We have good and bad news. The bad: Joe Hewitt wil not attend FOSDEM 2007. The good news: Firebug 1.0 stable is released. That's why we didn't want to keep back this interview from you. It was performed at the time when Joe was right in the middle of the release process for Firebug 1.0 - his versatile web developer's tool.
We also took the opportunity to poke Joe for some info on Parakey, his all-secret software company.
I wanted to talk briefly about the philosophies that drove Firebug's development and then run through a series of mini-tutorials that illustrate how to get the most out of Firebug.
The name wasn't meant to be taken literally, any more than Firefox was meant to be the name of a tool for igniting furry red canines.
The community is still taking shape. I'm seeing certain names appear more and more frequently in the Firebug forums, and it's exciting to imagine some of those people making larger and larger contributions over time.
The state of web development tools is awful, and the quality of the web itself reflects that. I like money as much as the next guy, but what I really want is a more usable, better performing web. I decided to make Firebug free so that every web developer on Earth has easy access to information they can use to make better websites.
Donations have been ok. I'm hoping that soon they add up to enough [to] cover a summer intern to come in and work on some of the most requested features.
Mozilla has been very supportive of Firebug. On the day they added Firebug to the list of recommended extensions on addons.mozilla.org, downloads more than quadrupled and have not dropped since.
There is definitely a vision for Firebug 2.0. The theme of the next version will be extensibility. Firebug 1.0 lets people debug the aspects of a web page that are common to everyone, but Firebug 2.0 will let people debug aspects that may be specific to their application or a particular web framework.
I wish I could, but it's still a little too early.
This interview is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Belgium License.