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IE8: Dev Tools

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John Hrvatin, Program Manager on the IE Team, joins us (again) for a quick lap around IE8's almost golden (meaning RC quality/state) Developer Tools (aka Dev Tools). What's changed since we last talked to John (IE8 Beta 2 timeframe)? How are IE8 Dev Tools helping web developers in the real world? What's the coolest IE8 Dev Tools feature? What have web developers asked you to improve/change/add since we last spoke (Beta 2 timeframe).

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  • Nice video!  Dev Tools is a huge leap forward from the IE 7 Developer Toolbar.  Thanks so much!
  • Awesome developer tools built right in.  It would be awesome if by default the developer tools opened docked in the browser windows instead of a separate pop up.  I know you can dock them, but it seems that other IE "task panes" show docked.

    EDIT:
    Why does turning on JavaScript debugging cause a page refresh?  Is there an arch reason for this?  If you make a whole bunch of edits to your page and you want to test some JQuery things, it would be a great pain point to have to save you edited file, open that file, and then enable debugging.  That would break the through process for me at least.

    Lastly, you're probably tired of me bringing this up, but installing a browser in 2008 should not require a restart.

    My 2c.

    Cheers!
  • I wish we had code reformatting for the js debugger because some js (MS AJAX built in release mode for example) has all whitespaces removed and it causes trouble. Another thing I wish is that ctrl+f takes you to the search box. My guess is that everyone is used to using ctrl+f.
  • Hi, I know this isn't the best place to request a video. But why there isn't videos about Singularity RDK 2, and Sing# language?

    Thanks!
  • Why don't the developer tools show the HTTP response headers like Kothari's web dev helper?  Seems like an unfortunate omission or is it in there and I'm just not finding it?
  • Hi Chris,

    We open the tools undocked because we found most people prefer to use them that way.  It's also required when debugging JavaScript because a breakpoint will hang IE's UI thread and if the tools were docked, they'd also hang.  For people who prefer them docked, we do remember the docked/undocked state so you don't have to dock them every time.

    Great question about refreshing the page...

    By default, script debugging is disabled for IE because the extra debug information IE keeps around increases memory footprint and affects performance and there's no need for most users to take that hit.  So if script debugging is disabled and you want to debug, IE needs to reload the page so it can build and maintain the debug information it needs.  We added the prompt in case people are in the middle of scenario and want to save state or data before refreshing.  We also only turn on script debugging for that process so you don't get prompts to debug while you're reading news or booking a flight.  Supporting per-process debugging is another IE8 improvement and one that Visual Studio 2008 also takes advantage of.

    To avoid the refresh, you can enabled script debugging by unchecking Tools->Internet Options->Advanced->"Disable script debugging (Internet Explorer)".  This enables script debugging for all IE processes and prevents the refresh, but you'll take the performance and memory hit and get prompted to debug each time you encounter a script error. 

    Thanks!

    John [MSFT]
  • Oh, and the reboot...

    I hear ya...I worked on setup in IE7 and it kills me.  Sadly, it's much more difficult than expected.  The core issue is that you can't update files while they're in use.  Windows has developed some technologies like hot-patching that update code on the fly by inserting jump statements in the right places, but that only works on changes within one function, in one file, etc., etc., and we obviously make much larger changes in a new release of IE.  If that core problem is solved in Windows, every application's life gets better.

    Some apps work around it by telling you what processes to close to avoid a reboot.  We tried this but critical system processes depend on parts of the networking stack that IE updates so you'd get a prompt that says "please exist csrss.exe" and if you made it task manager and did so you'd get the ominous "your system will restart in n seconds" countdown.

    Hopefully that explains why it's not simple to do, but I agree that doesn't mean it's not a problem we shouldn't solve.
  • When we started on the tools we realized we couldn't finish every feature we wanted (as usual) and had to prioritize.  Turns out networking monitoring is actually rather difficult to do with the current networking stack (wininet.dll) and the solutions offered by apps like Fiddler and Nikhil's Web Dev Helper were complicated to build and we couldn't consume them directly without taking a dependency on .NET.  We also knew that other solutions existed (like Fiddler and Nikhil's tool) so when we had to prioritize network monitoring against a feature like JavaScript profiling, we chose profiling.  It would clearly be helpful to have part of the built-in tools, though.
  • To ship is to choose.  I know how it goes.  Smiley
  • We chose CTRL+E to match the same shortcut for moving focus to the search box in IE and FF, but mapping to CTRL+F since it functions as inline find would also make sense. 

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