JavaScript, often abbreviated as JS, is a high level programming language which can be integrated with the mark-up language HTML in designing web pages. JavaScript is a standalone programming language and does not follow HTML rules. It is suitable for front-end development of websites. For back end development, there are more superior languages like python and ruby, which can be paired with JavaScript. It is used to make websites more dynamic and interactive. Today, JS support is integrated into every web browser on the client side. JavaScript is used in almost every web technology because of its ease and flexibility. But it does require a lot of practice to become an expert JS programmer.

Debugging in JavaScript

Debugging is locating the problem in your program code, identifying the solutions possible and removing the error using a solution. It is a step-by-step process with the last step of testing the program. A programmer can either remove the error or find a way to work around it. Debugging and testing are essential steps for making an efficient program. Debugging is done in all programming languages. JavaScript has intensive browser support and these browsers have dedicated developer tools for JS debugging. Pressing F12 key will open these tools for you in most browsers.

5 Tips for JavaScript debugging

The old debugging methods are out of scope today. With outstanding inbuilt debuggers in browsers like Chrome and Firefox, use the following tricks to make the debugging process easy –

  • Adding breakpoints – You can insert multiple breakpoints in your JavaScript code through the debugging window of your browser debugging window. You can also include breakpoints directly in the source code. Use the “Debugger” statement to insert the breakpoint, and once the breakpoint is reached, code execution stops. This allows you to examine the values and resume the execution after proper analysis. You can also add conditional breakpoints in the code. The syntax of the conditional debugger in the code will be:

if ( condition ) {

debugger;

}

  • Using Console – Pressing F12 and selecting console tab opens the console view. This enables you to use a lot of console commands to make the debugging process easier. Console.log is a common statement used in a code that logs information about any issue in the code to the JavaScript console. A programmer can then debug these issues using the browser debuggers.

 

  • Use console.table – Viewing a lot of complex objects gets hard many times. One can either use the console.log demand to get a list of these objects and scroll through all of those. Or get the log in a tabular form using console.table demand. It helps in easy viewing of the objects. This is just one of the application of many console statements in the debugging process.
  • Dealing with minified code – Debuggers should work on source maps. But sometimes, source maps do not make it to the server. In such cases where source maps are not available, there is the pretty print option in developer tools of browsers which unminifies the raw JavaScript codes and breaks the code into readable lines. This is the last resort if pure source maps are not available in any way. Debugging on raw production codes are never recommended and pretty print button comes as a saviour.
  • Using function stack trace- JavaScript codes are very unstructured, so determining how the functions were called, the series of their calling and what triggered their calling can be tough just by observing the code. Using console.trace provides a tracing of the whole calling process. This trick helps in knowing the code better and aids in debugging the code.
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