Things I didn’t Know about Chrome DevTools

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I have been using Firebug as my debugging tool since I started web development. Firebug has been very helpful and the one thing I knew Chrome DevTools has that Firebug doesn’t is performance profiling which helps finding signs of memory leaks on a web page. I have wanted to take the free course Explore and Master Chrome DevTools for a while and I finally cross it out of my to-do list. It took me about four hours to complete the course and I have learned a few cool features of Chrome DevTools that I didn’t know about.

Explore and Master DevTools

  • Ways of get a DOM node
    Besides using the magnifier to select the DOM node on the web page, you can use the jQuery style of getting the DOM node with “$” sign. For example, $(“#name”) will give you the DOM node with id as name. If you select a DOM node in the Elements tab, you can then type in “$0″ in the Console tab to get the DOM node. On the other hand, you can type “inspect($0)” in the Console tab to show the DOM node in the Element tab.
  • Show style for different states
    lunapic_136720788190059_6There is a Toggle Element States option in the Elements -> Styles tab which will open the section for you to set the element state to active, focus, hover, and visited. I found this very helpful to debug the style issue for these states as the style definitions won’t be shown in the Styles tab unless they are in that state.
  • Dynamical editing source files and data source and view the change history
    You can edit CSS files or JavaScript files under the Sources tab. Right click in the file, you will see the option “Local modifications…” to see the change history and revert them. While we are used to editing CSS files, dynamically being able to update JavaScript is very useful.
  • Save updated file locally
    The changes were saved in the Chrome local storage if you edit them in the Sources tab and you can also save the updated files in your computer and override the original ones.
  • Events/Frames view in Timeline
    Frames view in Timeline
    The Timeline tab provides three types of views for the recording: Events, Frames, and Memory. The Events/Frames view shows the time spent on HTML parsing(blue), JavaScript rendering(yellow), style calculation(purple), and CSS rendering(green). The memory view is for detecting the sign of memory leaks.
  • Other plugins
    Page speed: It’s similar to YSlow. It gives you the suggestions of improving performance. After it’s installed, it’s will be shown as a new tab in the devTools.
    Google Closure: Compress multiple JavaScript files into one to reduce the number of HTTP requests.

Above are just new things that I learned in the class and I enjoyed taking this interactive class. Visit this link for more details about how to improve the performance of your application with Chrome DevTools.


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