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Firefox browser CLI test setup tool

Project description

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ff-tool is a Python CLI tool we’ve created to facilitate browser testing of cloud services. It is largely a convenience wrapper we’ve written around these amazing tools/libraries (see note below):

Our typical use case is launching various Firefox browser versions with a fresh profile and loading custom preferences. This tool enables us to do this quickly with a 1-liner from the CLI.


  1. DownloadFirefox desktop versions (Nightly, Developer Edition, Beta, Release)

  2. Manage profiles

  3. Load test preferences


If you plan on creating a tool of your own, please import the above lib directly in your script(s). This tool was designed for convenience of our team for testing Cloud Services and not intended to be used as a library.

Profiles are stored in a temp directory by default which can be overridden. Use caution if you specify your own profile directory as profile cleanup functions can wipe out all profiles in your specified directory.


This tool is work in progress… USE AT YOUR OWN RISK!



  • Python >= 2.7 and virtualenv (Python 3 not yet supported)

Windows Users

  • ff-tool will work on Windows, but requires quite a bit of setup.

  • Also, installation behavior for the Firefox binary is different than for other OSes. In particular, ff-tool installs the Firefox binaries into a “_temp” directory for all OSes (except Windows) to avoid clobbering your working browser. Unfortunately, the Windows installer forces installation into C:\Program Files. Since both the release and Beta versions of Firefox install into the same place, you also run the risk of installing one over another.

  • Again, use at your own risk!

Windows: Installing Cygwin

  • Download and install: Cygwin

  • Right click on: c:\\cygwin64\cygwin.bat

  • Run as administrator or you will suffer.

  • A number of dependencies must also be installed including: gcc, make, curl, pycrypto, python2, python-dev, etc.


$ make build
$ source ./venv/bin/activate


$ deactivate
$ make clean


When not specified, ff will use defaults


$ ff -h

Launch browser, clean profile

  • version: Nightly

  • profile_name:

$ ff
  • version: Developer Edition (aurora)

  • profile_name:

$ ff -c aurora

Launch browser, clean profile, specify profile name

  • version: Nightly

  • profile_name: my_cool_profile1

NOTE: If the specified profile exists, we use it, if not we create a new one with that name.

$ ff -p my_cool_profile1

Custom Browser Prefs

Firefox provides the ability for a user to change preferences in about:config. For testing and automation this can be cumbersome as it usually involves many small steps.

As alternative, ff-tool provides a means for loading these prefs from a root directory you specify via an environment variable.


$ export PREFS_ROOT_DIR = '../services-test'

Custom prefs must be stored in the following directory/file structure:

You must also include a prefs.ini file which specifies the environment(s) in which each pref set is used.

Example prefs.ini:

pref_key = pref_value

pref_key = pref_value

pref_key = pref_value

Cloud Services (only)

Launch browser, clean profile, specify services-specific options…

  • version: Beta

  • profile_name: my_cool_profile1

  • product: loop-server

  • environment: stage

  • test-type: e2e-test

NOTE: If the specified profile exists, we use it, if not we create a new one with that name.

$ ff -c beta -p my_cool_profile1 -a loop-server -e stage -t e2e-test

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