great lengths of finding out why it didn't work, you've probably used some
programmers. An unholy mix of
alert boxes or maybe
document.write plus judiciously inserted debugging code, and
tons of out commented code. The programmer had all this, plus the error logging
tool of whatever browser he was developing in. This usually meant either
IE's rather lacking error messages, or Netscape's slightly more informative
By using a debugger, you can look deep into the code as it runs. It will allow you run the code, one line at a time, and each time, either adding extra code on the fly (without editing the original file), or checking how variables change in the run of the program. It'll provide you with more information then you can shake a stick at.
The guide has gotten pretty large. But I recommend people go through the pages in order, it should, depending on your familiarity with the subject at hand, your zeal and how much you play around with the examples on the page, take no longer then a long evening. The most basic usage can be learned by simply reading the "Basics" section. But to get the full from Venkman, I recommend you check out the other sections too. Especially the breakpoints section is useful for advanced debugging.
Depending on your usage needs, profiling your script might be a very handy thing to know.
Another practical concern is how you should actually go through the guide, with your browser. I recommend using a totally different browser, to read the guide, while you do the examples in Venkman/Mozilla. The reason for this is that Venkman often locks Mozilla when it's debugging, and this will make it impossible to use Mozilla, to read the guide. This only seems to affect Mozilla, when you have the examples in one tab, and the guide in another, if you open two seperate Mozilla windows, it should work fine.
Page 2 contains subjects that you'll usually only have to go through once, such as getting, and setting Venkman up.
Page 3 contains two sections, and is the bare minimum needed to be able to use Venkman.
Page 4 is about the various windows you'll find in Venkman and what information they offer up, and how to use them.
Page 5 is all about breakpoints, because they're such an important part of using a debugger.
Page 6 contains the final aspects of Venkman, these are for the experts out there, or for people who wish to get the most from Venkman, and make debugging easier.
Before venturing into the guide, I'll also offer up some links to where you can find more help with Venkman. If you just want to get started with the guide, jump straight in. The links are
http://www.hacksrus.com/~ginda/venkman/ is the homepage for Venkman, made by Robert Ginda, the creator of Venkman (and many other Mozilla parts). Most importantly you can find easy "click-upgrades", where you can upgrade your Venkman, if you're using an older version.
http://www.mozilla.org/projects/venkman/ is the homepage for the Venkman project, and natural hub of all things Venkman.
http://www.hacksrus.com/~ginda/venkman/faq/venkman-faq.html is the Venkman 0.9x FAQ, well worth a read for alot of good questions and answers.
Further, Venkman has both a newsgroup (netscape.public.mozilla.jsdebugger), and an IRC channel, #venkman @ irc.mozilla.org. Neither are very active, but the creator of Venkman (Robert Ginda) hangs out there, and while it might take a while, he's good with answering quesions.
And you should never forget, that Venkman has a built-in help feature, I mention it on page three, but I want to highlight it here too, because it CAN provide oodles of information, if nothing else, then at least as a first thing to try :)
To get the help, you merely type
/help into the prompt in Venkman.
Microsoft Script Debugger is a debugger, coded by Microsoft, and it, much like how Venkman hooks into Mozilla, hooks into Internet Explorer. If you're on a pure Microsoft platform, this is the choice for you. I do not have much experience with this debugger, so I cannot tell if it is any good. It's what there is for Internet Explorer though.
by Douglas Crockford, who's written
aspects of code, and ensuring you all in all, write nice code. Of course,
the style it demands, might not be your cup of tea, so your milage may vary.
With these references out of the way, let's get started!