I broke Firefox!

In my last post I attempted to make a simple change to Firefox. Allow an option to select a new tab to open your home page, or a blank page.

I said what I’ve accomplished. I’ve found the spot in the code where a new tab is created, and change it to load anything I wanted based on code hard coded right into the code.

Today, I added a simple confirm box, that asked if you wanted to load your homepage (which at this point was just “google.ca”) The box appeared, but the page was no longer loaded. It was not working, so I removed the code I added, and reloaded it again, which broke it more. Now, when I load a new tab, it loads the tab as a blank page with the same address fromthe first page writting in the new tabs address box, and if you chage a new tabs address, and hit enter, the original tab loads that page. I highly doubt this is a desired feature :P.

It’s because when you’re stuck on a problem, you usually have to learn something new to solve it, but it isn’t always what you think it is. For example, first step is to understand the problem, second is to get an idea or some direction for what the solution could be, this is usually an abstract idea of sorts, usually has nothing to do with code, just an idea. Like “If I could do this, or bypass this, it would solve the problem”. Then, you research your solution, see if it’s already been solved by someone, if not, see how it’s done (it’s always possible), implement it (this is the coding part (notice how it’s only one step in the process (for me anyway))), then debug it. This is assuming your idea or solution is the right one, sometimes it’s not, but you still learned loads from dead ends. Anyway, this happens a lot, and can happen in a short period of time, then when you discover an answer, you notice you answered the wrong question. This can break code. You can find later, something you tried that did not work, that you forgot to remove, and it’s breaking the code. This is what I think I did. So now, instead of combing through 2000 lines of code trying to get it to a working state, I’m just going to start again with a fresh build (that’s good practice too, as I learned that when you first clone Firefox, you can specify the name of the directory it will go in, not a big deal, but it’s the little things you learn that are the most fascinating sometimes).

I was recently asked in an interview how I go about solving a problem, and well, I don’t feel like I gave a complete answer as I was not prepared and answered it best and honest as I could on the fly, well, that last paragraph was the whole answer 😛

I’ve been stumped on this homepage part, and on my last blog another student has given me a useful like I’m going to poke around in, see what I turn up. Reading code seems to be the most time consuming process right now.


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