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How to debug your JavaScript code in Visual Studio Code

Debugging is an invaluable skill in the programming world. You won’t always write code that works perfectly the first time around, but don’t worry! Tools like Visual Studio Code (VS Code) make debugging a breeze with its built-in JavaScript debugger. Today, we’ll walk through the process of debugging your JavaScript code right within VS Code.

Step 1: Setup the Debugging Environment in VS Code

First, open up VS Code and load your JavaScript program. Beware that VS Code supports Node.js debugging by default, but for client-side JavaScript debugging, you’ll need an extension called Debugger for Chrome.

Step 2: Prepare your JavaScript Code for Debugging

Within your code, you can insert a debugger; statement in the line where you want the debugging to start. This will create a breakpoint when the debug mode starts.

Step 3: Launch the Debugger

On your VS Code, there’s a debug panel on the left side of your screen. Click this button and you’ll see a green play button at the top, click it to start the debugging session. Ensure you select “Node.js” or “Chrome” based on the code you’re working with.

Step 4: Navigate the Debugger

You should now see your code paused at your debugger; statement. You can navigate through your code using the top debugging toolbar. Here are some key functions:

  • Continue / Pause (F5): Clicking this resumes code execution until the next breakpoint is met.
  • Step Over (F10): This command steps over the line of code, effectively moving to the next line.
  • Step Into (F11): This moves into the function that you’re currently covering.
  • Step Out (Shift + F11): This command steps out of the current function and jumps to the next line of the parent function.

Step 5: Inspect and Modify Variables

Finally, in the debugging mode, you can inspect variables by hovering over them. The Debug Console also lets you enter commands and execute JavaScript while paused at a breakpoint.

With these steps, you’re well on your way to becoming a master at debugging JavaScript within VS Code. Happy debugging!

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