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The folks on the IE team announced the availability of the beta of a new toolbar for IE geared towards web developers. Taking their cue almost directly from Chris Pederick, developer of the popular Web Developer extention for Firefox, the new tool has plenty of features that are remarkably similar to its competitor, but also some new handy ones.
Keeping in mind that the toolbar is clearly in beta, it's worth a look from any developer who's been frustrated by issues that plague IE6. Let's go over the pros and cons. I should note that while I try not to be, I am somewhat biased against IE due to years of frustration during the development of numerous sites. I'll try to stay objective.
It exists! The fact that they listened and created the thing is enough to make me shout for joy at the top of my lungs. I use the Firefox extension everyday and have always groaned when trying to figure out some inane bug rearing its ugly head in IE without an equivalent tool.
One of my immediate favorite features is the Show Ruler tool. This performs similarly to the MeasureIt extension for Firefox developed by Kevin Freitas but with a few more useful features. Enabling the ruler tool allows you to draw a line with tickmarks, x- and y-coordinates of the start and end points in relation to the window, and the length. You're able to enable or disable snapping to elements or the X/Y axes, tick marks, end points, and choose from four colors of lines for those darker layouts you may be developing. You can also snap to the axes by holding Shift. Hold Ctrl, and create multiple rulers. You can also adjust rulers you've already drawn by dragging end points, or moving the entire ruler. Values will be adjusted accordingly. Nice features there.
The DOM viewer. Again, similar to Firefox's DOM Inspector feature, this tool allows you to just what it says: view the DOM. You can traverse throughout the document tree and see the properties along with the styles for each element. You're also able to edit some of the properties for each element and view them in real time. Unless I missed something, I don't think this is possible in Firefox. This could come in handy in a variety of ways.
These pros are the ones that I consider advantages over the Web Developer extension for Firefox. All the other features are definitely pros simply becuase they exist as I mentioned earlier.
Again, keeping in mind that it's only in beta, these cons may be resolved by the final release and are more observations and suggestions than cons but they fit the pro/con bill so I'm calling them that.
<h1>is a tag. The set of tags such as
<h1></h1>is called an element. If we're striving to make web developers happy here, use the correct terminology.
That's all I can think of for now after giving it a once-over. I may update this list as I discover some more things. Overall, I'm thrilled that there is a toolbar like this for IE. I know there was the Web Accessibility toolbar but I never liked that and it never did everything I wanted. It also seemed to mangle how some pages were displayed in the browser. I could never pinpoint what caused this and it may be fixed by now but it was enough to deter me from using it. For one of the first times in a long time, I say "Good job" to the IE team for this tool. That it works on IE 6 instead of just being an IE 7 feature is a very smart move. I look forward to the final version.
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