OnSwipe redirect code

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Getting the size of an already loaded page (from cache) in a Firefox extension.

Today this question came up in the IRC (moznet, #extdev). One of the add-on developers wanted to get the size of the page, either bytes or number of characters. The most obvious thing that came to my mind was progress listeners for definitive answers or the content length from the channel for not so critical scenario. But then he said he wants it for an already loaded page. And he further said that the information is already there somewhere as it is shown by the Page Info dialog (Right Click on a web page and select View Page Info). He was indeed right. Somebody in the code is already going through the trouble of calculating the data size and we can just re-use that. And I immediately started the quest to find that out.

As usual to figure out any browser component I opened up DOM Inspector. That tool is improving, which was against my earlier perception (Sorry Shawn Wilsher), though the highlighting part is still screwed up. Nevertheless, locating that particular label "Size" and the textbox in front of it containing the value was not difficult at all. I got the "id" of the textbox containing the size value. (Its "sizetext" :) ).

Next it was MXR (http://mxr.moziila.org/) in action. I did a text search for the id and got a bunch of results, one of which was pageInfo.js with this entry : line 489 -- setItemValue("sizetext", sizeText); . It is here. The very line made it apparent that it is the place where the value is being set and hence it is the place from where I can get to know how the value is being calculated.

Once I saw the code it was very clear and straight forward and pretty simple also. We have the URL. From the URL we get the cache entry for that URL. (Every cache entry has a key and that key is the URL - so neat). We try to get the cache entry from the HTTP Session first and if that fails we try FTP Session. The cache entry has the size as an attribute on itself, so its just getting that attribute value. DONE.

I am not sure how this will behave if we have disabled every type of cache. AFAIK, there will still be some in-memory cache as long as the page is still loaded. Probably good enough.

That was the end of a small but interesting quest. :-)