Wednesday, July 23, 2008

IE JavaScript Debugging with DebugBar

Virtually every developer I know that's doing any kind of client-side development for the browser using JavaScript prefers Firefox over Internet Explorer. The main reason for this preference is the availability of Firebug for Firefox. Personally my approach has been to develop using Firefox and then when I have everything working pray that my code will function properly in IE. I make pretty heavy use of Prototype, which addresses a lot of cross-browser issues, but there are still plenty of occasions where things work just fine in Firefox but choke in IE.

A few months ago I stumbled across a tool named DebugBar - a Firebug like debugger for IE! DebugBar allows you to inspect the Document Object Model (DOM) for the current page, view the source for you JavaScript, see the results of AJAX calls, examine styles, provides a JavaScript console and much more. I still prefer Firefox and Firebug for one simple reason, DebugBar does not currently offer JavaScript tracing - although it does work with the MS Script Debugger (which is "deprecated technology and is no longer supported") - and the ability to step through code like Firebug does. This is pretty much the only Firebug feature I really miss, but it's a big one. At any rate, I've still found DebugBar to be incredibly useful and can't imagine developing and testing for IE without it.

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