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Web Developer 0.4 for Chrome

Web Developer 0.4 for Chrome is now available. The extension can be downloaded on the Google Chrome extension gallery.

Web Developer for Chrome

The release notes contain the full list of changes in this version, but some highlights are:

  • A new disable menu
  • Syntax highlighting and line numbers when viewing code
  • A new feature to view the responsive layouts of a page
  • Unlimited resize dimensions and tools configurable in the options

Web Developer options

Under the hood this is also essentially a complete rewrite of the extension that merges the code base with the Firefox version. This should allow improved features, fewer bugs and more frequent releases going forward.

Permissions

The Web Developer extension has always needed access to your browsing history as that is how it is able to add custom scripts to any web site for its features to work. However, some of the new features now require extra permissions such as access to cookies. As explained in the FAQ none of this data is accessed beyond the needs of the features of the extension and no personal data is sent from the extension to a third-party apart from for the third-party features such as validators.

Web Developer for Firefox 1.2 Beta 1

Web Developer for Firefox 1.2 Beta 1—a preview release of the next version of the Web Developer extension for Firefox—is now publicly available. This release is for testing purposes only—for a fully supported version of the extension or localized builds please see the latest official release.

Web Developer OS X theme

A few notable changes in this release are:

  • A new theme on OS X
  • A number of new features including ‘Reload Linked Style Sheets’ and ‘View Responsive Layouts’
  • Keyboard shortcuts can now be assigned to any feature
  • Syntax highlighting and line numbers when viewing and editing code

And of course there are many fixed issues. For the full list of changes in this version please read the release notes.

Feedback

As a beta release this build is not guaranteed to be stable. The idea behind this beta release is to give people the opportunity to provide feedback about this next version as well as report any bugs. Please report any feedback or issues in the beta forum or via the contact form.

Note that the forums on chrispederick.com have been upgraded as my self-hosted version of FluxBB was having more and more problems recently. Therefore I have upgraded to a hosted Vanilla Forums setup.

Unfortunately as part of this upgrade the existing forums data including user accounts and posts could not be easily migrated so you will need to re-register if you had registered previously.

Let me know if you see any problems with the new forums by posting in the forums or via the contact form.

Improved Web Developer ‘View JavaScript’ Output

The updated ‘View JavaScript’ output in the next version of the Web Developer extension including syntax highlighting and line numbers.

Web Developer View JavaScript output

Redesigned Web Developer Options Dialog

A preview of the redesigned and streamlined options dialog for the next release of Web Developer.

Web Developer options dialog

Why Web Developer May Finally Be Coming To Safari

When Safari 5 was released a year ago Apple followed the lead of Firefox and Chrome and added support for extensions. A number of people contacted me at the time asking if I would port Web Developer to Safari and I said I would look into the possibility.

When I looked at the Safari extension API it was clearly based on the Chrome extension API and I was initially hopeful that creating a Safari version of Web Developer would not only be possible, but relatively straightforward.

Why Web Developer Does Not Work With Safari (Yet)

My first thought was to add a toolbar button that could open an HTML version of the Web Developer toolbar just like I do in Chrome:

Web Developer for Google Chrome

However, while Safari supports adding custom toolbar buttons they can only execute JavaScript and cannot open HTML popups like Chrome allows. This did not appear to be an issue since Safari extensions are allowed to create entire toolbars—something that Chrome extensions cannot do—and this would be the ideal implementation for Web Developer.

As I started to work on creating Web Developer as a Safari toolbar though, a major shortcoming became clear. Safari toolbars can only contain HTML elements and do not allow those elements to expand outside of the toolbar—expanding menus in the toolbar are not possible.

The only way to work around this limitation is to use HTML select elements—an option that extensions like Safari Developer are using:

Safari Developer toolbar

I personally see this as a clunky solution with major limitations and poor usability. Therefore I decided to wait and hope that the Safari extension API matured to allow a better implementation of Web Developer.

Why Web Developer May Work With Safari In Lion

Cut to this week and Apple released a bunch of new information about the next release of OS X called Lion. Tucked at the end of their section detailing the new features in Safari in Lion is the following paragraph:

Safari extensions

If I am understanding this correctly it sounds like the Safari extension API will be updated to support HTML popups being opened by custom toolbar buttons just like in Chrome. If this is true then I will once again look into porting Web Developer to Safari.

When?

OS X Lion does not have a firm release date yet, but it is due to be released some time in July and I am currently working on the next release of Web Developer for Firefox. Any development on a Safari version would have to wait until the Firefox update is complete, but I cannot give any estimate as to when this might happen. Just know that I will be investigating the possibility of porting Web Developer to Safari as soon as I have the time once Lion is released.