Category Archive: Firebug
August 3, 2011

If you recently upgraded to Firebug 1.8 you will have noticed that FirePHP no longer worked and when visiting http://www.firephp.org/ you would have seen a notice prompting you to upgrade to DeveloperCompanion.

The FirePHP Extension now (0.6) works again with Firebug 1.8: http://www.firephp.org/HQ/FinalRelease.htm (will appear on mozilla add-ons once approved)

What Happened?

I have been working on FirePHP 1.0 (comparison) for a few years now to come up with a streamlined way to develop PHP (and other languages) code in the modern web environment. To make this a reality a new server library and client is needed. I wrote both of these from scratch based on a bunch of research utilizing the latest technologies (especially for the client).

What sets the FirePHP 1.0 (server library) apart is that it includes a new cross language intelligence system called Insight intended to bring the FirePHP way of debugging to other programming languages. Furthermore Insight is designed to support multiple clients that can embed the Insight system (composed of CommonJS modules) in order to bring native support to IDEs and other developer tools (this aspect is not ready yet but will receive significant attention in time).

I wrote the new client (DeveloperCompanion) to support all existing FirePHP Extension features plus new ones (to be released with Firebug 1.9) free of charge. The paid version builds on the free foundation by offering more streamlined and time-saving features.

The arrival of Firebug 1.8 brings along a bunch of internal changes which broke the FirePHP Extension 0.5 release. Given that DeveloperCompanion is sufficiently ready I decided not not fix the FirePHP Extension and thought I would upgrade users to DeveloperCompanion to ensure everyone can keep using FirePHP with Firebug 1.8.

Feedback from users

Then I started receiving feedback about this decision. Users were not happy that they were now required to install a commercial extension. I did not think that this would be a problem. In my view the free features DeveloperCompanion offers are superior to the ones offered by the FirePHP Extension (if you don’t think they are let me know so we can make it so) and since 2007 I have received only one patch for the FirePHP Extension. I thought users would not object to a closed-source extension for a while until FireConsole is ready.

There seem to be two groups of FirePHP users. One is looking for and needs the new features that FirePHP 1.0 brings and the other is happy with the simple approach of the FirePHPCore library and insist on the entire stack being open source at all times.

Go forward

I have decided to continue to maintain the FirePHP Extension but it will not be upgraded to be compatible with the new FirePHP 1.0 Insight features. That means the FirePHP Extension will continue to support the FirePHPCore library only and implementations written to be protocol compatible such as the native Zend Framework implementation.

Users who want to use the FirePHP 1.0 Insight features with an open source extension will need to wait for FireConsole. Anyone who does not object to installing a free closed-source client can use the new FirePHP 1.0 Insight features today with DeveloperCompanion.

Finally, anyone looking for features that will streamline their PHP and JavaScript development workflow and toolchain can license DeveloperCompanion and as a result support the further development of FirePHP, Insight and related technologies. I know we all love open source but producing open source software still takes time and money. I appreciate your support.

I trust that this will satisfy everyone’s needs. If not, please let me know.

August 20, 2010

When I originally wrote FirePHP in 2007 I had big ambitions as to the features I was going to incorporate. I learned quickly that the kinds of things I wanted to do were not going to be easy to implement in a maintainable way using existing code I had and open source code I could find. What I needed was a wholistic approach to the problem area of server-side application intelligence and a set of libraries based on standards that could be applied cross language.

After countless hours of research and development I am pleased to announce the first fruit of my labor.

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February 20, 2009

I recently discovered a new Mozilla Labs project called Bespin. From the release announcement:

Just as Mozilla enables massive innovation by making Firefox open on many levels, we hope to do the same with Bespin by developing an extensible framework for Open Web development. We’re particularly excited by the prospect of empowering Web developers to hack on the editor itself and make it their own.

I encourage you to check out this project. It’s in a very early stage of development, so don’t expect to switch IDE’s any time soon, but based on the amount of interest it has already generated the project is going to evolve quickly.

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October 22, 2008

I have released a new version of FirePHP. You can download it here. It will also be available on the Mozilla Add-ons site in a few days.

The release includes 27 bug fixes and feature enhancements. The scope of this release was primarily focused on improving the current feature set in terms of usability, reliability and support for logging complex objects. You can find the changelog here.

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