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Using the Node Inspector

November 19, 2019

If you’re running a node application and you want to debug, but don’t want to use the debugger in your text editor, perhaps your text editor doesn’t have a debugger, or maybe you just miss the Chrome dev tools, there’s a solution: use the --inspect flag.

The steps:

  1. Start your node app with the —-inspect flag. So, if you normally start your app with node app.js, not it’s node --inspect app.js

You should see a print out similar to the following:

Debugger listening on ws://127.0.0.1:9229/448f8b66-e314-4a23-ba69-e7b6eff31e7b
For help, see: https://nodejs.org/en/docs/inspector
Server running at http://127.0.0.1:3000/

What this is saying is that my app is now running on port 3000, just like usual, but also that the debugger is listening on a web socket at port 9229.

  1. On a Chromium browser, go to //inspect. That would be chrome://inspect or brave://inspect if you’re on Brave, etc.

You should now see a screen that looks like this:

inspect page

  1. Click “inspect” and it will open a DevTools window.

Note - you may need to manually add the filesystem. Go to Source and select “Add folder to workspace”. The indication that it wasn’t working for me was the error: Unable to add filesystem permission denied.

Once your files are loaded, however, you have full debugging features available.

devtools


Stephen Weiss

Thanks for reading! My name's Stephen Weiss. I live in Chicago with my wife, Kate, and dog, Finn.
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