Remote Debugging in Firefox Mobile

March 28, 2012

As you probably know by now, the DevTools team got together here in London last week. I attended their work week with the specific mission of getting remote debugging to work on Firefox Mobile (a.k.a Fennec).

The result? I wrote a couple of patches that allow you to debug JavaScript code from web pages running on Firefox Mobile. You can add breakpoints, step through your JS code, track the call stack and variable values from the experimental script debugger in Firefox’s Nightly build on desktop.

The script debugger uses the remote debugging protocol to send commands to Fennec via network. You have to connect your Android device to your computer via USB and map a localhost port using the follow adb command:

adb forward tcp:6000 tcp:6000

This will map port 6000 on your computer with the same TCP port on your mobile device. There’s no UI in the script debugger to connect to a remote Firefox instance yet but the DevTools team already have a patch series adding that. My patches simply implement the necessary actors that expose all browser tabs to the script debugger.

Remote debugging is especially important for mobile web developers. They need a way to easily tweak pages on the mobile device and see the results instantly. Right now, the remote debugging protocol only allows you to debug JavaScript code but  the long-term goal is to allow web developers to do much more: injecting code, inspecting DOM nodes, tweaking CSS rules, etc.

As you can see, there’s a lot of exciting work in progress here and many patches about to land in our repositories very soon. Stay tuned!

Latest posts

New tablet UI for Firefox on Android December 03, 2014
Joining Facebook November 27, 2014
Leaving Mozilla November 26, 2014
Probing with Gradle October 07, 2014
New Features in Picasso September 23, 2014