Nathan Howard Nathan is a developer at IDRSolutions, focusing mainly on the development of HTML5 and Form support for the online PDF converter. He was a speaker and exhibitor at JavaOne 2013, co-presenting a session titled 'Lessons Learned from Using GlassFish with NetBeans". Nathan also enjoys writing technical blog-articles.

Optimizing Mozilla Firefox for Developers – The Tricks

2 min read

Part Two (The Tricks)

This article is part two of a two-part series about how to optimise Mozilla Firefox. Part Two (The Tricks) is all about the need-to-know tips that every developer should be aware of. Click here for Part One (The tools).

At IDR Solutionson the odd occasion we get requests from customers to fix some subtle bugs that have occurred during converting from PDF to HTML5, having a fast browser and the right tools greatly increases the speed at which we can detect what the problem is and fix it.

Quick Links:

  1. The Cache
  2. God Mode
  3. Addons
  4. Update

The Cache

Having a bloated Cache can cause all kinds of problems, especially regarding your private data. Clearing your cache, history and cookies can vastly increase your performance speeds. If you’re having trouble displaying data on the page (images, fonts etc) or having trouble connecting to a website, then this is your first port of call!

To clear your cache, goto the orange Firefox button in the top left of the screen, expand “History” and press “Clear Recent History”. Or press Cntrl + Shift + Delete. Now select Cookies, Cache, Browsing & Download History, Form & Search History. Now press “Clear Now” button.

cache

God Mode

One of the great things about Firefox is that it allows you (after ignoring some sincere warnings) to edit the working variables of the software from within the browser configuration window. Editing these variables allows you to customize how your browser operates, and what we want, is for it to operate faster! So first step, type About:config into the URL field of your Firefox Browser. You will presented with the following message :

warranty

Step 1 : Increase Pipelining

First thing we need todo is enable Pipelining, todo this type “network.http.pipelining” in the Search field at the top of the browser, the default value should be false, if it’s false then change it to true by double clicking. Now we’ve enabled Pipelining we can move on…

maxrequestsTrue

In the Search field at the top of your browser window type “network.http.pipelining.maxrequests”. This variable allows Firefox to request data through ‘x’ different channels. We’re going to change this value from it’s default to 32. Meaning data can now be requested from 32 different channels!

maxrequests

Step 2 : Disable Animations

You may not think there’s much animation in the Firefox Browser but you’ll be surprised, disabling animations can really improve the speed of the user interface. However you are sacrificing eye candy for performance, if you want every inch of performance out of your browser then in the Search bar at the top of the browser window type in “browser.tabs.animate” and change it to false by double clicking.

animate

Step 3 : Increase Persistent Connections Per-Server

This variable allows you to open more connections on the server side, by default it is set to a low value to allow Firefox to download at a steady speed. However, when it comes to streaming video or downloading certain “ISP blocked content” files then it will ensure you have a more stable and faster connection. Todo this, in the Search field at the top of your browser window, type “network.http.max-persistent-connections-per-server” and change this variable to 12.

persistentconnections

Add-Ons

If you’re like me, and just press next, next, I agree to giving away my soul, next, finish… Then you may find your browser a little cluttered with unwanted tool-bars and add-ons. These plugins all slow down your browser, admittedly there are many plugins which are vital to developers, but having 5 different search toolbars and three different colour pickers, do we really need it? Removing these will increase your browser performance so get removing! To remove your Plugins/Addons simply navigate to the big orange Firefox button in the top left of your browser window, click the Add-ons button and navigate between Extensions and Plugins, disable or remove to your hearts content!

addons

 Update!

It’s important to have your browser up to date, this is not only for security reason (as each new release generally fixes another security hole which black-hats are using to drip-feed) but also for a performance boost. Each update will be improving the browser code quality and making using of the latest techniques to get the most out of your systems memory.

update

Check out Part One (The Tools) where I looked at the must-have plugins that any developer should have in their Firefox toolbox.

Are there any tips/tricksyou use that I missed? Let us know by commenting below!

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Nathan Howard Nathan is a developer at IDRSolutions, focusing mainly on the development of HTML5 and Form support for the online PDF converter. He was a speaker and exhibitor at JavaOne 2013, co-presenting a session titled 'Lessons Learned from Using GlassFish with NetBeans". Nathan also enjoys writing technical blog-articles.

2 Replies to “Optimizing Mozilla Firefox for Developers – The Tricks”

  1. Thank for the post.
    I use another firefox just for debug in my linux box:
    $ firefox -P –no-remote #create new profile eg. “debug”
    $ xterm -e firefox -P debug –no-remote # console so that it show debug info (eg. java/adobe/flash plugin)

    install a theme with ladyBug (ha!) image , just to make it visually different
    install this post’s addons plus webDeveloper, firebug,etc
    config firefox to clear history/cache on exit
    Thats it! Hope it is useful ๐Ÿ™‚ Unrelated but interesting: visit stopeg.com

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