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Javascript debugger for Internet Explorer - Debug - Debugging

Use the MS Script Editor included free with MS Office 2002 and above,
for debugging Internet Explorer (IE).

This subject is of great interest to many JS developers, as there is no
obvious, low cost way to do sophisticated debugging in
IE6 other than to use the debugger described below, which is horribly
documented otherwise. I feel debugging is an important aspect of
projecting the useability of the language and needs to be made more
clear for new users.
Jeff Papineau
yo**@mandala.co m
<FAQENTRY>

This is a page that describes how to install and use the MS Script
Editor to debug Javascript in Internet Explorer ( IE ). It has a
powerful debugger built into it that works really well for developers
supporting IE5+. This debugger/editor included with most versions of
Microsoft Office.

http://www.mandala.com/javascript/debug_javascript.html

..NET programmers may have better tools (VStudio) but this comes in
really handy for anyone developing with JSP and PHP and other dynamic
scripting languages which embed javascript, as well as any HTML page
using Javascript in Internet Explorer that needs a (almost) free
debugging environment.

</FAQENTRY>

Jul 23 '05 #1
25 4320
JRS: In article <11************ **********@g43g 2000cwa.googleg roups.com>
, dated Sat, 2 Jul 2005 01:04:44, seen in news:comp.lang. javascript,
Jeff <su******@gmail .com> posted :
Use the MS Script Editor included free with MS Office 2002 and above,
for debugging Internet Explorer (IE). ... Jeff Papineau
yo**@mandala.c om

When anyone puffs a product as repeatedly as you have done, it will be
wisely assumed that the puffer is an egomaniac, a complete prat, or
possessed of a financial interest.

Please, then, explain your behaviour.

--
© John Stockton, Surrey, UK. ??*@merlyn.demo n.co.uk Turnpike v4.00 MIME. ©
Web <URL:http://www.merlyn.demo n.co.uk/> - FAQish topics, acronyms, & links.
Check boilerplate spelling -- error is a public sign of incompetence.
Never fully trust an article from a poster who gives no full real name.
Jul 23 '05 #2

Hey Dr. John!

Well, anyone that's lurked around here knows you harbor an opinion or
two yourself! ;-)

In answer to your question, it's called Google page rank! No, actually,
do a search on Google and look at the results for "Javascript debug".

Oh my god. The backward solutions this community has been resorting to
for the last 10 years is just beyond hope, at least where IE developers
are concerned.

It's time for everyone to sing from the same page in the hymnal my
friend.

Using free MS tools to do IE web application debugging really makes a
lot of sense, because you can visualize the DOM structure of the page
AND the JS objects the developer adds to the page in a very robust
debugger.

Try this debugger and let us know what you think!

And I'll share a few more IE javascript debugging tips here as well:

http://www.fiddlertool.com/fiddler/

FIDDLER - Excellent and free HTTP proxy transport monitor, will show
you every time the client is hitting the server, and the server's
response if any. So much easier to use than Achilles! AJAX programmers
check it out, you need it.

http://www.cheztabor.com/IEDocMon/

IEDocMon - Excellent IE DOM visualization tool. If you are doing a lot
of AJAX style programming, this baby sure is nice to view the DOM in
real time and see it update itself. View the contents of your frames,
etc. Just amazing, and the price is right... FREE.

The above tools and the MS Script Editor debugging environment and you
can visualize the entire client ENCHILADA. No more black box...

Ciao,

Jeff Papineau
xx**@mandala.co m
Dr John Stockton wrote:
JRS: In article <11************ **********@g43g 2000cwa.googleg roups.com>
, dated Sat, 2 Jul 2005 01:04:44, seen in news:comp.lang. javascript,
Jeff <su******@gmail .com> posted :
Use the MS Script Editor included free with MS Office 2002 and above,
for debugging Internet Explorer (IE).

...

Jeff Papineau
yo**@mandala.c om

When anyone puffs a product as repeatedly as you have done, it will be
wisely assumed that the puffer is an egomaniac, a complete prat, or
possessed of a financial interest.

Please, then, explain your behaviour.

--
© John Stockton, Surrey, UK. ??*@merlyn.demo n.co.uk Turnpike v4.00 MIME. ©
Web <URL:http://www.merlyn.demo n.co.uk/> - FAQish topics, acronyms, & links.
Check boilerplate spelling -- error is a public sign of incompetence.
Never fully trust an article from a poster who gives no full real name.


