JavaScript debugging tools

Find and debug high-impact JavaScript errors faster than ever

Why are JavaScript debugging tools important?

JavaScript remains the most common programming language used to develop websites and web applications. But it’s notoriously prone to errors in syntax or logic, especially in sites and apps with more powerful capabilities and complex codebases.

Debugging these issues is a monumental challenge that every developer faces. Reproducing bugs, potentially the most important part of the debugging process, is also notoriously difficult due to the variety of browsers and environments in which a bug occurs. It’s crucial to use JavaScript debugging tools and strategies to help you efficiently find and resolve the problems that have the biggest impact on your users — and, ultimately, your business goals.

The problem with server-side JavaScript debugging tools

While running JavaScript server-side is more of a recent occurrence, finding a debugging tool for server-side JavaScript is critical to maintaining application uptime. Luckily, there are many backend logging and debugging tools that support JavaScript. For example, developers who are familiar with Visual Studio Code can use its built-in debugger for server-side JavaScript debugging.

One problem with server-side JavaScript debugging tools, however, is that they alert developers to every error with no context as to the user impact. Many errors have little to no effect on appearance or performance and can safely be ignored. With so many false positives, the few things that really need attention often get lost in the noise.

Additionally, focusing on server-side JavaScript errors can cause you to miss client-side performance issues that don’t trigger any error messages. This makes it necessary to have a tool that can give you insight into frontend JavaScript debugging to get a more complete picture of how you can optimize your UX.

Examples of frontend JavaScript debugging tools

Developers may not be aware of client-side JavaScript problems until users report them, which doesn’t always happen. Even if users seek support, it can be difficult for them to pinpoint and describe when and how an issue occurred. This means Engineers don’t have the context to reproduce and fix problems, while users may be subjected to back-and-forth questions — a frustrating situation for both sides.

JavaScript debugging tools can help reduce the amount of time spent discovering, evaluating, and resolving frontend issues. Here are some examples:

  • Built-in browser developer tools: Using the tools built into modern browsers to debug JavaScript code can be a helpful first step when attempting to validate or recreate a bug. If you can reproduce the issue, you can use the console to view warnings, errors, and stack traces to gain insights that may help you fix the problem
  • Software testing platforms: If you know the exact operating system and browser setup a user had when they experienced a JavaScript error, testing tools can help you mimic those conditions to better understand what went wrong and why
  • Code quality analysis tools: Checking for minor mistakes or syntax errors in your JavaScript code is a great way to prevent errors from happening in the first place or ensure that a fix will work as intended
  • Application monitoring solutions: Tools that send information from the client can help make the entire JavaScript debugging process more efficient. But not all solutions are created equal; some may show you what happened but lack the technical telemetry to help you figure out why, while others may add to the noise instead of cutting through it

As helpful as these frontend JavaScript debugging tools can be, not every tool can help you solve problems at their root or understand the ultimate impact on your end users. Without the necessary context regarding user or business severity, it’s difficult to tell whether fixing an issue will waste finite resources or yield a significant improvement to critical user flows or business goals.

To determine which problems need immediate attention and how to resolve them efficiently, you need a tool like LogRocket.

Why LogRocket?

LogRocket eliminates the need to reproduce bugs by providing a high-fidelity session replay along with any JavaScript errors and all the code-level detail, so you can see exactly what the user experienced and the technical context regarding why. On top of that, you can see how many users the issue affected and whether it impacted key business goals. With this data, you can determine whether a bug is worth fixing and quickly ship a fix.

In addition, LogRocket automatically identifies, aggregates, and tracks JavaScript errors over time. Applying machine learning to these patterns allows LogRocket users to find and debug JavaScript errors before customers do and resolve user-reported problems faster than ever.

Understand and quantify the specific issues that are impacting your goals, watch user sessions to see how those issues affect your app’s UX, then route alerts and errors to the right person or team for a fix. Engineers, support staff, product managers, designers, and marketers can all use LogRocket as their source of truth for prioritizing and addressing both issues and opportunities.

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