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Web Inspector Developer Survival Guide

Let's say, we don't like red color for CSS property names. We want to change it to purple.

Inspect The Inspector

Run Safari or WebKit Nightly build. Open Web Inspector.

We can edit inspectorSyntaxHightlinght.css in our favorite code editor, but we cannot make patch from it. After next update inspectorSyntaxHighlight.css will be overwritten and our changes disappeared.

Create / Update a Bug Report

It will benefit both you and the usual Web Inspector developers if you create or comment on a bug report for the feature or fix you intend to work on. A "Bug" report is for all code changes, this include fixes, issues, and ideas for new features.

This step is very important, because your update will automatically notiy the regular Web Inspector developers. This will allow them to immediately provide you with some feedback, and pointers / guidance for solving the issue or adding the feature!

Now Do Your Hacking

  1. Using Git with WebKit
    git clone git://
    cd WebKit
    git branch purple_css_values
    git checkout purple_css_values
  1. Build WebKit
    WebKitTools/Scripts/build-webkit --debug
    [Do we really need --debug flag here?]

First build takes ≈40 minutes.

  1. Run it
    WebKitTools/Scripts/run-safari --debug
  1. Edit WebCore/inspector/front-end/inspectorSyntaxHighlight.css within a git repository.
  1. There are two options:
    1. Copy files files from WebCore/inspector/front-end/ to the build by running WebKitTools/Scripts/build-webkit --debug --inspector-frontend. Do it after every time you modify Inspector's files.
    2. Make a symlink
      rm -rf WebKitBuild/Debug/WebCore.framework/Resources/inspector
      ln -s WebCore/inspector/front-end/ WebKitBuild/Debug/WebCore.framework/Resources/inspector
  1. Edit inspectorSyntaxHighlight.css.

A tip: You can reload Web Inspector just like regular web page (Cmd+R on Mac, Ctrl+R on Windows and Linux).

  1. Commit
    git status WebCore/inspector/front-end/
    git diff WebCore/inspector/front-end/
    git commit WebCore/inspector/front-end/`
  1. ChangeLogs
    WebKitTools/Scripts/prepare-ChangeLog --help
    WebKitTools/Scripts/prepare-ChangeLog --bug xxxxx --git-commit HEAD
    git commit WebCore/ChangeLog

Instead of xxxxx you should put bug number, like 32926.

  1. Make a patch
    git diff master..HEAD > purple_css_values.patch
  1. Submit a patch and wait for a review!

If you have any questions there are always people willing to help. Just jump onto IRC and visit #webkit or #webkit-inspector.

Parts of the tutorial was taken from Quick Hacking on the Web Inspector.

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