IE Alternatives to Firebug

Warning This article was written over six months ago, and may contain outdated information.

Update: This is an old post and the information is a little out of date. Internet Explorer now comes with a very decent set of developer tools.

Firefox is very likely the browser of choice for many web developers, and with one very good reason: Firebug, which is, IMHO, hands-down the most important web development tool around. Seriously, if you haven’t tried Firebug, you’re probably wasting a lot of development time.

It’s so good, Yahoo! have created a full-time position just to develop it. I saw a little preview during Nate Koechley’s talk at @media 2007; they’ve built a plug-in architecture, of which the first is probably going to be a page load analyser. It’s an IDE in itself — and it’s a free plugin!

Now, my personal opinion of Internet Explorer aside, I do appreciate the effort their team is making to engage the development community. In a new blog post they’ve listed a series of development tools and plugins for developers, so if you’re in the unfortunate position of having to develop in IE (or, perhaps, you are just a bit weird and choose to do so), you can experience a small sample of the Firebug goodness. Doesn’t beat the real thing, though.

17 comments on
“IE Alternatives to Firebug”

  1. Hi,

    I’m finding for alternatives of FireBug to use with Internet Explorer and found this very useful. Now, I’m working with Internet Explorer Developer Toolbar and very interesting to try those IEWatch and DebugBar as linked from your post.

    Thanks again,
    Seree W.

  2. That was a nice tip. Thanks for the page.

  3. Fiddler Tool from Microsoft. There’s nothing better that has native IE support right now.

    Royce Walters [March 6th, 2008, 18:09]

  4. Fiddler and DebugBar get me most of the way there when bug fixing in IE.

    It’s amazing to thing of a time before Firebug, I positively evangelise it to all new/young dev’s I meet. Saves so much time in the long run.

    That being said, Safari is lagging on this front, the Develop option in the tool bar is woefully underspecced.

    Nice post.

  5. This is informative, exactly what I was looking for.
    I have the unfortunate task of tracking a bug in ie,

    I miss firebug already!

  6. WTF are you guys talking about Fiddler is nothing like Firebug. Please use a product and know what it does before you talk about it.

  7. Actually I choose to develop in IE because, hey guess what, it’s still the most widely used browser out there. Perhaps if you just dabble in web development you can afford to have some kind of moral objection to IE. Since I do this to generate income, I’ll cater to the largest customer base, thanks.

  8. I find it easier to debug in firebug that the ie equivalent. Unfortunatley I still have lots of users using ie6 instead of ie7.

  9. @ PAT (7): I completely agree that IE is still the dominant browser and we shouldn’t ignore it; however, developing in IE has a major drawback: there are a lot of bugs in its interpretation of web standards. This could cause problems when a more standards-compliant browser engine — like, hopefully, IE8 — becomes the most-used.

    Better to code for standards in Firefox (or your choice of alternative), then make exceptions in conditional comments for IE. Much less risk of seeing your site behave strangely in future.

  10. I feel its best to cater for all browsers rather than just 1. I mainly use firefox and firebug but you want your app to work cross browser. which is why debugging in IE is required really if you want happy customers

  11. Matthew is right (so is the article author), as a professional developer, you need to ensure your work is correct across all browsers. I run multiple instances of ie (5 – 7), firefox, safari and opera on the QA PC and similar on the mac.

    All development work is done in firefox and checked in ie and safari as work gets completed, not just because of firebug and the many other development tools that make for a smoother workflow, but because it follows w3c standards much more closely than ie.

    If your markup/code is inline with standards, then the differences across other browsers can be isolated much easier and faster than developing in ie and trying to get that looking good in firefox.

    Just because ie is still considered by many to be the most widely used browser doesn’t mean you should do your dev work in it.

    Gerard Finnerty [January 23rd, 2009, 22:01]

  12. has anyone tried the firebug ‘lite’ script that is recommended on the firebug site? any thoughts?

  13. Internet Explorer Developer Toolbar is already lunched:

  14. Opera Dragonfly or Developer Tools for Opera browser are much better.

  15. @HELLAS — yeah — that’s great for supporting the 8 people visiting your site who still use Opera.

  16. The simplest way to debug javascript in Internet explorer IE+, Safari and the other browsers is to insert the following code to your html file, before any other script, in the head:

    <script type="text/javascript" src=""></script>

    this will start firebug lite, no mater of used browser and it always start the latest version of firebug.

    Just remember to remove the code when the script is debuged!

  17. And yes, for those that hate internet explorer developer menus menu here is a video i made, how to remove it