Chapter 5. Developer Tools

Hacks 40–46: Introduction

This chapter is devoted to tools for web developers. More than anyone else, developers of web sites and web applications know the limitations of the medium. Browsers are optimized for viewing and interacting, not authoring. Yet the browser is where the web developer is forced to work.

Recent advances in web technology have made these limitations even clearer. Developers can no longer rely on tried and true methods of tablebased layouts. Now it’s all CSS, with page styles scattered through hundreds of different rules in several different files. Likewise, web forms can’t just be submitted anymore. For the best user experience, you need to submit data in the background with XMLHttpRequest and refresh the page without reloading it.

Does this make for a better Web? Undoubtedly. Does it make the browser a better web development environment? Not a chance.

The hacks in this chapter have helped me in my own web development projects. I hope they help you, too.

Remove All Page Styles on Selected Sites

Disable all CSS styling on sites that go out of their way to make themselves unreadable.

Firefox has options to ignore fonts and colors defined on web pages, buried behind the Colors button in the Preferences window. These are global settings, and they affect every site you visit until you go back to the preferences dialog and change them. They’re also deceptively incomplete; disabling page fonts will affect which font is used, but Firefox will still ...

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