Web developing with firefox in a corporate environment
This post is basically a summary of settings, which I apply to a fresh install of firefox on a company PC to prepare it for some web development and make it basically usable in the environment.
I like to use the developer edition of firefox. This is mainly based on the desire to have the latest and greatest bits and to have the feeling that I could do web dev any minute. Of corse, the normal edition is just as good, maybe more stable (had no issues so far on the developer editon so far!) but lacks some weeks behind in features. Pick what feels right for you.
The download is the actual first road block for me. The initial download needs to be an offline installer, because the admin account on my company PC has no download rights. I usally google for
firefox developer edition offline installer. Surprisingly, this download is not linked directly but is only findable through a support page. The linked page lists the firefox developer edition offline installers in all available language. I usually pick english even although it is not my native language. Usually the english version of a piece of software yields english error messages and searching on the web for english error message usually yields better results after all.
My company allows internet access only through an intrusive man-in-the-middle proxy server. So the first step after installing firefox is to setup the proxy server and to install its certificate as a trusted certificate authority in the browser. Search the settings for proxy and certificate.
My installation does not allow NTLM authorization by default. I am not sure whether this is the real default, but to enable the Windows auth i open about:config, search for ntlm and enable the setting
network.automatic-ntlm-auth.allow-non-fqdn. This allows ntlm for all “domains” without dots in it (=server names). If you have fully qualified server names in your environment, you can put a comme seperated list into
I regularly work with servers or loadbalancers by entering their name in the address bar. You have to be thoughtful to really access them and not search their name on google. Their is a setting in about:config, which helps with that:
browser.fixup.dns_first_for_single_words. If you enable this, the browser will always interpret single words as a server name instead of googling them. It will only revert to a google search if you enter more than one word. I find this setting really useful!
Firefox is not needed for developing in any way but it makes my life so much easier. After setting up Firefox sync by logging into it, I provide a meaningful name to the firefox installation at hand. After that, it is easy to send tabs or links to other devices. If I am browsing the web for example at home and find something useful at work, I don’t have to fallback to mailing links. I select send tab to device and select the firefox at work. Next morning at work, the tab opens on its own and I can do whatever I want with it.
I am also able to open a tab on this machine which I have open on another instance of firefox on another machine. This is kind of a pull tab. The browsing history, some settings and plugins are also synced. It also works with firefox mobile on android. You should try it!
Do you have feedback or some more tips to tweak firefox for company web dev? let me know!