Kirk Evans Blog

.NET From a Markup Perspective

Debugging JavaScript with the IE Developer Tools

Debugging JavaScript with the IE Developer Tools

  • Comments 1

An interesting question was posted on one of the distribution lists today.

“The client wanted to look into this MSDN drag and drop typed left navigation bar to work on Sharepoint 2010, does anyone make this work or have idea about this?”

image

Click the control that is circled, and the menu is expanded or contracted.  It’s basic JavaScript, but the more interesting part is how you can use the IE Developer Tools to inspect, format, and debug any page’s JavaScript.  To use the Developer Tools in IE (introduced in IE8, I am showing IE9 in this post) press F12.  Click the “Select element by click” icon, or press Ctrl + B.  Then, select the item in the page that you want to inspect.

image

The lower pane changes to show the page source and the CSS rules that are applied, even showing which rules were overridden (very useful for figuring out CSS issues).

image

When we clicked the element in the page, it highlighted the following HTML for us:

<img id="ResizeImageIncrease" class="cl_nav_resize_open" 
title="Expand" onmousedown="onIncreaseToc()" alt="Expand" src="http://i3.msdn.microsoft.com/Hash/a19e30a4020fe81d2b1209058013a360.png">

Pretty easy to see the onmousedown handler calls “onIncreaseToc()”.  Let’s find that function.  In the top-right of the developer tools pane, there is a search window.  Switch to the Script tab and enter onIncreaseToc into the search window, and navigate through the results until you find the function declaration for onIncreaseToc.

image

You can see that the script is minified and somewhat unreadable.  Click the Configuration toolbar item and choose “Format JavaScript”

image

Now that the page is formatted nicely, you can easily set breakpoints in the code.

image

Click the Start Debugging button in the developer tools pane and watch your breakpoint get hit!  You can set watches, inspect locals, and inspect the call stack.

image

image

Step through the code just like you would in Visual Studio, using F11 (step into), F10 (step over), and shift + F11 (step out).

image

In the Console tab, you can enter script commands to inspect various elements.

image

And this is just the start of what you can do with this tool.  How about a great script profiling tool, built right into every instance of Internet Explorer, that profiles the performance of your script?  Just go to the Profiler tab and start profiling, interact with your page, and then stop profiling to see the call results.

image

And the best thing is that it’s already available with every copy of Internet Explorer 8 and above, so you don’t have to install any add-ons to debug.  This is extremely helpful when trying to reproduce behavior at someone’s desktop where you can’t install your favorite add-ons or debugging tools.

  • We have been always about to tell that there was an error in the javascript from the status bar is previous versions in IE but not in IE9. Why is that?

Page 1 of 1 (1 items)
Leave a Comment
  • Please add 1 and 7 and type the answer here:
  • Post
Translate This Page
Search
Archive
Archives