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Firefox's New Multi-Line Console Editor is Awesome

yuanhao profile image YuanHao Chiang Updated on ・2 min read

Firefox may no longer be the go-to browser for most developers.

However, those of us who were present in the First Browser War in the 90's remember Firefox —originally named Phoenix, born from the ashes of Netscape— as a strong contender for the Heavyweight Championship.

(spoiler alert: Firefox lost)

I still use Firefox (simultaneously with Chrome) since it has a special place in my heart, plus many nifty features that keep me coming back.

In particular, I am in love with their new multi-line editor:

Firefox's Multi-line Editor

To toggle it, find a tiny button hidden on the upper right corner of the console:

Shortcut for multi-line console

Ctrl+B (Cmd+B) will also work... if you still have any room in your brain to memorize one more shortcut

It was introduced last December and as a heavy console user (read: someone who is lazy to run node locally more often than not), it is a feature that caught my attention right away.

Here it is in action:

Multi-line Editor in Action


I am not ashamed to say that I need to review how to use Array.reduce() every two weeks.


Shortcuts are your allies here, Ctrl+Enter (Cmd+Enter) runs the code snippet and Ctrl+Shift+K (Cmd+K) clears the console.

So what does it do that Chrome doesn't?

I mostly use the console to make sure that I test Stack Overflow answers properly (pro-tip: posting wrong answers on Stack Overflow will send your reputation down south very quickly).

If you use Chrome's console and need to edit a function or a snippet multiple times, you will need to juggle between Enter and Shift+Enter, something I don't find particularly pleasant.

You can also do multi-line snippets on Chrome creating a new snippet, or through third-party extensions, but so far I prefer Firefox's UI.

I have been using the console to run Leetcode exercises quickly, since their editor takes a bit of time to compile, and Firefox's multi-line editor is perfect for that.

In the end, Chrome satisfies my browsing and developer needs, but I am happy to see the latest trend in innovation and privacy from Mozilla.

Do you still use Firefox? Are there any features that keep you from forever uninstalling it? Let me know in the comments: 👇


👋👋 Follow me on Twitter if you enjoyed this post! I've been hiding under a rock for the last 10 years and I just joined Twitter. I would be happy to connect :)

Discussion

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rhymes profile image
rhymes

The new console is nice indeed!

My favorite features I use everyday are:

  • containers
  • send tab to device
  • enhanced tracking protection

Also love the new picture in picture capabilities.

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yuanhao profile image
YuanHao Chiang Author

Containers are amazing and overall FF is doing a great job with its privacy settings. It really helps that it's not tied to any of the giants of advertising 🥳

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rhymes profile image
rhymes

It really helps that it's not tied to any of the giants of advertising 🥳

Kinda 👀

In 2013 most of Mozilla revenue came from the search advertising deal they did with Google (and other partners). Basically they had to put Google as a default search engine in exchange for money: computerworld.com/article/2850881/... - same in 2016.

According to the latest available report, from 2018, they still have a sizable portion of their revenue coming from those deals:

Today, the majority of Mozilla Corporation revenue is generated from global browser search partnerships, including the deal negotiated with Google in 2017 following Mozilla’s termination of its search agreement with Yahoo/Oath (which was the subject of litigation the parties resolved in 2019.)

By looking at the audited financial statement [pdf] you will notice that out of 450 millions in revenue, 429 of those come from those deals (look at "royalties"), so roughly 95%. Don't know how much of that is strictly from Google but I bet it is the majority.

So yeah, Mozilla kinda depends on giants of advertising to survive.

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yuanhao profile image
YuanHao Chiang Author

Yes, fully aware of that, but at least they are not one owned by the other one. If in ten years DuckDuckGo is the most used and profitable search engine (hey, one can dream!), I'm sure it will be easier for Mozilla to set it as its default engine as compared to Chrome.

You bring good points and in the end, money is pretty much the ultimate deal breaker.

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jvdassen profile image
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yuanhao profile image
YuanHao Chiang Author

Nice, didn't know about it, going to try it right now :)

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sandural profile image
黎紫珊

Snippets in Chrome can debugger, but firefox can't.

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vitorneves profile image
Vitor Neves

What do you mean by multi-line editor? What it does that you couldn't do it before? Ifcan add new lines pressing shit+enter. Besides that you have the Scratchpad

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yuanhao profile image
YuanHao Chiang Author

This editor will let you keep your snippet, whereas on Chrome after any expression (say, defining a function), the code will disappear.

I find it more pleasing to be able to see multiple expressions instead of just the last one and needing to use the up arrow to browse through them, but only when editing big chunks of code. For the usual, the console is just fine :)

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kalamun profile image
Roberto Pasini

Unlike Chrome, Firefox is open-source.

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robert197 profile image
Robert

Chrome has this since longer time