Jul 23 '05 #3
Jeff, you must have run into the following problem...you 're using ms
script debugger to step through code. All goes well for a certain
length of time. Suddenly, the debugger refuses to work anymore.
'debugger' statements don't cause the "do you want to debug"prompt,
attaching the debugger to your instance of IE does not give 'script' as
a checked option in the Attach To Process dialog and, if you persevere
and attach anyway, the running documents view is empty. It just won't
work anymore. If you reboot windows, all is ok again. I've lived with
this behaviour in Visual Interdev, MS Script Debugger, Visual
Studio.NET (the problem is rarer here, but too expensive for home use)
and the MS Script Editor. I've never seen an explanation, nor received
one from the many microsoft folk I've pestered in the past. I mostly
use Venkman nowadays, it may be slower, but it's very reliable.If you
know the cause of and solution to the above, I would be for ever in
your debt.

Jul 23 '05 #4
Jeff wrote:
Hey Dr. John!

Well, anyone that's lurked around here knows you harbor an opinion or
two yourself! ;-)
That's human nature, even if John's opinions tend to be biased and
prejudiced at times.
In answer to your question, it's called Google page rank! No, actually,
do a search on Google and look at the results for "Javascript debug".
Oh my god. The backward solutions this community has been resorting to
for the last 10 years is just beyond hope, at least where IE developers
are concerned.
Huh? What is so backwards about plain common sense and a clue about what
you are doing? Besides, any scripter knows that IE is the worst place to
try to develop.
It's time for everyone to sing from the same page in the hymnal my
friend.


Then join the choir. But how does an IE debugger contribute to
cross-browser scripting?

Just for curiosity, what does the MS debugger have to say about the
following statement:

if (!someVar){
alert('It could be null or it could be false');
}

And please read the groups FAQ, thoroughly.

--
Randy
comp.lang.javas cript FAQ - http://jibbering.com/faq & newsgroup weekly
Answer:It destroys the order of the conversation
Question: Why?
Answer: Top-Posting.
Question: Whats the most annoying thing on Usenet?
Jul 23 '05 #5
Steve,

I think if you look in the script editor installer file on my site it
might deal with some of this, but I'll explain further and possibly
update the file, as this is a very common problem and the solution is
simple once understood. I and my associates have installed this
debugger on many machines, and although it is possible to run into
problems, if you follow my instructions it should all work out ok.

I think this problem would be characterized as "auto-attach fails".
When you first start your browser, then encounter a bug in a script and
the debugger comes up, I would call that auto-attach. It is also
possible to manually attach to the browser once the debugger is opened,
and place a break point, but that should not be necessary and is
obviously, not as easy to use.

The way I have solved this, is to open a new browser window. Simply go
to NEW:WINDOW and that will open a new browser in the same session (if
you are doing JSP/ASP for instance) and then close the old window.
Notice now, the VIEW menu will now have the DEBUGGER option listed.

I think you will find that when auto-attach fails, the DEBUGGER option
is not listed under the VIEW menu, but when it is working correctly,
the DEBUGGER option is there. SO, a good way to figure out if
auto-attach is not currently enabled is just check for the DEBUGGER
option under the VIEW menu. If it's there, you are all set, if it's
not, open a new window, close the old one, and proceed. IT'S THAT
SIMPLE. TAKES TWO SECONDS! ;-) Hope this helps.

I have noticed that this bug goes away when MS Office 2003 is used,
rather than 2002 which I have. Some of the guys where I work got 2003
when they got new machines, and they don't seem to have this problem
with the debugger. This is anecdotal, I can't be sure, but I think the
newer scripting environment with XPSP2 does not have this problem with
MS Office 2003. IF ANYONE CAN CONFIRM THIS ON OFFICE 2003, PLEASE POST
BACK HERE AND WE WILL ALL KNOW FOR SURE.

Check the file on my site for other debugging procedures as well; there
are many ways to use the debugger, and I'll keep updating the file as I
find new features and tips to share.

