Blog on

Web Developer Alpha

Today I released an alpha version of the next release of the Web Developer extension to a select group of individuals to get their initial thoughts and bug reports.

Note: Before the comments and emails start coming in requesting to be a part of the alpha release—I am sorry, but I will not be releasing the alpha to any other people.

This alpha release contains most of the core functionality that will be included in the next release and the to-do list shows what has already been built. There are a few extra features that I want to include in the final release, but I am not looking to add in anything too major at this point.

Being an alpha release there are a few known issues—most notably unlimited customizable bookmarklets and ‘Validate Tided HTML’ not being complete—as well as almost certainly a number of bugs. The plan is to get feedback from this alpha release on the new features and any bug reports.

Release Plan

Once the necessary changes and fixes are made I will then be releasing a public beta for anyone to try—with the caveat that there will most likely still be some bugs, but hopefully nothing too major. Again bug reports and feedback will be incorporated before the final version is released.

As for the inevitable question around the timing of all of this—I cannot commit to dates as I only work on the extension in my free time and it really comes down to how busy I am.

So that is the latest news on the extension. Sorry if you wanted to try the alpha release, but hopefully the beta release will be available soon.

Mozilla Update Relaunched

Mozilla Update finally relaunched this weekend and the Developers Control Panel was turned on as part of this release.

This allows me to administrate my extensions and make sure that the information is current, so I have uploaded the latest versions of both the User Agent Switcher and Web Developer extensions. These updates still go into a moderation queue before appearing on the site, but hopefully that will only take a few days.

If you want the latest news about my extensions this site is still the best place to check out, but it will be nice to have the official extensions site up-to-date as well.

Going To The Big House

Sam came over to my desk on Thursday with the December issue of Software Development magazine and said I should read the article at the back of the magazine.

I soon noticed my name in the article as the author stated “I often use Web Developer, a Mozilla Firefox extension written by Chris Pederick”. Very cool, I thought, but Sam said I should keep reading. The article continued:

It’s a handy tool, and it’s most unfortunate that, if Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch (R) has his way, my use of Web Developer may put Chris Pederick in the Big House. Why? Because if I use Web Developer to reverse-engineer a copyrighted “MegaCorp” website, MegaCorp could complain to the local U.S. Attorney that Chris Pederick “induced” me to reverse-engineer its website’s functionality, and in doing so, violate MegaCorp’s copyright. The vehicle with which Sen. Hatch could make Pederick a potential felon is the “Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act of 2004,” a controversial bill that, as of this writing, is in its fifth rewrite. Along with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), about which I wrote last month, the so-called “Induce Act” circumvents the fair use argument for copyrighted material by making it a federal offense to “intentionally induce” someone to infringe upon the rights of a copyright holder, regardless of whether the end user of the technology is legally entitled to use it.

At first I was shocked and did not really know what to make of the article, but it will be interesting to follow the progress of this “Induce Act” and see what form of the bill is eventually passed. If you wish to read more, the full article is available online.

In the meantime, if you want me to continue to fight MegaCorp and Senator Hatch, please make sure you donate!

Web Developer 0.9.3

I have just released version 0.9.3 of the Web Developer extension. There are a number of fixes—listed in the history—as well as the addition of the same support for update notifications that was added to the last release of the User Agent Switcher extension.

I now plan on working on the 1.0 release and I will be updating the to-do list as I make progress.

Extension Patches

I have released new versions of both the User Agent Switcher and Web Developer extensions.

User Agent Switcher 0.6.2 fixes a bug where the menu was not checked when the vendor or vendor sub settings were overwritten with the default values.

Web Developer 0.9.2 contains a number of bug fixes including those from the unannounced 0.9.1 release—the history lists all the changes. This release fixes all the major issues discovered in the 0.9 release and will now be put on Mozilla Update.