Essential tools for web developers



Because today I needed a real tool to debug JavaScript.

After I spent waaaaay too much time trying to use “window.alert”.

About Jimmy Bogard

I'm a technical architect with Headspring in Austin, TX. I focus on DDD, distributed systems, and any other acronym-centric design/architecture/methodology. I created AutoMapper and am a co-author of the ASP.NET MVC in Action books.
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  • Phillip

    This post fails because it recommends Firefox which is no longer needed.

    IE Developer Tools in IE8 shit all over Firebug. You can also put break points in javascript and step through it line by line.

    Firebug fails.

    • Tim

      You should not be developing for the web.

  • sirrocco

    What do you mean firebug fails ? You can debug in firebug , breakpoints and line by line all day long.

    Am I missing something ?

  • Jak

    Yep, IE8 tools blow firebug away

  • remi bourgarel

    Can you explain ? Or are you too young ?

  • You can also debug javascript in Visual Studio (with IE), you can then execut step by step, see your call stack, watch variables…

  • Dr Nick

    Your only problem comes when you have browser specific javascript issues – I know they shouldn’t really be around anymore with things such as JQuery, but still it can become an issue!

  • @Philip, @think

    All of which you can do in Firebug. I’ve used Firebug for a long time, and preference-wise, I’ve found it a little more straightforward and quicker to use.

    Plus, IE8 requires me to use IE8.

  • To those who are advocating using the JavaScript debugger in IE8 – try stepping through something like the Ext JS source code and get back to me. When it’s loaded. In 2013.

  • Though I was really talking about “window.alert” being a horribly inefficient way to go with the tools we have now…

  • I’ve noticed IE developer tools lacking some features (or they are too hard to find) compared to Firebug. If you have a site that makes heavy use of Javascript, Firebug really is the way to go.

    Plus there are some really good Firebug plugins out there. I’m thinking about Firefinder and YSlow…


  • Maxild

    You may also want to check out QUnit from the jQuery team. TDD is possible to practice using js even though I must admit I am more ‘at home’ specing/testing c# code…haven’t that many js tests so far. I even have my automatic build run my QUnit tests. I was inspired by this blog post (, and it was real easy to extend to accompish this.

    Kind Regards

  • I am with you I like Firebug more than the IE8 Tools But its not fare to compare Firebug with window.alert(”) when the IE8 Developer tools are there is misleading.


    Roberto Hernandez

  • Ken

    Why don’t you give blackbird a go. Logs to a nice window instead of all the alerts.

  • m4bwav

    Uh, if you weren’t already using these tools, your probably are not very skilled at the web frontend.

  • Andrew

    Jimmy, shouldn’t you have IE8 on your machine anyways? IE still is the worlds most popular browser.

  • @m4bwav

    I do like my BLINK and FONT tags and nested table layouts with 1px gifs for spacing.

  • Paco

    You might also like httpfox.

  • mycall

    Check out for some more utilities.