Standard JS debugging API

Erik Arvidsson erik.arvidsson at
Fri Apr 27 16:38:13 PDT 2007

I'm just forwarding this from an internal company mailing list:

Short version:
JS/ECMA should have a standard interface that JS-VM writers can
implement, so that third-party tool-vendors can write debuggers that
will work for any browser (or other JS-VM host) that supports this
debugging interface.  This would create a market for debugger
products, and would make web development much more attractive than it
is today.

Long version:
There are lots of JS debugging tools, like Firebug, Venkman, IE script
debugger, JS shell, Safari's new Drosera, etc.  I believe each is
tightly coupled own JS VM.

Java doesn't have a debugger UI, but it has a low-level debugging
interface, wire protocol, and high-level interface:
Each JVM vendor (Sun, IBM, whatever) implements the debugging
interface, without worrying about the debugging UI.  Tool developers
(Eclipse, IntelliJ, CodeGuide, etc) write debugging UIs that can debug
on any such JVM on any machine, locally and remotely.

The API includes stuff like adding and removing breakpoints and
watchpoints, execution control, an event system, queries, callstacks,
all the standard stuff.

That seems like a really good model.  But as far as I can tell,
there's not even a proposed spec for a standard JS debugging
interface.  Having such a standard spec, and a reference
implementation, would make web development much more attractive.


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