The F12 developer tools in Internet Explorer, have been updated by Microsoft to accompany the new releases in IE11.
The new version has been improved with the ability to track changes in the CSS tools, along with better debugging. You can now debug in the code you wrote such as CoffeeScript or TypeScript, with sourcemaps support. There’s also the choice to debug only your own code when using libraries from other developers.
In a blog post about the improvements, the F12 team members say that one advantage tools like F12 offer is they let you edit the look of web sites directly within the browser. The problem this causes is that once you’ve made multiple changes and want to apply those edits to your original source, it can be difficult to keep track of the changes you’ve made to the CSS. The updated version has an option to record and track changes, both visually with ‘change-bars’, as well as through a new ‘Changes’ CSS panel in the in the DOM Explorer.
According to the blog post:
“Any change you make in the Styles pane in the DOM Explorer to CSS rules and properties will have a visual clue in the left-margin next to the property or rule that you edited. These are the ‘change-bars’, and they show green for new properties, yellow for changed properties and values and red for deleted properties. These change-bars will be retained, even if you begin to look at other DOM nodes.”
Recognizing that you may make multiple edits across many nodes, the team has also added a new tab in the CSS panel that lists all the changes in the current F12 session, as a ‘diff’ view so that you can use it as a checklist when you make manual edits to your source code.
Other improvements include support for ‘three way snapshots’, where you can compare three snapshots created by memory profilers when you’re trying to debug a memory leak – before, after, and back to normal; and the ability to use Visual Studio’s debugging and performance tools for Internet Explorer on Windows Phone 8.1.
There’s a full list of changes on the blog post, and the team says they’ll be publishing blog entries over the next few weeks that go into more depth and show you how to use F12. The updated tools can be downloaded from the IE downloads and tools page of the Internet Explorer Dev Center.
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