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JavaScript Debugging in Internet Explorer

For those of us who have lamented the sad state of debugging in Microsoft's Internet Explorer (and no, the Microsoft Script Debugger doesn't count), some relief is here. Complementing the IE Developer Toolbar, the Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Web Developer Express Edition (and previously the 2005 Express Edition) gives you full JavaScript debugging ability from within the VS development environment without needing the paid version. The only drawback vis-a-vis the professional edition is that the page must be launched from with the IDE (rather than from IE itself). A small price to pay for desperately needed functionality.

Here's some quick steps to get you started:

1. Download the Web Developer Express Edition for free (though registration is required to activate it).
2. Create an empty web site, File-->Web Site...-->Empty Web Site.
3. Deposit the files you wish to debug in the web site folder, and open the file you wish to debug. Place desired break points. (Or you can skip this step if you just intend to just navigate to a URL later.)
4. Click the "Start Debugging" button. If you skipped step #3 and wish to navigate to a URL, then you may want to put at least one debugger statement in your JavaScript code so that the debugger will stop at this statement. Breakpoints can then be set within the IDE elsewhere.
5. Controls are in the Debug menu. F10 will step over, F11 will step into, etc.
6. All the expected debugging views are there: Call Stack, Locals (variables), Watch, and so forth.

Not quite as convenient as having Firebug directly in your browser, but a first-class JavaScript debugger (as JavaScript debuggers go...) nonetheless.