Like most developers I have always used firebug in Mozilla Firefox to debug web applications. Why? Because it’s an awesome tool. However, this morning I thought for some reason that I should take a look at the development debugging tools that was included in Safari 4. I’ve noticed that Safari 4 is recognizably faster than Firefox, and I’ve always found it difficult choosing a browser for testing. The reason was that if I needed the console I felt I had to use Firefox, but if I just needed to check some functionality I preferred Safari for its speed.
So what was my revelation? Simply put, Safari has a great built in developer tool. It’s located under the ‘Develop’ menu at the top. This menu is not enabled by default, so if you don’t see it go to Preferences > Advanced and check the bottom box labeled ‘Show Develop Menu in menu bar’. Once you have your menu you’ll see your development tools. The main one to focus on is the ‘Show Web Inspector’ item. This is where the bulk of your development tools are located. I’m not going to run through the features. There are plenty of blogs out there that do this.
One thing though that I would like to mention, just because I had a little trouble finding it, is the console. Unlike Firebug, it’s not located on the top menu bar. Instead look for a small button in the lower left corner of the tool. There are three buttons here, one of them opens the console. It’s the one with a greater than sign and three horizontal lines. Clicking this will open your console. So if you run a cfc via cfajaxproxy your call to the method will show up here. If you click it you will be taken to the resources panel where you can see your response and parameters and so forth.
Is it a better tool? Don’t know. I just opened it this morning. My guess is that like most applications there’s a time and place for both Firebug and the Safari Developer tool.
Last thing I’ll mention is that I like the design. I stare at text files all day. I think that getting to see all those nice colors and transparencies and rounded corners will help brighten my day a little. Are they necessary for debugging? Probably not. But, hey, I’m only human.