Wednesday, January 09, 2008

FireBug + YSlow for Mozilla Firefox: A must use tool for all Web2.0 developers

I have been very keen in improving the response time of web applications and used to postmortem the web applications from the perspective of their initial load time, overall network traffic created, number of requests sent and the overall network traffic created to perform an action and a number of other parameters.

In order to perform this postmortem, the Mozilla add on in the name of Firebug comes in picture and really provide very useful and good enough information on the overall network traffic created, contents of each of the user request / server response, runtime inspection and modification in the CSS, HTML and Javascript of the currently viewed web page, JavaScript Debugger support for the java script statement “debugger;”, DOM Inspector and much more.

Thus, using this tool (Firebug; Mozilla Firefox Add-on), a Web 2.0 developer can very easily analyze which user action creates how much traffic behind the scenes using AJAX, which user action is performed at the client side, how much requests are generated for each user action, what’s the size of request / response for a user action and other such stuff related with the debugging of Java Script, modification in CSS and DOM Inspection. So, I would recommend every web developer who is involved in evaluating the different UI controls to be used in web applications or other such tasks related to improving the overall user experience of a web application to try this add-on; FireBug on FireFox. A snapshot of this tool, is shown below.

There is in add-on in FireBug in the name of YSlow. That provides information on how to improve the performance of your website. This add-on is by Yahoo Developer Network and automates the verification of all the Consideration for High Performance Websites in this single tool. This not only verifies and ranks the website against the said Best Practices for High Performance websites, but also provides information on what’s wrong and what you can do to improve the performance. A snap shot of the YSlow Addon of Firebug is shown below.

Something similar but with relatively lesser features is the IE Developer Toolbar, which Internet Explorer centric Web 2.0 developers, should definitely have a look at and experiment with. [Added: 22nd April 2008]

Another easy to use tool out there for Internet Explorer to perform a similar analysis of web applications (a bit buggy on I.E 6 at least on my machine) is the Web Development Helper by Nikhil Khotari. Below is the snapshot of that.

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