Just to reiterate and expand for Dr. John a bit, the reason I find it
important to share this information is over the years, Javascript has
gotten a bad rap. C and Java developers have derided JS to no end, and
it's all become rather old in the face of modern realities. There are
now robust debugging environments for JS, the RegEx support is great,
the object oriented features of the language are second to none,
TRY/CATCH blocks and error handling are excellent. Javascript 1.5 is a
great language on almost any browser that supports it and it's time for
people to start giving this language the respect it deserves.

Anybody that doesn't agree can go talk to Mr. Douglas Crockford, who
does a great write-up on the object oriented features of JS and the
mythologies surrounding the language in general, here:
javascript: The World's Most Misunderstood Programming Language

http://crockford.com/
Have a great day,
Jeff Papineau
xx**@mandala.co m

Jul 23 '05 #6
Hey Randy,

I got a question for you; how come the bleeding faq has not been
updated in a year?

Seems like somebody ran out of gas...

Jeff-
Randy Webb wrote:
Jeff wrote:
Hey Dr. John!

Well, anyone that's lurked around here knows you harbor an opinion or
two yourself! ;-)


That's human nature, even if John's opinions tend to be biased and
prejudiced at times.
In answer to your question, it's called Google page rank! No, actually,
do a search on Google and look at the results for "Javascript debug".
Oh my god. The backward solutions this community has been resorting to
for the last 10 years is just beyond hope, at least where IE developers
are concerned.


Huh? What is so backwards about plain common sense and a clue about what
you are doing? Besides, any scripter knows that IE is the worst place to
try to develop.
It's time for everyone to sing from the same page in the hymnal my
friend.


Then join the choir. But how does an IE debugger contribute to
cross-browser scripting?

Just for curiosity, what does the MS debugger have to say about the
following statement:

if (!someVar){
alert('It could be null or it could be false');
}

And please read the groups FAQ, thoroughly.

--
Randy
comp.lang.javas cript FAQ - http://jibbering.com/faq & newsgroup weekly
Answer:It destroys the order of the conversation
Question: Why?
Answer: Top-Posting.
Question: Whats the most annoying thing on Usenet?


Jul 23 '05 #7
Jeff wrote:
Hey Randy,

I got a question for you;
OK, I have an answer for you.
how come the bleeding faq has not been updated in a year?
If you would bother to read it, you would learn how/when it is updated.
It even tells you how to have something potentially added to it or modified.
Seems like somebody ran out of gas...


Not hardly.

--
Randy
comp.lang.javas cript FAQ - http://jibbering.com/faq & newsgroup weekly
Answer:It destroys the order of the conversation
Question: Why?
Answer: Top-Posting.
Question: Whats the most annoying thing on Usenet?
Jul 23 '05 #8
I've read it several times, and it left me out in the cold every
time...

For instance:

<faq>

Venkman - Mozilla Visual JS debugger:-
http://www.mozilla.org/projects/venkman/

<faq/>

I'd like to read it more often but it's the same tired stuff I read a
year ago and it simply didn't help me much when I read it then either.

I'd really like to see the faq me a lot more dynamic, more like a wiki
page (see wikipedia) instead of some dusty document that I have to blow
off and put on a face mask before I consult. I do not get the
impression there are many contributors to it!

Perhaps it simply reflects the priesthood whom shepards it but I'd
really like to believe we could do a little better around here.
Randy Webb wrote:
Jeff wrote:
Hey Randy,

I got a question for you;


OK, I have an answer for you.
how come the bleeding faq has not been updated in a year?


If you would bother to read it, you would learn how/when it is updated.
It even tells you how to have something potentially added to it or modified.
Seems like somebody ran out of gas...


Not hardly.

--
Randy
comp.lang.javas cript FAQ - http://jibbering.com/faq & newsgroup weekly
Answer:It destroys the order of the conversation
Question: Why?
Answer: Top-Posting.
Question: Whats the most annoying thing on Usenet?


Jul 23 '05 #9
Jeff, thanks for the tip - bloody hell, you don't know how much
frustration this little issue has caused me over the years and the
solution is so simple, I should have experimented a bit more... I agree
there's been a dearth of information for years for anyone trying to do
serious development in JS, it's been every man for himself (with
notable exceptions such as Mr Crockford and a few others) . With the
current hype around AJAX and explosion of information on JS on the web,
it will be interesting to see if it's image amongst the
<chuckle>seriou s</chuckle> developers changes, as they scramble to
make their various server-side frameworks 'AJAX-Enabled'.

Jul 23 '05 #10

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