Viewing the DOM Source with Firefox

I’ll be the first to admit that blogging about not-so-obvious features in software isn’t always cool, unless that happens to be your thing. However, I somehow missed this (almost) amazing functionality in Firefox until just now.

When modifying the Document Object Model (DOM) with Javascript or ECMAScript it can be frustrating trying to visualize the difference in page structure between what the browser ultimately sees and renders, and what the unmodified ‘View Source’ function shows you. There have been Bookmarklets that do the job, however Firefox has the ability to do this natively.

When you highlight something in a page, right-click that selection and click ‘View Selection Source’. Voila, you have the ability to view the modified DOM source!

Ideally Firefox should have another button for the DOM source without you having to highlight everything, but this does give you the ability to highlight only the portion of the page you’re interested in. Also, I don’t know why this isn’t an option in the otherwise amazing Web Developer toolbar.

Thanks to Jeremy Fujimoto-Johnson for pointing this out in a comment on the above-linked NCZOnline site.

Update 2006-01-05: Hooray! The just-updated version of the Web Developer toolbar greatly improved all menus including a new “View Generated Source” function.

Archived Comments

I never knew that. Now it will be 100 times easier to write my AJAX apps. Thanks!
Jeremy Fujimoto-Johnson
You may be interested in the fairly new extension FireBug. It has nice DOM browsing functionality and shows a decent view of the DOM source.
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