Debugging JavaScript, now in Opera

JavaScript is a neat little language, but (like countless others, apparently) I find it a real pain to debug. Part of my problem is me. I’m relatively new to JavaScript, which isn’t yet as embedded in my brain as, say, C++ is. I still suck as a JavaScript developer. But I refuse to take all the blame: part of the problem is the tools. Firebug and Firefox’s JavaScript Debugger (a.k.a Venkman) are both useful, but both are buggy and annoying—for some reason I have a terrible time with both getting breakpoints to work reliably. And the less said about the Microsoft Script Debugger the better.

So last week I downloaded a beta of Opera 9.5 which includes an alpha of Dragonfly, Opera’s new suite developer tools (I have no idea why they called it an “alpha”; possibly they wanted to sow confusion to frighten away the rabble). And so far I’m pleased. It does have a few bugs—resizing the source window doesn’t immediately redisplay correctly, expanding/collapsing/expanding objects in the frame inspection window doesn’t work—but nothing major. It’s also missing some fairly basic features, or has hidden them fairly effectively—there’s no watch window, and no way to display all breakpoints(!). But overall I’ve found it very nice.

It’s also got me using Opera more generally. I still prefer Firefox, for reasons that I’ll try to enumerate at some point, but Opera certainly has its merits.

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