Auto-refresh Firefox on each change after editing your source code

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Lets say you have a bunch of source code files in a project. Whenever you change them, you want some HTML to be generated. After that you go to browser to see how the change looks now. Here is the workflow:

  • Step 1: Change file(s)
  • Step 2: Run a build script to generate HTML
  • Step 3: Open / Reload the page in browser

Well we can automate all the three steps into one using a couple of tools and some scripting magic. We will need a inotify-tools, NetCat nc tool and MozRepl.

Install inotify tools and netcat:

sudo yum install -y inotify-tools nc6

Install MozRepl as described here: Refresh Firefox page from Emacs

Make sure that you have started MozRepl by restarting Firefox. Then Alt+T then Select MozRepl then Start.

Now create a simple script to watch for changes like so:

while inotifywait -r -e modify src/
do
  # put your command here to generate the html from modified files
  make

  # now refresh the browser
  echo "BrowserReload();" | nc localhost 4242  > /dev/null
end

Keep this script running while you make changes to the source code. You can also automate this with other build tools ( such as Maven, SBT etc. ) and editors ( such as Emacs )

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