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A Node.js module for inspecting and debugging Node applications through a web browser

branch: master
README.md

Node Monkey

A Node.js module for inspecting and debugging Node.js applications through a web browser

Node Monkey runs a simple server and uses Socket.IO to create a websocket connection between the browser and server. It captures anything that would normally be logged to the terminal, converts it to JSON and passes it to the browser where it is then logged to the console for inspection.

Version 0.2.0 also introduces code profiling functionality and the ability to send commands to your Node.js application from your web browser.
Version 0.2.1 introduces major changes and cleanup. You can now register your own commands that can be run from the browser's Javascript console.

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The motivation for this project came from trying to debug a Node.js server I wrote that used websockets. I found it problematic trying to inspect objects with the terminal. I tried using the built-in debugging that works with the Chrome Developer Tools plugin for Eclipse. Unfortunately, I ran into a problem where setting breakpoints to inspect objects would cause the server to stop responding to heartbeats thus causing the client to disconnect. This would entirely mess up my debugging efforts. All I really needed to do was have a good way to inspect objects. I searched Google and found projects like node-inspector, which doesn't work with the latest versions of Node, and node-codein which has many bugs. And neither works with Firefox.

So Node Monkey was born!

Features

  • Have all output dumped to browser console for easier inspection
  • Code profiler
  • Command interface for control and inspection while your app is running
    • Register your own custom commands
    • Execute commands from the browser console
    • SSH to your app and execute commands
  • Proper authentication to make it safe to include Node Monkey in production code and use it as a command interface for you app

Compatibility

Any browser with a Javasript console and websocket support!

Installation

These packages are only required if you want SSH support (optional dependency)

apt-get install libkrb5-dev libssl-dev

This is required if you want to be able to authenticate with system users. The authenticate-pam module won't install without this.

apt-get install libpam0g-dev
npm install node-monkey

A note on security

Node Monkey is primarily designed for debugging and for now should only be used for such. I haven't implemented any sort of authorization to prevent anyone from gaining access to the data that is dumped out. If you are concerned about other's potentially gaining access while you are debugging, you should change the host from 0.0.0.0 to something more secure like 127.0.0.1. Definitely don't include it in production code before authorization is in place, and even then it's debatable whether there's a good reason.

Complete Documentation

To get a quick start see the limited examples below. For complete documentation see the following links:

Quick Usage

Using Node Monkey is extremely easy. All you have to do is include the following line in your Node.js application. Anything that is logged to the console after this will show up in the browser console once connected. It captures all output to console.log(), console.warn() and console.error().

var nomo = require('node-monkey').start([options]);

To connect your browser simply go to http://0.0.0.0:50500 in your web browser. If you change the default host and port bindings be sure to adjust your URL accordingly.

As an alternative to viewing output through this page, you can also view output in the console of your own web application by including the following lines (adjust the host and port as necessary, this is based on the defaults):

<script type="text/javascript" src="http://0.0.0.0:50500/socket.io/socket.io.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="http://0.0.0.0:50500/lodash.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="http://0.0.0.0:50500/cycle.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="http://0.0.0.0:50500/client.js"></script>

NOTE: You do NOT have to refresh the page when you restart your Node.js application to continue to receive output. Socket.IO will automatically reconnect.

Options

  • host: The host network interface to bind to. Default is 0.0.0.0 which means ALL interfaces.
  • port: The port to listen on. Default is 50500.
  • overrideConsole: Set this to false to prevent Node Monkey from overriding the console functions when you start it. You can call nomo.replaceConsole() any time to override the console functions and nomo.revertConsole() to change it back. Default is true.
  • suppressOutput: Use this to suppress terminal output when console.log() is called, freeing the console from clutter and allowing you to only inspect objects through the browser. Default is true.
  • saveOutput: If data is logged before you are able to connect your browser, you may still want to be able to view this data. Setting this option to true causes node-monkey to save the output and dump it out to the browser once you connect. Default is true.
  • silent: If true then nothing will be logged to the console when started. Default is false.
  • convertStyles: Whether to convert style related terminal escape sequences to corresponding JS console styles. Default is true.

Logging Examples

Example 1

require('node-monkey').start();
console.log('It works!', {key1: 'test', key2: ['an', 'array']});

Example 2

require('node-monkey').start({
  suppressOutput: false
});

console.log('It works!');
console.warn('You might have done something wrong');
console.error('FATAL ERROR', {message: 'Something broke'});

Contribute

I welcome any pull requests, feature suggestions, bug fixes and bug reports. Let me know what you think.

Dependencies

LICENSE

This code is licensed under the MIT License. See the license.

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