below)
  • Let them know they’ve been tagged. (you’ll just have to trust me)


So, in addition to my previous 7 things, I’ll relate just a few more:

1. I have two dogs. Dakota and Jester. They’re retired racing greyhounds we adopted through the great people at Maritime Greyhound Adoption Program. They’re great dogs and we couldn’t imagine not having them around.

2. NERDERY ALERT! I have another “secret” blog at http://n3wb.com/boolean. It’s not really a secret (I’ve linked to it from my tweetstream before) and I don’t write on it nearly as much as I used to. I tend to post nerdy reviews of technology and gadgets there or whatever else isn’t really suited to posting here which I use primarily for blogging about mozilla-related topics. Really though, I think that separation is totally fake and I should probably just combine the two blogs. But I can’t and probably won’t.

3. My first computer was a Commodore VIC-20 I got as a present when I was 9 or 10, I think. I graduated to a C64 shortly after that where I started to get into programming BASIC before moving onto 6502 assembly and Forth. After a brief stint with a monochrome PC that had a “turbo” switch, I upgraded to an Amiga 2000 which I continued modding and upgrading for nearly 8 years. By the time I was done with it, it had a 68030 accelerator card, 8MB of RAM(!) and, I believe, a 50MB hard-drive. I taught myself C (K&R!) from reading the Amiga ROM Kernel manuals in 1988-89 and building programs on a copy of the SAS C compiler two years before I had my first internet connection.

I am still looking forward to a new incarnation of the Amiga. Paradoxically, I also hope there is never another computer bearing that name again.

I think that’s plenty.

The Taggees

@mleibovic! @EnglishMossop! @deezthugs@Boriss@shorlander! @robodesign! @felipc!

You’ve all been tagged! (please forgive me)

21 July 2011 @ 7pm

devtools, Firefox, Mozilla

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DevTools Integration Build

(Crossposted to dev.apps.firefox and the DevTools blog)


I have a present for you.


If you go there and download the version for your operating system, you can get a sneak preview of what we’ve been working on in the Developer Tools group. It is a little rough around the edges still as it’s all a work in progress, but it gives you an idea of what we’re working towards.

The features can be found in the Web Developer submenu in the app menu on Windows (aero) and Linux or under the Tools>Web Developer menu on Mac and WinXP or Linux Firefoxes without the AppMenu.

The big feature in this build is the Highlighter available through the Inspect menu item (subject to change). It’s still using a panel for the HTML display, but that is going to be docked and de-emphasized soon enough. There’s a Style panel available through the toolbar at the bottom of the screen. The layout of this panel is going to change very shortly as well to provide more immediate access to the information you’re looking for.

The other cool easter egg in this build is the Orion editor in Scratchpad. I’m kind of ruining the surprise by telling you about it, but I just couldn’t help myself.

I’ll kick off another build in a week or two including the Style Editor and some improvements to the Web Console as well as ongoing additions to the Highlighter. Note that the updater will download the latest Nightly from mozilla-central, so if you let it update, you’ll lose this build.

Please let us know what you think. Here on this blog, on d.a.f, or file bugs against the Firefox::Developer Tools component.

I hope you like it.

19 July 2011 @ 9am

Code, devtools, Firefox, Mozilla

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Scratchpad to get Current Visible Tabs

If you use Panorama (aka, TabView) in Firefox (6 and up) and want to get a list of the currently visible tabs (i.e., the tabs in your currently-selected group), here’s the code to run in a Scratchpad (set to Environment:Browser*):

let group = gBrowser.visibleTabs; // current group
group.map(function (c) c.linkedBrowser.currentURI.spec).join("\n");

Just select these two lines, right click and select “Display” and it’ll dump the currently visible URLs right into the Scratchpad. Nice.

Useful for adding links to a wiki or wherever else you might like to add links.

* – if you want to run code against the Browser Environment in Firefox, you’ll need to set devtools.chrome.enabled to true in about:config.

ps, thanks to @ttaubert for the code snippet!

Scratchpad hotkey is now Shift-F4

When you put a key next to another key, there seems to be a strong chance* that some of the time, you will hit the wrong key. It so happens that the Scratchpad, landed recently on nightlies and now over in Aurora is right next to another key, F5. Which, you may know, is also Refresh.

So people have been opening the Scratchpad by accident and being annoyed by it.

To help mitigate this, we’ve added a Shift key modifier to the shortcut. It is now Shift-F4 on all systems.

For deets, see: bug 664746.

Just landed on Aurora, so if you’re on that channel, you should get an update shortly.

Scratchpad Canvas Demo

I’ve been trying to put together a reasonable demo movie for the Scratchpad. Something that shows it in action and gives an idea of how you might use it. This video is, I think, close to what we need, but it could use a couple of additional features: The Inspect menu to show object inspection got cut out. And copying and pasting the resulting text into a script file for inclusion in a web-page. Still, I think you can extrapolate that from my mumbled audio.

Video Link (29MB, WebM video)

Take a look. Send comments. Better yet, make your own Scratchpad demos and we’ll include them on the Devtools blog and Scratchpad documentation page!

Scratchpad (née Workspace), Web Developer Menu landed

First of all, I feel obliged to ask you to use Aurora. It’s pretty. It has a nice icon. You’ll enjoy the early glimpse of features and smooth visuals. You can get it here: http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/channel/.

With that out of the way, I can talk about the landing of Scratchpad (formerly Workspace) into mozilla-central. It landed yesterday and you can find it in today’s Nightly under the Web Developer menu. There’s also a new submenu in Tools if you’re on a Mac or running Windows with the menubar shown. We’ve moved Page Source there as well to be consistent with the App Menu’s contents.

You can also open the Scratchpad with the F4 key for rapid access.

If you’re an extension or browser developer, you’ll want to open about:config and change devtools.chrome.enabled to true. This adds a Chrome item to the Context menu for Scratchpad. As the menu might suggest, it changes your default JavaScript context to be the browser’s chrome space.

This is brand new stuff. Mihai Sucan did a great job of converting our add-on prototype to a browser feature, but there might still be some rough edges. Please file bugs under Firefox::Devtools in bugzilla.

And then there’s the outstanding stuff we have left to do. High on that list is some actual documentation and a screencast to show how it can be used. You can and should pester me to do this. I’m hoping to do a little screencasting sometime later this week.

Workspace [fixed-in-devtools][l10n?]


Good news, everyone! This morning we landed the Workspace feature in our devtools project repository. This is exciting stuff for practitioners of JavaScript and we’ll have more to write about it very soon. hint, it’s probably a lot simpler and more powerful than you think it is. Many thanks to Mihai Sucan for taking the add-on and making it a feature. Also, special thanks to Erik Vold for his contributions to the add-on. You’re in the Firefox source code now!

All is not unicorns and puppies though: there has been some concern expressed over the name of this feature. On the one hand, it might not easily convey what this thing does. A lot of things come to mind when I hear the term “workspace” used in a compu-technological context. Were it not for my years as a Smalltalker, I’d think “window manager” and it is most-definitely not that.

The other, more important issue is, how will this localize? Axel, aka Pike, aka :l10n expressed some concern over the word. To get some feedback, I’ve written a post in mozilla.dev.l10n asking for help making Workspace internationalizable. Take a read, and drop a note in there if you have any suggestions.

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