Object.prototype.inspect ?

Brendan Eich brendan at mozilla.com
Wed Mar 11 09:42:35 PDT 2009

On Mar 11, 2009, at 4:20 AM, Tobie Langel wrote:

> It is very useful to be able to specify the debugging representation  
> of an object distinctively from it's toJSON or toString  
> representation.
> We've been using that to great effect in Prototype, to help out, for  
> example, with the debugging representation of DOM Elements:
>    <div id="foo" class="foo bar">
> is a much more useful representation than:
>    [object HTMLDivElement]

True, although you have to ampersand-escape it if it flows into markup.

> Indeed, Object.prototype.toSource seems closer to what I was  
> interested in. Unfortunately, it's
> 1) non standardized, and
> 2) apparently used internally by FF[1].
> To be useful for debugging, such a method needs to provide a good  
> default value and be easily overridden for custom objects. I  
> wouldn't be too keen on overriding a method which the browser vendor  
> claims to use internally.

What text in the link you give made you think anything of the sort? I  
see no use of "internally" or "internal" in that wiki page. You can  
override toSource just as you can override toString. Doing so in a  
content window cannot possibly affect the operation of the browser's  
user interface ("chrome") windows.


> Best,
> Tobie
> [1] https://developer.mozilla.org/en/Core_JavaScript_1.5_Reference/Global_Objects/Object/toSource
> On Mar 11, 2009, at 00:01 , Jason Orendorff wrote:
>> On Sat, Mar 7, 2009 at 9:18 PM, Tobie Langel  
>> <tobie.langel at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> The lack of a more developer-friendly representation of objects  
>>> than the one
>>> obtained through their toString method (or by calling
>>> Object.prototype.toString) made me long for an ES equivalent of  
>>> Ruby's
>>> inspect instance method.
>> You could use JSON.stringify(obj), which is on track to be
>> standardized in ES3.1.
>> (SpiderMonkey has the nonstandard uneval, as well as
>> Object.prototype.toSource, which I think are a bit closer to what you
>> want.)
>> -j
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