Aardvark (the Firefox extension, not the movie)

By Deane Barker on December 5, 2005

Aardvark Firefox Extension: It’s a good week for me and aardvarks. First I watch the movie, and now I find the Firefox extension.

Ever wanted to print a page, but it was all crapped up? There’s stuff everywhere, and the text goes halfway off the page when it’s printed, and you end up just copying everything into a text file?

That happened to me the other day — I wanted to print that big discussion about content management, but when I printed it, the content was a little ribbon of text between big gutters of whitespace and took three times as much paper as it should have.

Install Aardvark. Right-click anywhere on the page and click “Start Aardvark.” You can now hover over elements and they highlight along with a little tab that shows their tag name and CSS class and ID (see the image above).

  • Want to get rid of the element? Press “R” and — poof — it’s removed from the DOM.
  • Want to widen it? Press “D” and all width information is removed from the element (doesn’t usually do much unless you’ve deleted stuff around the element to give it room to expand).
  • Press “B” to strip color from it (make it black on white).
  • Press “I” to delete everything else but the element.
  • Press “C” to change the background to a random color, which is a great way to visualize the boundaries of various objects on the page.
  • The coolest effect? Press “V” for a pop-up with all the source code of the element, nicely formatted.

Not only does it make printing easier, but it’s as handy for Web development as the much-valued Web Developer toolbar, and that’s saying something.

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Comments

  1. Such a great extension! It wouldn’t work for me on the release candidates so I ended up going without it for weeks. Man, did I ever miss it. I didn’t realize how much I rely on it while building sites.

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