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Saturday, 3 April 2010

Firefox Firebug and 'Page Speed'

The title of this post may not mean anything to most bloggers, and, like me, if you have heard of Firefox Firebug and Page Speed, you'll never fully understand them. Google doesn't help, either. When they produce their facts pages, they've designed for IT specialists, not the common blogger. I tried reading it, but gave up. This post is not a tutorial, but more of an intro to two great add-ons. You can do the reading, if you wish.

If you run Firefox Browser, and I can not think of one reason why not, chances are that you've heard of Firebug, maybe you've never seriously considered using it, or you use it in some limited form. I have it on my Mozilla Firefox add-ons, and I use it to check-out page html - sort of like View Page Selection etc.

My mate, Nitecruzr, always gets me to load, and use, various products, so I can learn a little more (I'm sure he is often frustrated with me), but they are all great - especially the security products which I use - like NoScript. (I am going to get better at them, I promise).

Firebug sits at the bottom of your screen, in your Status Bar. like a good dog on the bottom of your bed, until you want it. When you are viewing any page from any site, and you want to look deeper at it, you can use Firebug. Just click on it and select your requirements.

If you get a Feed from Blogger Buzz, you'll have seen this report on Auto-Pagination, (which I wrote this intro to/about, some time ago), and now its successful results, so far, are being reported. For me? I think it's great. You? Welcome to your opinion, but, let me tell you that unless you have a dirty-big, fat, Broadband budget, page loading time is critical - and can be expensive. In the 'old' days, when I first started serious blogging, I was on Dial-up, and went through my allotment of Mbs quickly, each month. Serious bucks, too, those days. It's not so much cheaper, now, either, but Broadband is more accessible in more areas.

Anyway, now that they are focusing deeply on ways to cut-down on the Server-load, Google is now aware of many areas that can slow-down page-loading. For example, one area in particular, is the use of JavaScript in our blogs - you know, the html/JavaScript gadgets we love to add in their hundreds to our sidebars? Yes, them. They will slow down the page-loading, so Google is looking into it.

This is what Google1 says -

"... One area we’re looking at is third-party JavaScript. We remain one of the few blogging services to allow users unlimited ability to add JavaScript to their pages — but that flexibility comes at a cost. These JavaScript widgets often add several seconds to page loads — even on fast Internet connections".

One of the ways you can check on how your page is loading is to do a speed check using Page Speed - via your newly added Firefox Firebug add-on.

Page Speed installation is available on the following platforms:
  • Mac OS X (x86 only)
  • Linux (32-bit and 64-bit)
  • Windows (XP and up)


  • Mozilla Firefox 3.5 and higher
  • Firebug Firefox Add-on 1.4.2 and higher

Here's what it looks like in action -

I just opened up a couple of my blogs, clicked on Firebug (to which I had already downloaded the Page Speed add-on already), and selected Page Speed. Now, as to understanding its full use and potential, that will take me time. It even gives you a score - how your blog is doing!

I did, however, check out a few of the High Priority Performance Issues. One of them was this:

" Found 6 CSS expressions. CSS expressions should not be used because they degrade rendering performance in Internet Explorer."

Well, when I investigated further, I found that the CSS issues were related to Friend Connect. Now, I ask you - and Google - how can I do anything about Friend Connect, without deleting my Follower Gadget? Mmm?

Still, Page Speed and Firebug are great add-on options to have at your service. Page-loading is a serious matter and, if I can load someone's site a second faster, then its worth it!

Check them out!

1. Blogger Buzz


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