Speed Up Firebug

I noticed recently that Firebug was running very slow whilst inspecting elements or debugging client-side scripts. In the past when noticing performance issues in Firefox, a straight-forward opening and closing the browser normally resolved any issues.

What I found after investigating this problem online is that Firebug keeps a record of all breakpoints and sites where Firebug was used. As you can imagine, this will accumulate over time. To remove all history, go to your Firefox profile directory which can be found here:

C:\Users\<Windows User Account Name>\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\<Firefox Profile ID>.default\firebug

You will find two files within Firebug folder directory:

  • annotations.json - contains a history of website browsing.
  • breakpoints.json - contains currently set breakpoints.

 

Close all running instances of Firefox and delete both files within the directory.

Judging by posts from other users online, there could be other contributing factors to Firebug's sluggishness at times. Hopefully, by carrying out the steps above you will notice a difference.

Minimise and Obfuscate Your JavaScript Code

Obfuscated Code (Google)

We all know minimising our JavaScript files prior to moving a site into a production environment is best practise. The main reason why we do it is because compressed JavaScript files allow sites run faster at a lower bandwidth cost and (to some extent) make the code harder to understand.

But what if we wanted to have the ability to render a JavaScript file completely unintelligible to prying eyes? This is the very question I asked myself prior to deploying a site I worked on to a live environment.

Even though standard JavaScript minimisers remove comments, white space and use shorter variable names, we can take things a step further.

I found a great site that manages to render your code into complete jibberish. You can give it a go by going to: http://javascriptobfuscator.com/.

NOTE: Just as JavaScript code can be easily minimised, it can just as easily be “beautified” by going to: http://jsbeautifier.org/. Nevertheless, using the link above is a better deterrent when compared to other minimisers in my opinion.

Google Analytics and Adsense Android App Alternatives

Being a Web Developer and owning my own website, I’m quite interested in seeing how my site is doing when I am not in the vicinity of my computer – mainly analytics and advertising revenue. Even though Google Analytics and Adsense provides me with really good information, I was interested in seeing if there were any alternatives in app form on Android.

To my surprise there were no official app alternatives for AdSense or Analytics. Thankfully, there are a few unofficial app's currently available to download free on the Android Market. Here are (in my opinion) the best ones:

gAnalytics

gAnalytics Screen Shot gAnalytics provides all the necessary types of stats you would require. Even though currently in beta, this hasn’t restricted the app in anyway and I haven’t experienced a single issue whilst using it. You have access to the following type of reporting (not a complete list):

  • Visitor stats –  pageviews, average time on site, bounce rate and new visitors.
  • Demographics – language, country and city.
  • System stats – browser, operating system, screen resolution and service provider.
  • Referral/Direct traffic.
  • Search Engine traffic – keyword and search query.
  • Content stats – page, search term and exit pages.

If that wasn’t enough, gAnalytics lets you retrieve statistics from a given date period.

To summarise, gAnalytics is a perfectly comprehensive and a brilliant all round app.

AdSense Dashboard

AdSense Dashboard ScreenshotI would say the AdSense offering in terms of reporting isn’t as comprehensive as gAnalytics. What AdSense Dashboard does do well is providing you with a heads-up view on all AdSense metrics, such as:

  • CPM
  • CTR
  • Page views
  • Clicks
  • Estimated revenue

Unfortunately, you don’t get an option to view AdSense metrics over a specific date period. Only today, this month and year to date.

AdSense Dashboard is a simple app giving you top-level on stats and revenue information over four different screens.

Stay out of trouble! Backup your files with RoboCopy

robocopyApologies for making a reference from the social-satire/sci-fi film that is RoboCop (1987) in my post title. It just had to be done when talking about some tool called RoboCopy. For those who aren’t aware of what RoboCopy is, where have you been? In all honesty, I myself never heard of it until a few days ago.

RoboCopy is a command-line run tool that allows you to copy files from one directory to another. One of its most popular uses for RoboCopy is it’s ability to copy large volumes of files quicker than carrying out a manual copy and paste through a GUI, making it ideal for backup jobs. So you could easily write a backup script to run via a Schedule Task on a daily basis.

I managed to backup around 80Gb of files in less than an hour. What’s even more impressive is that I could run numerous RoboCopy scripts at the same time. Currently, I have only run two scripts simultaneously just to be on the safe side.

Prior to RoboCopy, I was using another command-line tool: XCopy. For my backup purposes XCopy did exactly what I wanted it to do until I came across a misleading error message: “Insufficient memory”. You would think this message would mean the destination directory to where your files are copying to is full or not enough memory resources. In matter of fact this error only happens when the fully qualified file path is longer than 254 characters. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get around this error due to the nature of how my directories are structured. Luckily, RoboCopy doesn’t have this limitation.

One of the major strength’s of RoboCopy is the number of useful options you have at your disposal. A few example’s are:

  • Moving files.
  • Exclude certain files and file types.
  • Detailed logging that tells you new the files that have been copied or over-written.
  • Parameterised scripting.

Example Script

@ECHO OFF

ECHO PROCESSING BACKUP ...

robocopy \\work\Projects\ F:\Projects\Backup\ /mir /sl
/log:"F:\Logs\Projects-%date:/=%.log"

ECHO BACKUP COMPLETED!

 

The script I have provided is what I use to backup files through a Schedule Task that runs at the end of every day. This script mirrors the source drive exactly. So any files that have been deleted, updated or created will have the same effect on the backup drive. In addition, a log file is created when RoboCopy is running.

More Information

Time for a new chapter in my online presence

Moving blogAfter blogging under the “computing-studio.com” domain name for around 4 years, I think its time for a new chapter in my online presence. Last Friday I decided to buy a new domain name called surinder.me. At the time “computing-studio.com” domain seemed like a great idea where me and my fellow techy University friends would contribute. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out and decided to go it alone.

From looking at the number of blog posts I have written (95 at the time of writing), you would be forgiven to make the assumption that I am not the most persistent blogger. I believe the domain has a part to play. After all, “computing-studio.com” somewhat limits what I can write and doesn’t really give me the freedom to talk about things outside my technical field.

Even though I am a techy at heart (I guess being a web developer doesn’t help), I talk about other things non-code related through my Google+ and Twitter posts. I see having a new domain name is just the start. I am hoping to collate all my contributions from sites under the surinder.me address. So everything is about…well…me!

All exciting stuff! I am not looking forward to implementing all the redirects and having to work my way up Google’s page rank again. But its something that has to be done.

Watch this space!