Chrome Developer Tools at Google IO 2011

I’ve been a long time user of Firefox’s magnificent Firebug extension; I honestly cannot remember how I used to develop websites without it (can you?). Changing web pages on the fly and debugging issues in seconds rather than minutes, we really are spoiled. I thought it would be hard for any other debugging tool to come close to Firebug in terms of ease of use and available tool set. Oh how I was wrong!

Paul Irish and Pavel Feldman hosted a talk at this years Google I/O about Chrome Dev Tools and what’s new in the world of debugging in Chrome. I must admit, there were a number of jaw dropping moments in the video where it dawned on me how powerful the tools actually are. Here are a few of my favourite points:

  • 7:11: Chrome monitoring the changes to the style sheets and letting you know what has changed.
  • 7:55: Ability to revert back to different CSS versions. The Dev Tools automatically creates a new version as you change code.
  • 21:02: A whole host of JavaScript debugging tools. Edit the script in the browser (with code colouring.. nice) rather than edit in IDE, upload, test, repeat…
  • 30:31: My favourite part, the remote debugging feature. Chrome can act as a server meaning you can connect too and edit pages remotely. At first you may think “well, what’s the point?”. As this is being done at the WebKit level it will soon be available for all WebKit browsers including mobile devices. Debug mobiles browser directly from your desktop. Wow!

I’m definitely going to have to wean myself off Firebug and give the Chrome Dev Tools a blast. As mentioned in the video, the tools are being developed all the time with new features landing daily (on dev channel). Looks like Firebug has some serious competition! If you’re a developer with 43 minutes to spare, watch the video, you won’t regret it.

A few helpful links mentioned in the video: