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Debugging JavaScript in IE

October 27, 2008 #javascript #webdev

If you have everything set up, you can use Visual Studio to debug JavaScript errors when you hit them in IE7 (IE8 will have debugging built into the developer tools).  You just click “Yes” when the dialog appears.  However, I have don’t have everything set up as needed.  Because I’m a developer on a .NET team, I have the full install of Visual Studio 2008, but it’s on my VPC image, and I often use IE on the host OS.  I also have Visual Studio installed on my host, but it’s only for Team Explorer so I can access TFS.  This almost makes things worse, because IE sees Visual Studio and will prompt me to debug in a “new instance of Visual Studio,” but it doesn’t have the debugging support.

So, when I heard about the Microsoft Visual Web Developer 2008 Express Edition, I got excited I could have the seamless debugger experience today.  However, it can’t attach to IE at runtime and doesn’t allow you to debug unless you launch IE from Visual Web Developer.  I did google the problem and found Debugging AJAX Applications on IE: Using Visual Web Developer Express, which referenced How to debug JavaScript with Visual Web Developer Express.  I followed the advice of the latter article and can now debug when I know I am going to have a problem.  Not as nice as on-demand with Firebug or the upcoming IE8, but of some use when I need to track down a bug with our application on IE.