Introducing DevTools Reload

As a way to encourage more open source developers to contribute to the evolution of Firefox Developer Tools, the DevTools team has built DevTools Reload, an add-on that removes some common barriers to entry.

It’s not unusual for mature Open Source projects to have large code bases. This can act as a barrier to entry for new contributors. It might feel as though so much code is going to take a long time to learn, so even if the best way to get started is by fixing simple bugs, the task can seem overwhelming due to the size of the code base.

Another challenge with large code bases is that they often take a great deal of time to download and compile, which further discourages new contributors from taking part. Even if someone decides to dive in at this point, long recompile times after making simple changes can discourage even the most patient of developers.

DevTools Reload allows developers to make changes to the JavaScript and CSS source files, and by pressing a short-cut key combination, automatically reload the tools with all the new changes. Firefox thinks the tools should be hackable just like the Web.

This approach is convenient for making simple fixes to Firefox dev tools, and provides almost instant feedback to the developer who is making the change, allowing for quick iteration and experimentation on possible solutions.

Here’s a short screencast showing how to install the add-on on Firefox Nightly and demonstrating the feature. Or, if you prefer the written word, we also have some guidance on how to get started.

This feature is fairly new, and is still under development, so you might find rough edges and inconsistencies. Please file bugs if you find something doesn’t quite work as you expect it, or get in touch. You can follow the DevTools team (@firefoxdevtools) for more updates. Make sure to submit your contributions to the tools through bugzilla.

View full post on Mozilla Hacks – the Web developer blog

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One thought on “Introducing DevTools Reload

  1. Colby Russell

    When the devtools team first decided to go off into their own corner and start working on a new inspector, I tried getting them to keep it separable instead of baking it into Firefox for exactly this reason, and others. It’s good that this is happening now, even if it’s late.

    Now we just need to do the same for the Firefox UI, so that contributors don’t have to build all of Gecko before starting to make changes.

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