IE team ports FireBug to IE8

March 6th, 2008

EDIT: I created a follow up post to this.

Microsoft, doing what it knows how to do best, has once again copied a great tool – striving to make the tool Microsoft’s own.  Granted, a number of times this has gone badly (the first version of MSUnit is such a case), but I am very hopeful this time around.

They did a near full scale copy of FireBug for Firefox and called it Developer Tools for IE 8.  I couldn’t be happier.  Actually, I’m ecstatic!

Now, for IE 7 there were some tools that sort of competed with FireBug called the Developer Toolbar and Nikhil’s Web Development Helper.  And those are good tools, but just not as slick as FireBug.  FireBug’s ability to play with the html, css, and debug javascript were just unparalleled.   We had to wait for Visual Studio 2008 and those two tools just to get close.  The Developer Tools should change a lot of that for web developers.

For those of you who are saying, “There goes Microsoft and their anti-competitive practices again, sticking it to the little guy”, I say: GET REAL, it is an open source tool for crying out loud.  Plus, if John Resig is to be believed, Joe Hewitt (the creator of FireBug) is perfectly happy with this.  The reason is, the IE developer team was probably the only group that could create this tool for IE, so they did. 

Actually, go back and read John Resig’s blog and see all of the JavaScript enhancements to IE8.  Well worth a read.

The point is, as much as I like FireFox (it is my standard browser), it is still not the dominate browser on the market.  Most businesses and general users will continue to use IE for a long time.  What I hated was the difference in the quality of the debugging tools between FireFox and IE.  That has now leveled off a bit, and in the end that is better for everyone.

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  • http://www.chrisspen.com Chris Spencer

    It’s interesting to see MS playing catch-up to open source projects. Unfortunately, this tool is useless for most developers, since no one uses IE8. Heck, 22% of browsers are still IE6. Will this new tool work with any of the older versions of IE that will continue to be used for years to come? Of course not.

    I’m thrilled MS finally got around to copying some useful functionality from FOSS. I just wish they also copied some of the common sense as well.

  • http://elegantcode.com David Starr

    Wow. Talk about damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

    I think people forget that MSFT is made of teams who are made of “drum roll” people just like us!

    Does the product that your team ship to customers have every feature that every customer wants in it, Chris?

    I’m not saying that MSFT is always on the ball, but I do think flaming the IE8 team for doing something good is a bit harsh.

  • http://www.elegantcode.com Chris Brandsma

    Chris: I’m not even sure it is worth dignifying this response with an answer. There is so much misdirected spite in that I don’t even know where to begin. But I’ll try.

    First of, this type of tool is directed at developers. I still have to test my web sites in IE and Firefox, and I will continue to do so for quite a while now. If you want a tool with even worse tools to spout venom against, go see Safari and Chrome (but Chrome at least has a fighting shot at getting better).

    For all the people still using IE6, it isn’t that I don’t care, but the likely-hood they will visit one of my sites is very low. For that matter, I still see lots of users till using old versions of Firefox. And the only way many of those people will ever upgrade is if you go to their machines and do it for them. Now, are you mad at IE6, or the people that use it?

    Frankly, I’m too busy to care, and I prefer to not spend my time worrying about it. The attitude is counter productive. I give props to teams that do something good, regardless of how I think about the product. Progress is progress.

  • ph

    Thank’s a lot

  • Jesse

    Having a Firebug-style tool available for developers is practically a requirement if you want your browser to be relevant in the future. I don’t see how they could afford to skip putting this kind of tool in there. As for the fact that it copies Firebug, well… the IE team tried to do things their way and it just wasn’t as good as Firebug. Why reinvent the wheel?

    • Winn

      I agree, it sucks. They should have *really* copied Firebug instead of just emulating it.

  • http://www.deadlywind.com/ Paintball Barrel

    What i don’t get is, why are there so many amazing plugins for FF and just about nothing for IE? I kinda know the answer but I’m not quite clear on it.

  • Sad

    nice

  • Sad

    nice

  • Ruicsilva

    I really don’t know if that joint i smoked really made me hazy like funk but “They did a near full scale copy of FireBug for Firefox and called it Developer Tools for IE 8.”. ROFLMAOBBQSAUCE!!!!
    Comparing DT fo IE8 to Firebug for Firefox is like comparing gold to a dropplet of my dogs rear end.

    The tool is completely useless. A waste of bytes.